We wish we could take our pets everywhere with us. Unfortunately, there are times and places where they can’t accompany us and we’re forced to leave them behind. If you’re lucky, you have friends and family who are willing and able to take in your fur kids when they can’t come with you. Sometimes, though, we’re forced to leave them with strangers. You want the best for your pet, even while you’re away, so picking a pet sitter shouldn’t be taken lightly. Here are 5 tips for finding the right pet sitter.
#1 – Get a recommendation
Ask friends, family, neighbors, veterinarians, humane societies, or dog trainers who they recommend. You can also contact the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (856-439-0324) or Pet Sitters International (336-983-9222). Look for reviews on Yelp and the like. And once you’ve narrowed down your list to a few candidates, don’t hesitate to ask them for references.
#2 – Ask the right initial questions
Even before you set up an interview at your home, there are some things you should know about the person you are considering handing your house keys over to. Can they provide written proof that they are bonded and insured? How much experience do they have? How flexible are they if you need to leave town suddenly or stay late at work? How do they handle emergencies?
#3 – See how they interact with your pet
Before you agree to hire them, you should have them over to your house so you can talk to them in person and watch how they react to your pet. Are they calm and relaxed? Do they respect any rules you give them, such as don’t let the dog jump on the sofa? Do they seem genuinely excited to meet your pet, or do they seem put off by your friendly animal trying to get in their face? How does your pet react to this person? Some animals are shy around everybody, but if your pet seems exceptionally nervous, trust your gut.
#4 – Do a background check
Sure, a background check costs money, but isn’t it worth $15-25 for the peace of mind of knowing that you haven’t accidentally hired a criminal to care for your fur child? A reputable pet sitter shouldn’t object to you doing a background check on them.
#5 – Go with your gut
In the end, you might have narrowed your list down to several qualified candidates. Your instincts should help you pick the one person you think will be best suited for the task of providing love and attention to your furry companions in your absence.