Choosing a Pet Sitter


As we said, not every dog is ready to travel and not every trip is appropriate for your dog. If you need to leave your dog at home, a pet sitter can be a great option. Picking a good pet sitter is important; you want someone who is reliable and good with animals, especially your dog.  You want to be able to trust that they will do what they say and when they say they will do it.

Some good resources for locating a pet sitter are Pet Sitters International (PSI) and National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS).

Once you have the name of a pet sitter, invite them over for an interview.  You wouldn’t hire someone at your place of business without doing a thorough interview first, would you?  The same applies for hiring a pet sitter.

The interview helps you to figure out whether you and the pet sitter are compatible.  If you are not comfortable with each other it may hinder open communication.  Being able to communicate is very important for your pet’s sake.

An interview will provide you with a clear look at how the pet sitter interacts with your pets. Do they genuinely like your pets and do your pets like them? If they ignore your dog the whole time they are talking with you, is that a good sign? Is your normally friendly dog acting reserved or aggressive around the pet sitter?

When interviewing the pet sitter, you should cover these important areas:

  1. Take a look at their experience and background.  How long have they been a pet sitter and have they ever taken care of a dog like yours?  Do they have references that they will happily share with you?  Give the references a call and ask about the pet sitter’s reliability and trustworthiness.
  2. Find out if the pet sitter is insured. Some pet sitters are very part time (or are your neighbors) and don’t have insurance.
  3. Find out how they handle emergencies. Do they have time built into their schedule so they can stay longer with a sick pet? Do they know where your vet’s office is and can they take your pet there in an emergency? Do they have back ups to cover for them in case of personal emergencies?
  4. Find out how busy their schedule is. Do they pack their day so full of pet sits that they end up shortening their stays just to get to all of them? Or are they so busy that your scheduled visit sometime between 11:00 am and 1:30 pm becomes a 10:30 am or 2:00 pm visit?

Interviewing a pet sitter before you hire them is an important step and one you won’t regret taking the time to do.  The goal is to find someone you and your pets are happy with as it could be the start of a great long-term relationship for all of you.