Updated: Nov 11, 2020
As we continue to navigate these uncertain times, people are trying to acclimate to today's "normal". For some this means going back to an office, for some it means continuing to homeschool kids and for others it might mean a quick getaway over a long weekend. Whatever the case may be, this new "normal" might also mean suddenly needing to find a dog walker or pet sitter. While it might be tempting (and less expensive) to ask your neighbor's teenage daughter or finding someone on an "Uber" like site, we would encourage you to read on why it's important to hire a professional pet sitter.
How Do We Know This?
In addition to providing pet sitting services for our clients, we also consider ourselves to be advocates for pets everywhere. We are very involved in the pet community, members of professional organizations and partner with local animal charities. As such we hear many happy pet stories, but sadly we also hear some not so happy ones about pets that were left in the care of a “pet sitter”. We’ve heard everything from people returning home from vacation to thousands of dollars worth of damage resulting from a faucet left on overnight by their uninsured “pet sitter” to people discovering that their pets were left unattended to for days by a “pet sitter” they hired.
What Exactly is a Professional Pet Sitter?
Many people toss around the term “pet sitter” nonchalantly when referring to a neighbor, a family friend or to someone who may have posted a free profile on a “pet sitting” website. What most people don’t know is that pet sitting is actually a profession. Professional pet sitters know how to recognize medical emergencies, are trained on the proper way to harness a dog, etc. They are certified individuals with credentials, insurance and bonding and are committed to continuing their education in order to provide the best possible petcare.
5 QUESTIONS YOU SHOULD ASK BEFORE HIRING A PET SITTER
1.) Are you insured and bonded?
Make sure they offer their own form of insurance to cover property and pets in their care at their home, at yours and in transit.
2.) Can you provide references?
Personal references from other pet owners who have used their services in the past is the best way to gauge the quality of a pet-sitter. Get a list of references and call at least one or two. 3.) How would you handle a pet emergency?
What happens if your pet gets sick or runs away? Your pet-sitter should have an emergency plan set up just in case something goes wrong. They should also have your vet's information on file along with any insurance you have for your pet, etc.
4.) What do you like and not like about your job?
While we cannot imagine a pet-sitter not loving their job, there could be folks out there who perhaps do this because they can't get other types of work. Asking your sitter what they like and don't like about their job can help you gain some insight. Do they really love animals and will they dote on your pet the same way you do or is this just an easy way for them to make some cash? 5.) How can we stay in touch while I’m away?
Whether you're flying across the Atlantic or just getting away for the weekend, you're leaving your fur baby in someone else's care. It's imperative that you establish how your pet-sitter will communicate with you while you are away. You need to get updates on your pet and your pet-sitter needs to know how to get a hold of you.
Simply put, while you might pay a bit more for a professional, we think your peace of mind and the wellness of your pet is worth it!
About the Author
The daughter of an award-winning travel writer, Kimberly has followed in her mother’s footsteps and has had articles been published in numerous publications. Kimberly got her first puppy from Santa Claus when she was four years old and has never known a life that didn’t include four legged family members. An animal advocate, she has rescued pets, volunteered at shelters and has even been known to nurse an injured sparrow back to health. When she’s not busy running a successful petcare business and providing care to her four legged customers, you can rest assured she is pampering her 19 year old kitty, Scout.