Finding The Right Pet Sitter

I have been very lucky in that I have always had a family member around who has been able to step in and care of my fur kids in my absence. However, recently I found myself in a situation where I needed a professional to step in and take care of Fudge and Ziggy.

When faced with this task for the first time, it struck me that it’s not as simple as calling up a professional sitter and asking about rates. First and foremost, it’s about finding a professional whom you like and not only feel comfortable leaving in charge of your pets, but giving them access to your home.

I started my search by calling my own veterinarian and close friends who have used professional services and asked them for recommendations.

Both offered up names and I then set about calling and setting up personal meetings so that I could meet them and, more importantly, see how they reacted to my cats. And how my cats reacted to them.

To me this was the most important step. Next was to find out if they had back-up plans if they personally were unable to come on a particular day. Both potential sitters did have an action plan. They also had contracts to sign and prove that they are licensed and bonded.

I must add that I did my research well in advance of any travel plans. I recommend to anyone in this situation that they do the same. The answer is peace of mind knowing that when I do travel, I have someone reliable on call.

Remember it’s never advisable to leave pets alone with lots of food and water even overnight because things do happen in the home. A sudden invasion of ants taking over the food bowl will leave them without food and raucous play could result in the water bowl being tipped over. These are just two very ordinary everyday things that spring to mind.

Here are some of the pointers on my checklist:

  • Ask what other services, such as bringing in the mail and putting out the garbage, they are prepared to do.
  • If it’s a live-in arrangement, specify the times you want them to be with your pet.
  • If it’s not a live-in arrangement, make sure the pet sitter knows where to switch on the lights if they are checking in on your pet in the evenings.
  • Find out if the pet sitter is associated with a particular veterinary office or is willing to take your pet to your veterinarian.
  • Make sure you point out salient features of your home such as an alarm system and where you keep the remote control for the garage door.

Before you leave, make sure you’ve written out all instructions regarding your pet’s food, medication and general routine. Remember to provide your contact information and give the pet sitter at least one neighbor’s name and phone number.

Also make sure that your pet is micro-chipped and wearing a sturdy collar with proper identification. After all, if something goes awry and your pet goes missing, proper ID will be your pal’s ticket home.

And don’t forget to leave a few fun new toys for the sitter to spoil them with, such as the ZOINK! Fun N’ Run Pet Laser Toy. Toys are always a nice way to help prevent boredom! Have a fun and safe trip.

 -Photo Credit: From flickr Stephen Tell

 

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