Tips for Hiring a Pet Sitter


There are times in your life when you just cannot bring your pet with you. If you are going on a trip, you cannot physically care for your pet. This can be a very stressful situation as your pet is a very important part of your life and deserves the best. During the times that you cannot be there, it’s important to have someone care for your pet that you can trust. Knowing your pet is happy and well cared for is important for your peace of mind. Hiring a pet sitter can make all the difference; however, knowing what to look for in a pet sitter is just as important.

1. Qualifications

When interviewing a potential pet sitter, there are several questions you should ask. For instance, you should ask how long the person has been a pet sitter and the types of pets he or she has provided care for. Most sitters will have a lot of hands-on experience with the types of pet they specialize in providing care for.

Although a pet sitter is not required to have completed any specific training, many will have worked as a veterinary assistant or veterinary technician. In terms of basic training, you should be sure to choose a pet sitter that has knowledge of basic animal first aid and CPR.

If your pet has any behavioral issues, you should discuss them with your potential sitter to determine if he has experience with your pet’s special needs. It is extremely important that your pet sitter is comfortable dealing with any issues while you are not at home to ensure your pet is safe and well cared for.

2. Services

Different pet sitters will provide different services, and the accompanying fees can vary. As such, it is important to discuss exactly what will be provided. Such discussions will decrease the chance for misunderstandings that might result in a lower level of care for your pet or a fee you were not expecting.

For instance, you should agree on the number of visits per day, the time of day for each visit, as well as the length of stay during each visit. Additionally, some sitters provide grooming and walking services while others clean up accidents and will even do ancillary tasks, such as watering plants for clients who are out of town. You should also ask if he or she will bring your pet to the veterinarian if needed.

3. References

As with any job interview, you should ask for references. If a pet sitter cannot produce references regarding prior jobs, you should pass on him or her and continue interviewing other applicants.

At least three references from prior clients is a good number. You should contact each reference as this will provide you with additional information to help you determine if the pet sitter is a good fit for you and your pet. If your potential pet sitter has completed any training, you should ask for proof of the completed training.

4. Insurance

Unfortunately, accidents do happen, so it is important that you determine if your pet sitter is insured. Your pet sitter should provide you with written proof of his or her commercial liability insurance. Liability insurance covers both you and your pet sitter if an accident or loss occurs.

Additionally, your potential pet sitter should be bonded. Bonding can help you to recoup costs in the unfortunate event that anything is stolen. As with insurance, you should make sure to ask for written proof.

5. Communication

Staying in contact with your pet sitter while he/she cares for your pet is extremely important for your peace of mind. You should agree upon exactly how you will communicate. Many pet sitters record daily notes regarding the eating habits, moods, and activities of your pet. Some will provide you with photos via texts as well as send you detailed texts updates each day.

Whichever method you choose, you should be sure that it meets your needs as leaving your pet in the care of a stranger can be a very stressful experience. You should also be able to check in whenever you want, during the specified times that he or she is working for you, to receive updates. If a potential pet sitter does not agree to this, you should pass on him or her.

6. Contract

Services and the accompanying costs will vary across pet sitters due to different levels of experience and the number of services offered. The average cost for sitting services in the US ranges between $15 to $20 per 30 minutes of sitting. As this is an average, fees will vary, sometimes considerably.

Because each sitter’s service and fees differ it is important to utilize a contract that specifies exactly what services are provided, when they are provided, and the fees for each. A contract will also detail your responsibilities. Because a contract is legally binding, it can help to resolve any issues or misunderstandings that may arise.

If your pet sitter does not have a contract, you should consider designing your own. Finally, you should carefully read through the contract before signing it to ensure all of the terms are agreeable.

7. Backup plan

Problems and emergencies occur. They are unplanned and are usually unpredictable. That said, it is important to ask if your potential pet sitter has a backup plan in the event that something comes up that prevents him or her from providing your pet the care it needs.

While it is understandable that things happen that are not under your pet sitter’s control, it is absolutely not okay to not have a plan that ensures your pet will continue to receive the quality of care he or she deserves.

8. Your pet

Perhaps one of the most important steps in hiring a pet sitter is to ensure your pet is comfortable with your choice. For instance, if your pet is nervous around strangers this could pose a potential problem or even a dangerous situation for your pet and the person caring for your pet.

To establish whether or not the pet sitter is a good fit, you should have your pet meet the sitter beforehand. They can go on a walk or play in the backyard. During this time, it is important to note that both your pet and the sitter are comfortable with each other. If your pet is aggressive or overly nervous, you should not hire the sitter, and you should also reconsider whether a pet sitter is the best choice for your pet.

9. Your needs

In addition to ensuring your pet is comfortable with the sitter, you should make sure that the sitter can work the schedule that fits your needs. If your schedule varies a lot, it may take some time to find the right sitter. However, it is important to find a sitter that fits your needs because you will need to rest assured that you pet is taken care of when you are not there.


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