Choosing a pet sitter is not a task to take lightly as the person you hire will not only be responsible for your pets while you're away, they'll also have access to your home. Here are some simple steps I've used when selecting a pet sitter to care for my four-legged family members:
Step 1: Far in advance of your trip, research local pet sitters. I say far in advance because in these parts, pet sitters can book rather quickly.
Step 2: Do some "recon" on the pet sitter. Check out their website, Facebook page, or give them a call and chat with them to make sure they can provide the type of service you need.
Step 3: When speaking with the pet sitter, ask them:
- what their experiences are with pets
- to describe a routine visit with your pet
- how they deal with pet emergencies or weather emergencies
- if they can administer medications (if needed for your pet)
- and of course, the cost of their services and if they are insured or bonded.
Step 5: Invite the pet sitter to your home to make sure he/she interacts well with your pet.
Step 6: Provide the sitter with an outline of the care your pet needs. Include items like amount of food your pet needs each day, what medications or supplements your pet needs to take each day, what commands you give your dog so he/she will listen to the sitter while you're away, where your pet's collar and leash are, the name and number of your vet for an emergency, where you take your pet for exercise, where your pet's favorite toys are, and so forth. The more information they have about your pet, the better the care they can provide.
Pet sitters provide a wonderful service for your family and choosing the right one for your pets will make your trip more enjoyable as well. If you're looking for more information on selecting a pet sitter, check out this article on Dr. Karen Becker's Healthy Pets website, Finding the Right Pet Sitter for Your Dog or Cat.