Having a good pet sitter improves your day-to-day experience with your pet, so it’s important to find and hire a great one to be there for you when you need one. Although there are many websites that pet parents can use to find pet sitters online, once you have narrowed down your search to a few candidates, it may help you to focus on these 10 things of what to look for in a great pet sitter.
- Flexibility. This is especially important if you have a constantly changing work schedule or if you are going out of town but are not sure if you might be delayed coming back. It also helps if the pet sitter can be available within a reasonable amount of time in case you need to make an important appointment, or if you need to stay late at the office, or go to a last minute engagement of some kind.
- Patience. Animals are a lot like children in that while they offer unconditional love, they also require an endless amount of patience as they can test your limits on almost everything. A calm and patient pet sitter will encourage your pet to stay calm and prevent anxious behaviors by offering soothing and positive activities.
- Sensitive. Pets can be sensitive to their environment, and a good pet sitter should be able to recognize what your pet needs to be comfortable and provide it. Whoever you leave your pet with should handle your pet with affection and never use any kind of physical punishment or force, like dragging your dog during a walk on a leash.
- Trustworthy. You’ll probably need to give your pet sitter a spare key to your home, so be sure to run a background check and talk to several references to ensure the safety of both your pet and your belongings. Trustworthy pet sitters will come off as courteous, kind and professional, by taking notes, asking questions, and showing a real interest in you and your pet’s needs.
- Experienced. If your pet is high maintenance or has a challenging care regimen, be sure to hire someone with plenty of experience in the field. For example, if you have a big and dominant German Shepherd, find a pet sitter that has handled large dogs before and knows how to care for them in a respectful and responsible way. If your pet has a medical condition then of course it’s advised to hire someone who has a background in that area.
- Consistent. Make sure your pet sitter knows the rules of the house for your pet and follows them consistently. If you don’t let your dog on the bed, then your pet sitter shouldn’t either. If you keep a strict feeding and walking schedule, then your pet sitter should maintain it as well. Not only will this help your pet trust the pet sitter but it will also make the transition of going back into your care much easier, without confusing the animal.
- Reliable. The pet sitter you hire needs to be able to show up on time and not make you wonder if they’re going to be late or decide not to come at all. A reliable pet sitter will ease your mind, as you will be able to rely on the pet sitter to be there for your pet when you cannot be there. Be sure to set up clear arrangements with the pet sitter so that there is no confusion about when they are supposed to be there and when they are not.
- Insured. A pet sitter that is licensed and insured shows that they are professional and serious about their business. Being insured means that you and your pets will be protected while in the care of your pet sitter. It’s also a good idea to set up a contract between the two of you regarding services, pay rate, rules, etc…
- Genuine. Anyone can sign up to be a pet sitter, but you want the very best possible candidate watch over your fur baby, and the best way to ensure that is to hire a true animal lover. Asking questions about a potential pet sitter’s funny animal stories, or most embarrassing moments with a pet, could give you a glimpse into how they handle stressful situations and what they might do if that were to happen with your pet.
- Comfortable. Just like parents don’t hire a babysitter to watch their kids without having them meet the kids, you shouldn’t hire a pet sitter to watch your pet without having them meet your pet. Setting up a meet and greet for the pet sitter candidate of your choice and your pet will give you a chance to see how they interact with each other, and how comfortable the pet sitter is with your pet. Pet sitters can claim to love animals, but it’s only when you see them in action when you get to see their true connection to your pet.
Our pets are one of the most important parts of our lives. They give us so much love and bring us endless amounts of joy and laughter. So, as pet parents, it’s important to find just the right pet sitter to care for our fur babies when we can’t be there for them ourselves.