We love vacations, and business or emergency trips can be a fact of life... but our pets usually prefer to stay home! A petsitter makes it all possible. Learn how to find the perfect match here.
If you have to travel but your pet needs to stay at home, a petsitter is a great alternative to a boarding kennel.
With a sitter, your pup gets to stay home where he feels comfortable and safe. He isn't going to be exposed to the stress of being in a strange environment and surrounded by other dogs.
Of course, the majority of boarding kennels are safe, well-run establishments and some dogs enjoy their 'vacation time'.
My son's dog goes to the local 'Pet Resort' when business trips take his owner out of town. Bosco is totally spoiled, has tons of one-on-one playtimes and is always happy to get to his 'hotel'. But it's not an inexpensive retreat!
Here are 5 situations where having someone come into your home and take care of your pets can be the answer you've been looking for:
Of course, you wouldn't leave your children with someone you had never met, who had no experience or was dubious in any way, would you?
For much the same reasons it's not a good idea to leave your dog/cat or small pet in the care of a totally unknown stranger (even if they do have a nice advertisement and snazzy business cards) - without doing your homework first.
Your pup is your precious 'furbaby' and a petsitter is the canine equivalent of a nanny - so why not let me show you how to find that perfect Mary Poppins? Someone with experience, references and a background check!
This route has some significant advantages over traditional boarding kennels, especially for dogs who are too young for boarding, or who are older or tend to be anxious or nervous in strange places.
The comfort of being in familiar surroundings, with their own bed, toys, bowls and backyard can be priceless.
Finding a dog sitter isn't difficult, but finding the right one can take time and effort, but it's more than worth it to make sure that your pet is happy while you're gone.Any petsitter should be able to provide references relating to their experience, training and background.
The best petsitting services conduct background checks and screen their sitters - this gives you invaluable peace of mind and one less thing on your 'to do list'.
The sitter may need to stay in your home while you're away, or just stop by 2 or 3 times a day.
Usual duties include making sure your pooch has food and water, walking and exercising, socialization, giving medications if necessary, and cleaning up any dog-related messes.
Any additional duties such as watering the plants, bringing in mail/newspapers, turning lights on and off etc. are all negotiable (and no, asking her to take old Aunt Martha to her podiatrist appointment is not appropriate!).
All duties should be discussed and agreed on before you sign a contract!
If you possibly can, arrange a face-to-face interview with your prospective sitter so you can find out if they, you and Fido are all in agreement. Even if you like him or her, if Fido takes an instant dislike to them (or vice versa) it's not going to work out well.
Obviously some puppies and dogs are more shy around strangers than others, you know him best and can decide whether it's natural timidity that will get better once they're acquainted or not.
But it seems that some dogs sense something when they decide whether a person is acceptable to them or not. If Fido refuses to come around or openly dislikes the first candidate, don't be afraid to try someone else.
There are certain questions that you should ask any potential
petsitter so we've given you a list as a starting point. Feel free to
add or subtract questions depending on your needs, personal preferences
Your petsitter should also ask you questions! They'll most likely want to know Fido's regular mealtime and 'walkies' schedule, where everything is kept, what you expect them to do in an emergency, where to contact you, your veterinarians phone number and address etc.
If you want to find a petsitter that you can feel confident is experienced, reliable and trustworthy, I'd really suggest using a Petsitting Agency. They will check the references of the sitters on their books and often provide background checks (or the ability for you to do so). A good agency will have a large pool of sitters for you to choose from, so you can be sure that you've found a good 'match'.
They'll also generally have lots of tips and advice to help you ask the right questions, and provide your chosen pet sitter with all the information they'll need in your absence.
All this makes finding a dog sitter so much easier, and less stressful... and the peace of mind you get knowing that your pup is in safe hands is priceless!
There are other situations and circumstances where being able to find a reliable petsitter quickly can be invaluable.
For example, a Pet Sitting Agency can also help you :
It's important to leave a written list for your petsitter that includes things such as:
Sittercity is one of the biggest and best 'sitter' agencies in the USA.
They provide a very thorough and professional service, and have sitters all over the country.
I live in a small rural town, but was able to find 16 prospective dog sitters within 10 miles of my home, and if I extended that to 15 miles there were over 70 possible choices!
You can take a free website 'tour' of their services, and take a look at the pet sitters available in your area before registering.
If you need a sitter, I seriously suggest you check them out. (PS. If you're a mom and have the need for a babysitter, they have a totally superior and comprehensive babysitting service, it's their original business actually - petsitting came later!)