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How To Hire A Pet Sitter

December 14, 2011

Leaving your dog or cat at home for extended periods of time while you’re traveling can be trying for both you and your pet. You don’t want to inconvenience your friends or family members by asking them to care for your pet while you’re gone. You could board her at the vet, but that is also stressful for her. And you worry about the exposure to the other animals that are sick. An in-home pet sitter seems like the perfect solution. However, you may not know how to go about finding one.

A good place to start looking for a sitter is the International Locator on the Pet Sitters International website. If you submit your zip code (or your country if you live outside of the US), you will get a list of pet care providers in your area. You can also specify the kind of pet you need care for and the types of service you are looking for. It’s best to enter just the criteria that are the most important to you. This will produce a bigger list of care givers for you to choose from. You can then click on the names of each of the sitters to find out more about them, including their contact information.

Once you have found a pet sitter who seems to be what you are looking for, you should make arrangements for her to visit your home before you are scheduled to leave. Most sitters will do this at no charge to you. Some pet sitting services employ several sitters, so make sure that the person who is coming to your house for the interview will be the person who makes the actual pet sitting visits while you are gone. You want to make sure that it is someone with whom you are comfortable, because you will be trusting her not only with your precious pet, but also with a key to your house. You also want to observe how the person interacts with your pet. Does your pet seem to like her?

Make sure that the sitter is insured. If anything should happen while you are away, such as your dog getting loose and biting someone, you need to know that you will be covered. Some people feel more secure if the sitter is also bonded, but unless he is an employee of a pet sitting company, bonding is really not necessary.

Feel free to ask for references. If the sitter has been in business for any length of time, she should be able and willing to provide you with a couple of phone numbers or email addresses of satisfied clients for you to contact.

Have a spare key made before the interview, and have it handy when the pet sitter arrives. Then, if you decide to hire him, he will not have to make another trip to your house (most likely at your expense) to pick it up later. Some sitters require two spare keys, which is for your pet’s protection as much as for the sitter’s. If the sitter should accidentally lock himself out of your house during a visit, it is much faster and easier (not to mention less expensive) for him to go back to the office and get the extra key, than to have to call a locksmith.

The sitter will need a way to reach you while you are gone, as well as the phone number and address of your veterinarian, and perhaps a neighbor or a friend who may be called upon in an emergency. Make sure you have all the information on hand that the pet sitter might need in your absence. It is better to provide more information than will be needed, than for the sitter to need a bit of info in an emergency and not be able to find it.

You can do a Google search for pet sitters in your area to compare prices, but don’t choose your sitter by price alone. You are trusting her with your baby and also your home. Choose someone who knows the value of the service they provide and takes her responsibility seriously.

Membership in one or more pet sitting organizations may indicate that the pet sitter is serious about his pet sitting business, but beyond that, it does not tell you a great deal. Anyone can join a pet sitting organization if they pay a fee. There is also no pet sitting license available, so if someone says they are a licensed, it merely means that they have a business license and pay their taxes.

Hiring a pet sitter is not that difficult if you know what to look for. Start your search at least several weeks before you have to leave, and you will have plenty of time to work out all the details. Your pet will thank you for it!


From → Pet Sitting

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