Who’s ready for a vacation? Yep… we all can use a change of scenery these days. Aside from the packing and prep that goes into traveling with children, you also have to figure out a plan for your fur baby if they’re not coming along. Here’s your guide to finding the perfect pet sitter:
First, What Do You (and Your Pet!) Need?
The type of pet sitter you hire depends on what type of care is required.
- Is your pet used to someone being around all day?
- How often does your pet need to be let outside or taken on walks?
- Do you require overnight care? If you have a cat, you may just need someone to check in daily on their food/water, provide some cuddles and handle the litter box.
- Are you comfortable having someone sleep in your home or would you rather have your pet go to someone else’s house?
- Does your pet have special dietary requirements or medical issues?
When It Comes to Finding a Pet Sitter, Comfort Is Key.
You want to ensure you’ve found someone who is:
- Knowledgeable—ask about their previous experiences and what they would do in an emergency.
- Reliable—this is where good references come in handy!
- Comfortable with your pet’s temperament and unique needs—they know when it’s time for playful tug-of-war or a relaxing belly rub.
- Communicative—if there’s an issue, it’s important to know ASAP. And cute photos are excellent texts to receive when you’re missing your fur baby!
- Trustworthy—you’ve handed your house keys over to this person, so trust is crucial!
- Loving—they should treat your pet like their own!
Trying to Avoid the Expense? Rely On Friends and Family.
Before booking a professional sitter, many people ask close family/friends to care for their cat or dog. This is an easy arrangement because you already trust this person, your pet probably knows them well and they’re often familiar with your pet’s routine.
Get a Referral.
If you know someone with a pet, chances are they know a great sitter. Word of mouth is a good route, especially since this is someone you’re giving access to your home when you’re not there. Many people post pet sitting recommendations on local list servs, so be sure to search those for great referrals. Your veterinarian, breeder, and groomer may have a lot of names to pass along.
Use a Professional Service.
There are many services that help you find the right match for your pet (it’s almost like online dating between pet parents and pet sitters!). The Rover app offers boarding, house sitting, dog walking, doggy day care, drop-in visits and even grooming. Review detailed profiles, set up interviews, do meet and greets and then select a sitter. It’s easy to search for specific needs, like if your dog has mobility issues or requires a certain diet. Sitters are approved by Rover’s team of sitter specialists and have passed a basic background check. And perhaps you’ve used Care.com for babysitting? They can connect you with pet care, too! No matter what service you choose, make sure the providers have been vetted and that there are insurance policies in place.
Get Set Up for Success.
Before you head on your way, be clear about the fee and your expectations—and be specific!
- Outline food, exercise, and any household/cleaning requirements. For example, you’ll want someone who is okay with cleaning up after your pet if they have an accident or tears up a roll of toilet paper!
- Discuss disciple/reward methods.
- Provide emergency contact information for yourself, a local friend/neighbor, and the veterinarian.
- Make sure they know favorite walking routes… and where the leash and poop bags are!
- Explain anything that’s off limits like being off-leash, trying to play with your neighbor’s cranky pooch, eating unlimited treats…
It may provide peace of mind to do a test run before your trip. Give your pet and the pet sitter some time to bond while you’re nearby. This way you can answer questions as they arise and see just how happy your pup or kitty is with her new BFF!