Find the right pet sitter with these 10 questions

Sometimes as pet parents, we need to leave our pets at home, whether for a trip or a day away. When that happens, a pet sitter could be a good option for your furry family members.

Benefits of hiring a pet sitter can include; knowing your pet is being cared for by a professional, having someone house sitting who can bring in your newspaper and mail so potential burglars don’t know you’re away, allowing your pet to stay in the comfort and safety of their own home with the same diet and similar routine rather than going to a kennel or day care.

A good pet sitter gives your pet exercise, knows how to tell if your pet needs veterinary attention and has a certificate in First Aid and CPR. This is important for dog and cat sitting. But how do you find the specific one that’s right for you? A good place to start is a word-of-mouth recommendation from a friend, neighbour or veterinarian.

Once you think you’ve found a potential pet sitter, here are 10 questions you can ask to learn more about their qualifications and experience:

  1. Can the pet sitter provide written proof that they have commercial liability insurance (to cover accidents and negligence) and are bonded (to protect against theft by a pet sitter or their employees)?
  2. What training have they received?
  3. Will the pet sitter record notes about your pet, such as their likes, dislikes, fears, habits, medical conditions, medications, and routines?
  4. Is the pet sitter associated with a veterinarian who can provide emergency services?
  5. What will happen if they experience car trouble or become ill? Do they have a backup?
  6. Will the pet sitter provide related services such as being a dog walker, in-home grooming, training, and play time?
  7. Will the pet sitter provide a written service contract spelling out services and fees?
  8. If the pet sitter provides live-in services, what are the specific times they agree to be with your pet? Is this detailed in the contract?
  9. How does your pet sitter make sure that you have returned home?
  10. Will they provide you with the phone numbers of other clients who have agreed to serve as references?

If the sitter makes it through these questions, the next step is for them to meet your pet in your home. It’s important they feel comfortable with your pet, and that your pet likes them too. Consider hiring the sitter while you’re away for only a short time so you can see how they do before you go on a longer trip.

From there, you can enjoy being away on your trip! Remember to bring your pet sitter’s phone number in case your plans change – or you just want to find out how your pet is doing.