Maybe after reading our previous post about choosing a pet boarding facility, you’re thinking, “But I don’t want my puppy to be left alone all night or kept in a small room in a strange place!” We don’t blame you for thinking this way at all – in fact, we completely understand. That’s why we have compiled some tips on choosing a pet sitter for your prince or princess.
A Pet Sitter is Just as Important as a Baby Sitter
Whether you admit it to those besides your puppy, your dog is your baby. Finding a pet sitter that is qualified, trusted and good with your puppy can be a trying feat. There are tons of pet sitters out there. How do you know what to look for?
First, you should research pet sitters just as you would kennels. Ask family, friends, vets and other pet businesses of names in the area and what they know of them. Check out their website, if they have one, and obtain some basic information about them such as their background with animals, what kind of pets they normally care for from their photo gallery and read their testimonials as well. Make a list of at least 3 sitters that stick out in your mind and give them a call to 1) check their availability, 2) see if they service your area and 3) set up a consultation. Most pet sitters offer free consultations to meet you and your puppy.
When you meet the sitters, allow them to interact with your dog as much as possible to see how they are with him and, more importantly, how your he is with the sitter. You want your dog to like the sitter. You wouldn’t hire a baby sitter your kids hate, would you? Well, maybe you would. But in this case, your puppy will need to enjoy interacting with the sitter so that he will go outside with them, go on walks and feel comfortable with them in his environment.
Ask the sitter for at least 3 references and give them a call. Talk to these references about their experiences and how they think the sitter will handle certain situations you’re concerned about. Chances are, these people have been working with this sitter for awhile and know their behavior well enough to give you honest answers.
Also, check to see if the sitter is bonded and/or insured or pet first aid or pet CPR certified. Most, if not all, pet sitters have insurance to protect themselves as well as their clients.
Be sure to go over all feeding schedules with your sitter as well as any allergies your puppy may have, any behavior quirks such as jumping the fence or chasing rabbits. You don’t want your sitter to have any surprises when you’re away. The more information, the better! Clearly label all food, treats, medications and anything else your pup will need while you’re away to eliminate any confusion.
Lastly, be sure your sitter has all telephone numbers in case of an emergency, including where you will be staying and your cell phone. The sitter may have questions and you want to be available for them if need be. (We recommend MyPeticulars to make this easier).
Remember, pet sitters are in high demand now days. Waiting until the last minute may mean you end up with a sitter you are not completely comfortable with or begging your family to care for your puppy while you’re away. Calling a month in advance is a very good idea. This gives you plenty of time to set up a consultation and then schedule the sitter to ensure they are not squeezing you in to an already packed schedule (which will mean less attention for your pup) or not being able to use their services at all.
Pet sitters are great. They come directly to your house. There’s no packing for your dog. And best of all, your puppy gets to stay on his own couch the whole time you’re gone. Oh just face it, we all know that couch is his!