What to look for in a pet sitter? Why should I use a pet sitting service? What are some things that a pet sitter does to care for my pets while I am on holiday? How to find a good pet sitting service? What does it mean when they say bonded, insured, licensed? What questions to ask a pet sitter?
Many people, when they go for a holiday, take their pet to a kennel, however some pets do not do well in kennel situations, and some pets, such as farm animals, fish, and so forth, simply cannot be transported to a kennel.
Some pet owners rely on family, neighbors, or friends, to look after their pet, but this does not always work out well as these people are not always knowledgeable about animals or their care. For many reasons people are now using professional pet sitters to care for their pets while they cannot be there.
There are some things you should look for when considering what pet sitter to use for your pets as they are not all alike. Some features may be more important to you based on the type of pet you own.
Features to Consider when Picking a Pet Sitter:
Are they Bonded, Licensed and Insured?
This just gives you peace of mind in regards to whom you are handing your house keys over to and letting into your house when you are away.
How long have they been in business?
Another peace of mind consideration, a business that is well established should be able to provide you with references, and may have online reviews you can search for.
How many employees do they have?
If the pet sitting business is run by only one person what happens if they get sick, or have an emergency?
Are they experienced with your type of pet?
While most pet sitters are familiar with cats and dogs, if you keep livestock, or exotic pets you will need to make sure the person is familiar with them, not just comfortable being around them, but knowledgeable enough to spot health problems or other concerns.
What will they do in regards to pet care?
Will they scoop the litter box, clean the yard, clean cages? Will they play with your pets, walk your dog? Will they brush your pets? It should be noted that it is a good idea to tell your pet sitter not to let your cats outside even if they normally do go out. When you are not home, and they are unfamiliar with the pet sitter, they are more likely to wander off.
How long are their visits?
If they say they visit for half hour you can then determine if they have enough time to do all the things they say they are doing. Note that you often pay by the amount of time they spend at your house.
Can they give medication?
Not all pets require medication, but some need daily pills, and others need daily injections. You need to be specific when you ask about this particularly if your pet is diabetic and needs injections. If you ask if they give medications they might say “yes” thinking you mean pills, when in fact you mean insulin shots.
Do they have pet CPR and/or pet first aid training?
If your pet is older, this could be a concern. The first aid training is more of an issue if your pets go outside.
Will they do other things, such as bring in the mail, water plants, and so forth, for home security?
One of the basic duties of a pet sitter should also be to make your house looked lived in while you are away. If fact some people hire pet sitters just for this purpose even when they do not own pets.
Do they do overnight stays?
Some pet owners might want the pet sitter to stay over night. This is usually a flat fee per night.
Most pet sitters charge by the visit, not the day. As such a dog owner who needs the pet sitter to visit several times a day may find their costs are higher than a cat owner who might ask that the pet sitter only visit once every two days.
Do they have references?
You can always ask for references, and should check them when given. You can also ask your pet owning family and friends if they know of a good pet sitter or have had bad experiences with any pet sitters.
Most pet sitters will come and meet you, and your pets, before you actually hire them. Some charge for these meetings and later deduct this charge off your first booking, others do not. You should always meet with a pet sitter to make sure you, and your pets, are comfortable with them. You can also get an idea of how professional they are.