We all deserve and need vacation time, but it can be stressful deciding on care for your pets while you’re gone. Boarding facilities can be a fantastic option – but the best ones are understandably often booked far in advance. A professional pet sitter can be a lifesaver and give you peace of mind when you’re traveling. You can hire a sitter to stay at your home, check on your pets throughout the day, or watch your pets in their own home. You don’t want to just hire the first pet sitter you come across online.
Why is a pet sitter a good idea?
There are many reasons pet parents may benefit from a pet sitter. And we’re not talking about dog walkers! Many senior pets (cats!) benefit from a visit during the day. Dogs of course benefit from going potty during a visit but in many cases cats and dogs may enjoy some company from someone other than their pet parents.
- Do you live with senior pets? Senior animals need enrichment and a visit with another human may be a nice break from the daily routine. For example, if you know your errands may take a few hours it may be worth having a pet sitter over once a week or twice a month to visit and play with your senior pets. Even felines may enjoy some treats and a cuddle. It’s important to consider the needs of senior cats and dogs.
- Did you recently add a third dog or cat to your home? Anytime you add multiple pets you should consider enlisting the help of a pet sitter so you get a break from being the primary caregiver. Perhaps you’ve been doing a lot of training to introduce the new pet to the pack. Have a pet sitter over when you need a break as all your animals will enjoy a new friendly face while you’re gone.
- Pandemic puppies need enrichment… constantly. This is probably the most obvious tip! New puppies need to be exposed to as many new faces as possible and since for the first month, they need to stay in a bubble while they wait for important vaccinations having a pet sitter help out with potty breaks and playtime is important!
Here are some tips for finding a caring, knowledgeable professional to look after your fur kids.
Ask sources you trust for a reference
There are lots of useful sites and organizations that can help you choose a sitter, but some of the best recommendations come from family and friends who’ve used pet sitters in the past. You can also ask our staff the next time you come in the store if they have any recommendations. We find platforms like NextDoor and Facebook neighborhood groups a great resource too.
Ask to see training certificates and proof of business insurance
Good professional pet sitters put in a lot of time and work to grow their business and their skill sets. When talking with a potential sitter, ask about what training they’ve completed and ask if you can see copies of certifications. You’ll also want to see their proof of business insurance. It’s also good for a pet sitter to have a relationship with an area vet in case of emergencies, so be sure to get this information.
Two-way interview process
While you’re interviewing a potential pet sitter, see if they’re taking notes about you and asking detailed questions about your pet. A good professional will want to interview you just as much as you interview them!
Define quality time
It’s important to clarify what the pet sitter considers quality time with your pets. Even if they’ll be staying at your house you’ll want to know how much time they’ll be playing with, cuddling, and focusing on your pet. Find out the average time they spend. Is it 45-minutes or 20-minutes each visit?
Set your pets up for success
Set everyone up for success by leaving detailed instructions, buying extra food, having additional supplies ready like kitty litter before leaving, and making sure your pet has access to their favorite toys and items during the sitter’s time. Also, set up guidelines for updates from your pet sitter so everyone will know what to expect and whether a text is ok or an email is better pending where you’re going on your trip.
Any member of our staff may help with pet sitter recommendations or what to look for when you interview someone. Don’t hesitate to ask about safe products or treats a pet sitter may use when at your home too.
There are many ways to enrich your pets during the day! Our staff has some ideas for physical and cognitive enrichment in this article. You can also ‘make’ dog toys and we have DIY ideas that are easy and inexpensive.