Choosing the Best Pet Sitter

best pet sitterChoosing the BEST Pet Sitter for your End of Summer Vacation

Planning a summer vacation is loads of fun! Well, planning the getaway part is, anyway.  If you’re a pet parent, planning the particulars of who is going to watch your fur babies while you’re away tends to be the MOST stressful part.  In fact, some people actually opt not to vacation as often as they’d like to just because of the stress that comes with worrying about who will care for their pets in their absence.  It doesn’t have to be that way.  With a little planning and research, you can be on your way to that summer vacation you’ve been dreaming of all year. 

Choosing the best pet sitter just got easier! 

By keeping these 8 questions in mind as you research pet sitters, you’re simply bound to find the best pet sitter for your family.

  1. Will the prospective pet sitter meet you beforehand?

This may as well be the first thing you ask any prospective pet sitter.  Would you let someone babysit your kids without meeting you first? Your pets deserve that same due diligence when it comes to their care as well.  In fact, any pet sitter worth their weight in gold will mandate that they meet you and your pets before they enter into any type of contract.  During this time, the pet sitter will come to your home so you can determine if they are the right fit for your pet and vice versa.  Get your list of questions ready but also be prepared for your potential pet sitter to ask you a few questions as well. 

  1. What specialized training has the pet sitter had?

Emergencies and accidents are bound to happen.  Pet First aid CPR is almost standard for most professional pet sitters and it should be.  If something was to go wrong while you are away, you really need someone at the helm who has been trained precisely how to respond in a variety of situations.  It could mean the difference between life and death for your pet.  The action that your pet sitter takes in those first few moments, could very well dictate if your pet lives or dies. 

  1. Is the pet sitter a professional?

This can get tricky.  Often times, people mistakenly think that if someone comes with a few references and they have a website means they’re a professional pet sitting company.  That’s simply not so.  Any company that you consider leaving your pets and home in the care of should be fully licensed, bonded and insured.  This protects you, your pets, your home and the pet sitter as well. 

  1. What will the pet sitter do in the event of an emergency?

It’s never safe to assume anything when it comes to the well-being of your pets.  Ask any prospective pet sitter what their plan is in the event of an emergency.  Even if the pet sitter hasn’t experienced all emergencies, they should have a well thought out plan in place for any type of accident or emergency that you could fathom. Ask questions and lots of them.  It’s your right and duty as a pet parent.  Any professional will eagerly answer any questions you may have and be very grateful that you’re being proactive in your search for the best pet sitter.

  1. What kind of screening does the company do on their pet sitters? Has the pet sitter assigned to your pet been screened?

Professional pet sitting companies put ALL employees through an extensive background check. As a homeowner and as the parent of your beloved pet, you will want anyone that is entering your home to be fully screened.  This holds true even if they come with stellar recommendations. Ask what the background specifically screens for as well.  If you decide to enlist the services of an independent contractor, you will need to conduct the background check yourself.    

  1. Will you be provided with a signed contract and what will that contract cover?

All expectations and services discussed should be explicitly laid out.  Not only does it protect you, but also the pet sitter.  There should be no grey areas involved. Both parties should know what their rights and responsibilities are. Cross all T’s and dot all I’s when it comes to contracting a professional pet sitting company. 

  1. How long has the pet sitter or professional pet sitting company been in business?

While longevity in business isn’t the be all end all,  a track record in the industry does hold some weight when it comes to peace of mind.  A professional company will be more apt to know what to do in an emergency situation and will always come with many personal and professional references.  Don’t be shy about asking, either.  Also, follow up on those references.  Again, a lot of your research is going to be about peace of mind as you head off on your vacation.  Hiring the best of the best will go a long way in doing so.

  1. How will the pet sitter keep you up to date on your pet while you’re away?

If you’re like the rest of us, you’ll want to be assured that your pet is doing well while you’re away.  Be sure to ask your pet sitter how their company will keep you up to date while you’re away.  Many pet sitters will update you via text message or email, even sending you photos of your pet.  Some companies even provide you with a camera that you can access right from your phone, which allows you to peek in on your pets.  There are even companies that place a tracker on your pet so you can always find the location of your pet whether he’s at home or on his daily walk with the pet sitter.  Now more than ever, technology brings so much peace of mind to pet parents on the go!

Choosing the best pet sitter for this summer and beyond doesn’t have to be a headache.  Print out this handy dandy guide to help you through the selection process.  A little elbow grease now in terms of research will be so worth it in the end.  Happy planning!

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