Summer is in full swing, and for many folks that means that it’s time for a summer vacation! For those of us who are pet owners, that may also mean that you need to make some arrangements for your beloved buddy.
But wait. Before you call up your sister for a favor, or knock on your neighbor’s door, or think about boarding your buddy, consider doing what thousands of others are doing: hiring a professional Pet Sitter. After all, your canine companion and furry feline friend are part of the family. That being the case, it only makes sense to want to take the very best care of them possible, especially when you are away on a cruise ship, lounging on some tropical island, or sightseeing at the Grand Canyon!
Why should you opt for a professional you ask? Great question. There are many benefits to having a pet sitter instead of a friend, neighbor, relative, or boarding facility. First and foremost, they get to stay in their own home. Boarding is almost certain to make an already tough situation for your pal even more stressful, due to your pet being out of their element and surrounded by other pets that are in the same situation. That is to say, away from home, missing their hoomans, and stressed out! Staying at home means a familiar environment, which means sticking to their regular routine, which translates to less stress and a happy puppy. It’s a win-win!
Now that you’ve decided to hire a pet sitter, there’s a few things you need to do.
- Check references.
This probably goes without saying, but checking references should probably be your very first step. Ask for at least three, do your due diligence and follow up.
- Make sure the company is insured.
Picking a pet sitter that is insured means you are protected against loss or theft by a company’s employees or contractors, and gives you peace of mind that the company is professional and reliable.
- Meet with the sitter first.
Invite the potential pet sitter to your home prior to going out of town. You’ll want to meet them of course, but even more importantly, you’ll want your pet(s) to meet them as well. Pay attention to how the sitter interacts with your pet, and to how your pet responds to the sitter. You may even want to have the sitter take your dog for a walk. This will help them get used to each other, which will help things go much more smoothly once you are out of town. It’s also a great time to discuss the needs of your pet, including walk times, feeding times, etc.
- Make a folder.
Create a folder, basket, backpack, or some other kind of centralized location for important information and other items. This is where you should put things like emergency contact information for yourself or some other designated person, contact information for your veterinarian and/or the local emergency vet for after-hours issues. You can also keep medicines or supplements, along with a written schedule, treats, favorite toys, etc. here.
- Gather info from the sitter.
Make sure the sitter can be contacted round the clock via telephone, text, or email. In addition, almost all pet sitters will send you photos, messages, or both whenever you request so you can check in and see how your baby is doing.
- Discuss a “Plan B”.
Don’t assume that everything will take care of itself. Ask what happens if there is an emergency that keeps your sitter from performing according to the set schedule. Things happen every day, and your pet sitter is not immune to having emergencies. Find out what their Plan B is in the event something does happen.
The popularity of pet sitters today means you will probably find many options to choose from, so how do you go about choosing just the right one? For starters, you could look within your personal circle. Check with friends, family or even coworkers to see if they have had a good experience and can recommend one. If that doesn’t turn up any results, you could visit the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters. They are a national nonprofit for pet sitting businesses, and they even offer a pet sitter locator based on your zip code. No matter how you choose one, make sure to give yourself plenty of time to follow the above suggestions. You’ll be wagging your tail if you do!
These suggestions have been brought to you by Syd’s Pet Sitting, one of the premiere pet sitters in the Phoenix, Scottsdale, Carefree and nearby areas. With more than 5 years professional pet sitting experience, vet tech experience, whelping experience, (and even a pet taxi service!), they are reliable, affordable, and passionate about pets. They also have a dogpile of highly satisfied pet parents who come back again and again. Click the link above, or give them a call today at (602) 818-7771.