By Robbi Hess ~ Managing Editor Pet Calendar, Crimeless Cat Executive Story Editor, Chief Cat Herder
You have to leave your beloved pets at home while you go on vacation or in for a hospital stay or any number of reasons. What can you do if you simply don’t want to board your pets? How about hiring a pet sitter! These professionals come to your home and care for your dogs, cats and whatever other pets you have in your home. They are pet lovers and help you rest assured your pets are safe and comfortable at home.
Pet Calendar: Pet Sitters Week
If you’ve never hired a pet sitter how can you make certain you’re getting the best one? Here are five tips to find the best pet sitter for your unique needs:
- Ask for references. When you talk with a potential pet sitter ask him or her for phone numbers and other contact information for other families whose pets they have cared for. Call those pet parents and ask what their experience was with the pet sitter you’re speaking with.
- Meet the pet sitter in person. You need to see whether your pets will get along with the potential pet sitter and vice versa. Does the sitter seem comfortable with your pets? Perhaps he or she is accustomed to pet sitting Poodles and you have a houseful of Great Danes. Chances are, an experienced pet sitter will be comfortable with all breeds and sizes, but it’s best to see first-hand if there is chemistry.
- Look online or on the pet sitter’s website or social media pages for reviews from current and/or former clients.
- Make a list of questions to ask the pet sitter: Experience, special medical training, availability when you’re out of town, does he or she spend the night, what do they charge, are there pets they have no interest in caring for or knowledge of, what if you need them to run an errand (for example, your reptiles need crickets while you’re gone) are they willing to do that. You know your pets best and you need to think of everything you do with them on a regular basis and what expectations you have of the pet sitter.
- What kind of updates do you want from the pet sitter while you’re gone and what are they accustomed to providing? They may usually only send one text a day, but you may want to have several photos and texts to put your mind at ease. Are they willing to do that? Does it seem an imposition to them to have to do that?
Bottom line, after you have checked references and met the sitter, you need to go with your gut. Your instincts and the way in which your pet reacted and interacted with a potential pet sitter will be one of your guiding beacons on whether that person is a good fit.
If you use a pet sitter and have a favorite pet sitter, reach out to him or her this week and thank them for the loving service they provide and the peace of mind they offer you when your pets are in their care.