Finding a Good Pet Sitter…

Are you going out-of-town and need to find a good pet sitter?  

hiding catJust like trying to find a good baby sitter for your two-legged kids you need to do some research before just hiring anyone to watch your four-legged kids!  You should consider the below recommendations when searching for a pet sitter to care for your pets and home in your absence.

Before scheduling Meet & Greets with potential pet sitters make sure you have checked references.   You will be inviting these people into your house and they will be there when you are not present!   A good source for pet sitters includes your veterinarians office, groomers, and boarding facilities.  Most of these places will have lists of people that they recommend and/or use themselves.

Make sure you meet the pet sitter at your home before the first pet sitting date.   This will allow your pets to meet them and become acquainted before your departure.  This is also a good time to go over any detailed information about their care and also costs.

Most pet sitters are honest and good people but you should still look into a few different sitters before settling on one.

The pet sitter might provide a service contract and go over specific services and their associated fees.  Make sure you and the pet sitter agree what type of service is to be provided:

  • Are they staying the night at your house or just coming over 2-4 times a day to feed, walk, and/or medicate your pet(s)?
  • Are they aware of all the pets in the house (cats, etc that might be hiding during their initial visit)?
  • Give them a schedule of any medications and also a list of medical problems that are already existing for each pet
  • Make sure you sign a form that will enable them to make medical decisions incase your pet gets sick and the veterinarian can not reach you:
    • If your pet needs medical care and you are not reachable, then your local veterinarian or emergency clinic may not be able to provide diagnostic test and/or treatment without your consent to treat.   Such a medical form will allow the pet sitter to authorize medical treatment in your absence.
    • You should also discuss with the pet sitter who will cover such medical bills if they authorize emergency treatment for your pet.
      • In general, most clinics will require the pet sitter to pay the fees (unless you are reachable and able to pay via credit card over the phone) and they may not feel comfortable paying for it unless they know you are going to reimburse them.
    • Make sure you provide emergency numbers so the pet setter can reach you on your trip if needed.

You should provide a list of what veterinarian sees your pets normally and the local emergency clinic(s) that you would prefer them be taken too if any problems arise.  You may even wish to contact your regular veterinarian and tell them who will be watching your pets.

What happens if the pet sitter gets sick or there is severe weather and they can’t get to your pet?  Make sure they have a back-up plan if any emergencies occur .

We recommend that you get a pet sitter that is very experienced not only with feeding and walking pets but also first aid and other medical issues.   Many pet sitters are certified veterinary technicians (CVT’s) so they will be able to easy care for pets that have preexisting medical problems and need medication/monitoring or if your pet develops any problems while you are out-of-town.  Similarly, they are typically going to be better at determining what problems are ‘major’ and need to be dealt with ASAP at an emergency clinic vs ‘minor’ problems that can wait until the morning when your regular veterinarian opens.

Make sure you leave the pet sitter your keys and/or garage door opener.   If you have a house alarm then we recommend that you set up a secondary code that only they can use.   Don’t give them your regular code to use the alarm!

If your pets have a rabies tag, then make sure they are wearing it and also ensure their microchip information is up to date.  This will help increase the chance they find their way home should they happen to bolt when the pet sitter opens the door.  (These are things that should be done all the time anyways!)

If you have other tips that you think would be helpful then please feel free to leave them!   Please don’t leave name/numbers of pet sitters or use this to advertise your pet sitting business.