9 Tips for Choosing a Pet Sitter
Select One Who’s Right for You
Planning a vacation or traveling for work? Instead of boarding Max at the kennel or burdening a friend with dog, cat or reptile duty, consider another option: professional pet sitters.
Selecting a Pet Sitter
Selecting a pet sitter takes a little more effort than dialing a random number you may see in the Yellow Pages. Elyse Marks, director of marketing for Fetch! Pet Care, the nation’s largest professional pet sitting and dog walking franchise, recommends the following guidelines when selecting a pet sitter:
- Check the company’s references; ask for at least three.
- Ensure the company is fully bonded and insured.
- Confirm that your sitter has undergone a criminal background check and has received proper training.
- Pre-interview a sitter with your pet(s) present to observe interactions and establish a “comfort level” for both you and the pet(s).
- Let your sitter know how you would like him/her to use their time in terms of walking, playing, feeding, cleaning, etc.
- Verify that the sitter can accommodate both your pet’s daily feeding and walking schedule as well as your desired vacation schedule, even during the busiest holidays.
- Ensure the company offers seven-day per week telephone and e-mail availability.
- Provide medical and behavioral history about your pet(s) as well as veterinary and other emergency contact information, and gather all necessary supplies, including food, vitamins, and treats in one central location.
- Ensure the company has “backup” measures in place should your sitter have an emergency that prevents them from completing your assignment.
Pet Sitting Resources
There are a number of resources available for pet owners looking to find qualified pet sitters. The National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS), a national nonprofit U.S. trade association for individuals with pet sitting businesses, offers a zip code pet sitter locator on their Web site.