Pets are family, so choosing the right pet sitter is crucial.
Still, the process doesn't have to be a headache. There are a few ways to weed out those who are just looking for a paycheck and those who actually care about your pet.
Here are things to look for.
Other people like the sitter.
A person's reputation is important, particularly when it comes to pet sitters. A good referral is often the easiest way to find a trustworthy sitter, whether it is through word of mouth or through your local vet office.
You may also want to check with associations such as the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters or Pet Sitters International for certified sitters. No matter which method you choose, be sure to request written references.
Your pet likes the sitter.
To find someone trustworthy, it's important that other people like your sitter, but if the arrangement is going to work it's even more important that your pet likes the sitter.
Like people, animals have unique personalities, and it's important that the personalities of your pet and sitter mesh well. Do a trial meeting and watch how they interact. If you like the way the sitter handles your pet's quirks, you'll feel a lot more comfortable leaving them together.
The sitter has the right qualifications and training.
Even the nicest person does little good if they don't know what they're doing, so you will want to make sure that the sitter you choose is qualified and has the training necessary to handle any situation that may arise.
Ask about past experience, the kinds of pets he or she has cared for, and about any special training. This is particularly important if your pet has any special medical or behavioral needs.
The sitter communicates on a level you are comfortable with.
Some pet owners are comfortable leaving and not hearing about their pets until they arrive home, but others want periodic updates. Determine which type you are, and be sure to choose a sitter who is willing to communicate on that level.
Some pet sitters keep a daily log about your pet's activities, and others will even send you photos and text messages throughout the day.
The sitter is bonded and insured.
In case of accidents, you will want to choose a pet sitter that has written proof of commercial liability insurance, and you should choose one that is bonded, to protect against theft.
The sitter provides a contract.
No matter what arrangement you and your sitter come to, make sure they are willing to write it down and provide you with a contract that spells out all their services and fees.
This way you can be sure there are no hidden fees and both parties are on the same page. As with any business interaction, be wary if the sitter is unwilling to provide a contract.
Leaving your beloved pet behind will never be easier, but the search for a pet sitter can be if you follow these simple tips.