It’s time to shake the winter blues and get away! Unfortunately, not every vacation hot spot is also pet-friendly.
Many pets are not suited for a boarding kennel or doggy daycare. That’s where at-home pet sitting comes in. Finding a professional pet sitter who can stay in your home and take care of your pet can make all the difference for your peace of mind.
Here are a few tips and resources on how to find pet sitting services so you can confidently go on holiday knowing your pet is looked after and cared for.
Be a detective
When looking for someone to do dog walking or house sitting, check their references and do an online search. If they say they have a certification or credential, do a little research into the credentials and ensure they are legit.
Even something as simple as a Google search can reveal information about a person. A little investigation can go a long way in avoiding a bad experience.
Pet sitter websites to browse
- Pet Sitters International
- The National Association of Professional Pet Sitters
- Trusted Sitters
There are many online sites that offer pet sitter ads. Some sites, like Care.com, allow potential sitters to include a background check on their profile, others like Rover.com, Wag, or Pet Sitters International allow you to browse sitters and dog walkers and see their reviews from other pet parents.
Read each profile description to find the best pet sitter for you. Some will even do dog boarding in the sitter’s home, and specify whether or not they have experience with special needs animals or know basic pet first aid.
There are plenty of online sites that offer “ratings” but be warned, some sites allow comments to be solicited or even deleted or edited. Know the requirements of the recommendations and ensure the site upholds strict standards.
Other online resources
Another good digital resource to find pet sitters is the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS) website.
They are a non-profit, professional pet sitting association “dedicated to raising and abiding by industry standards. We support members with education, certification, and the resources to operate successful businesses.”
Trustedsitters.com is a membership-based concept, matching those who need caregivers with animal lovers that love to travel.
There are so many different options to find a great sitter and ensure you will feel comfortable that you have picked the best choice for you and your pet.
Nothing beats word-of-mouth referrals. Ask your neighbors, friends, groomer, or other pet owners who they have personally dealt with and recommend for pet care.
Do you have a neighborhood listserv or NextDoor page? Ask around there as well. This is a great way to narrow down your search of what may seem like endless potential pet sitter options.
What to look for in a good pet sitter
It’s always a good idea to meet in person before choosing a pet sitter. Will they vibe with your pet?
Here are some qualities to look for in a potential pet sitter:
- Has experience
- Is reliable
- Is patient
- Consistent communication
- Has references
- Knows pet CPR
- Can handle potty accidents or emergencies
Questions to ask a potential cat or dog sitter
- Are they able to watch your pet full-time? How long will they leave the pet alone at home?
- Are they willing to take your pup for a hike or to the dog park?
- What is their past experience with cat or dog sitting?
- Are they covered/do they have liability insurance?
- Can they accommodate your furry friend’s specific needs?
- Are they comfortable with/willing to administer medication? (If applicable.)
Trust your gut
Regardless of great references and a squeaky clean background, if it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. If you or your furry family members just don’t seem to mesh well with the potential sitter or see some potential red flags, move on. There may be nothing awry, but better safe than sorry.