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Benefits of Using a Pet Sitter

Using a professional pet sitter reaps benefits for both pets and their owners. 

Once you experience professional pet care in your home, you'll never worry about being away from your pet again.


For the Pet                                           

Benefits to your pet include:

  • Staying at home in his/her safe, secure environment
  • Being surrounded by familiar sights, smells and sounds
  • Following his/her regular diet and exercise routine
  • Having play time
  • Receiving love and personal attention
  • Maintaining medical treatment, when required
  • Having someone responsible in case of an emergency
  • Eliminating the trauma of travel or an unfamiliar environment
  • Ensuring good health (no exposure to other animals' illness or parasites)


For the Owner

Benefits to you include:

  • Knowing that your pet is in caring, loving hands
  • Having the confidence that the pet sitter can deal with other issues - such as grooming, vet visits
  • Eliminating the trauma of having to transport and leave your pet
  • Not having to impose on family, friends or neighbors
  • Feeling your home is more secure (with someone going in and out several times a day)

Not all pet sitters are created equal, nor are they all professional.  In hiring a pet sitter, it is important to make sure you have chosen the right person to care for your beloved animal.


Hiring a Pet Sitter

Hiring a pet sitter is a serious process.  Make sure the person you choose is trained and professional.  He/she will not only be responsible for your pet, but also will have regular access to your home.

Once you have identified a potential pet sitter: 

  • Develop a set of questions and conduct a thorough interview
  • Ask for references
  • Request proof of bonding and liability insurance coverage
  • Make sure he/she interacts well with your pet

Services and fees can vary widely. Be sure to determine:

  • what your needs are
  • exactly how much services will cost
  • look for hidden charges 

Get the Most Out of Your Pet Sitter

Once you've decided to hire a pet sitter, you'll want to maximize the experience for you and your pet.

The following are some simple guidelines that will ensure that that your get the most out of the relationship:


For Pet Owners

In order for your pet sitter to provide the best care for your pet, he/she will need to know everything and anything about your animal.

You should provide your pet sitter with answers to a number of questions:

  • What are your pet's routines and schedules (eating, sleeping, walking, playing)?
  • Does your pet have major or minor health problems? 
  • Does it require medication?  If so, provide its location and schedule.
  • What should be done in case of an emergency?
  • Where do you keep your pet's favorite toys?
  • Is your dog a chewer?  If so, make sure you provide the location of its chew toys.
  • What are your pet's favorite hiding places?  (This will prevent a panic if your animal is nowhere to be found)
  • Does your pet have any unusual habits (changes in bowel movements, eating habits, fears, etc.)?

Also provide the pet sitter with written verification of up-to-date vaccinations (collar tags or copy of vaccination certificates).

Make sure that your pet has an identification tag with name, address and phone number (This goes for cats, as well as dogs).


Plan Ahead

Being prepared will help pave the way for a positive pet sitting experience:

  • Make your pet sitting reservations as early as possible, especially prior to holidays.
  • Have an extra house/apartment key made for the pet sitter.  Make sure it works.
  • Buy extra food, litter and supplies before you go away.  Always buy a little extra in case you're away longer than expected.
  • Let the sitter know where to find cleaning tools - vacuum, mop, broom, dustpan, sponges, cleaners trash bags.
  • Show the sitter where the fuse box/circuit breaker is and where to find new fuses.
  • Make sure your dog's collar fits properly and includes an identification tag.
  • Is your dog used to walking on a leash?  If not, practice with him/her beforehand.

Communications Is Essential

Pet ownership in the United States is continually on the rise.  Currently, 63 percent of all American households have pets.  The US pet population includes some 73 million dogs, 90 million cats and 16 million birds plus fish, hamsters and other animals.[1]  These pets are happiest when they're home, surrounded by familiar sights, smells and sounds.

  • The best way to develop a good relationship with your pet sitter is through communication. Being open and honest with your sitter will reap positive results. 
  • Let the sitter know about any areas in your home that are off limits to him/her and/or your pet.
  • Provide the names and phone numbers of the vet and an emergency contact.
  • List names and numbers of contractors in case a problem arises (electrician, plumber, maid service, yard or pool maintenance).
  • Leave your contact information - cell phone number, as well as number(s) of where you will be while away.
  • Will another person(s) being checking on your pet or home?  If so, let the pet sitter know.
    • Provide them with each other's name and phone number.
    • Clarify each person's responsibilities and schedules.
  • Except for emergencies, always contact your pet sitter during office hours.  Be especially considerate of sitters who operate their businesses from their homes.
  • If your instructions or plans change, once you're away, call your sitter and let him/her know (make sure to check time zone differences before you call).

Prepare Your Home Before You Go Away

If you are going to be away for a while, take steps to make sure everything is taken care of before you go.

  • Leave a piece of clothing that you've recently worn near where your pet sleeps as a reminder of you.
  • Display the name and phone number of your vet in a prominent place.  Show it to the pet sitter before departing.
  • Place out appropriate food and water bowls for your pet's use.  Clean them beforehand.
  • Put everything needed for your pet's care in a specific area so the sitter doesn't have to search for leashes, food or medications.  Let the sitter know where these items are.
  • If the sitter will be coming in the evening, hook up a timer light so he/she will not have to come to a dark house. It will be homier for your pet as well.
  • Select a neighbor to keep an eye on your place while you're gone.
  • Let him/her know that a pet sitter will be coming to your home while you're away. 
  • Provide him/her with a key in case of an emergency, inclement weather or in the event the pet sitter cannot make a scheduled visit.
  • Give the pet sitter the neighbor's name and phone number.

Safety is Key

Do as much as possible to ensure that things are safe and secure before you go away.

  • Unplug any electrical appliances that will not be used to prevent injury to pets or damage during an electrical storm.
  • Close the door on the clothes dryer.
  • Consider leaving the radio/TV on to keep your pet company (and deter crime).
  • Clean up anything that might be accidentally swallowed by your pet (Christmas tree tinsel, pine needles, string, ribbon or other holiday items).
  • Never leave your pet in the garage.  Too many toxic substances may be stored there. If you feel you must, pet-proof the garage first.
  • Make sure that indoor pets are inside.
  • If your cat(s) escape(s) beforehand, let the sitter know to look for the animal(s) outside.