I wish I could always take my pet with me wherever I go. I’m sure you feel the same – most pet-lovers do. But are stuck wondering how to find a pet sitter you can trust?
Unfortunately, it’s not always possible. If you’re going away for days, even weeks, the best solution is to find a pet sitter. You don’t want just any pet sitter. You want someone who is going to take care of your pet as well as you do.
There is no shortage of pet sitters. It’s a desirable job for any pet-lover. The bad news is that it can feel daunting browsing dozens of profiles and classifieds looking for a sitter you’re comfortable with.
If you know where to look and what questions to ask, you can narrow it down to a few sitters who can treat your pet well.
With this in mind, here are some tips to help find the perfect pet sitter:
Ask Around for Recommendations
For me, having a pet sitter recommended by someone that previously hired them or knows them personally is the gold standard.
It’s easy to say all the right things in a profile. Having positive ratings and feedback online is great. But the best way to get a real insight into what someone is like is by speaking with someone who actually used their services.
If you don’t get any recommendations from friends and family, there are some other places and people you can reach out to for help. First, I recommend giving your vet a call. If there are pet sitters in your area, there’s a good chance they know about them.
A couple of places online include Meetup.com and pet forums. Meetup is an app where anyone can start a group around a topic they’re interested in. Look for local groups aimed at owners of the specific type and breed of pet you have. You’ll find some enthusiastic owners that may be able to recommend a sitter.
If you’ve still not had any luck, you could try asking in relevant pet forums. The downsides to forums are that you may have to wait a while for a reply and they don’t usually cater well to local requests.
Use Vetted Pet Sitting Organizations
There is no shortage of websites where you can find pet sitters offering their services online.
We would avoid local listings like Craigslist and the classifieds section in your local newspaper. Instead, start with larger professional organizations as they offer some security, such as:
These are national platforms that allow you to filter down to your zip code and some of the specifics you’re looking for in a sitter. The best thing about these organizations is that they vet the sitters using their platform. The pet sitters must provide all the necessary documentation to prove who they are, and they can take exams to get certified.
That’s a peace of mind you can’t get when browsing classified ads. You will have to pay a little more for using these sites, but it’s worth it.
Interview the Sitter
Once you have a shortlist of sitters you’re interested in, prepare some questions to get to know them better.
It’s much better to interview them over the phone rather than through email. You’ll get a better feeling about their answers and how quickly they will answer you. It’s also nice to enter into a back-and-forth chat to help put you at ease that they are going to be a good fit for you and your pet.
Some of the key questions to consider asking are:
● What certifications and training do you have?
● How long have you been pet sitting?
● What pets do you have?
● What are your procedures in case of an emergency?
● Can you provide two references?
Arrange a Short Trial Sit
You should have the perfect sitter in mind after conducting the interviews. The final and most important part on how to find a pet sitter is by introducing your pet to the sitter by meeting them in person.
Arrange a 30-minute introductory session. Observe how the sitter interacts with your pet, and vice versa. If it looks like they hit it off right away, give them some time together.
Remember, it’s a two-way relationship, and they’ve done more pet sitting jobs than you’ve hired pet sitters. Ask them what they expect when pet sitting and if there is anything else you should do.
If you followed all the steps in this article and the introduction with the sitter went well, I’m confident you’ll go away and enjoy yourself without worrying about your pet. If you’re still concerned, you can read more about pet behavior and how to manage it.