Hiring a pet sitter can be intimidating, especially if it’s your first time. The following answers to three common questions will make you feel better about the process, so you can rest easy while you’re away.
What seems too good to be true, generally is – but hiring a pet sitter isn’t one of those instances. The trust and sharing economy has created amazing opportunities for homeowners and pet parents alike, connecting them with thousands of professional interested in exchanging their services for accommodation.
These house and pet sitters share information about themselves on online platforms where potential hosts can select them based on their needs and preferences. Such exchanges present win-win opportunities – the sitters get the opportunity to live like locals, while pet parents get fantastic support for their pets and property.
All that said, there’s no denying that inviting a stranger into your home can be nerve-wracking, especially when your beloved pets are involved. To help you warm up to the idea, give the following questions and answers a read.
Q: What are the benefits?
A: First and foremost, your dog’s routine doesn’t have to change. His feeding and exercise schedules can stay the same, and he can remain in the comfort of his own home. While this is also often the case with having family, friends or neighbors look after your dog, it might not always work out if they have jobs or family obligations that conflict with his routine. This means his meals might happen at different times than he’s used to, or his walks might be shorter or not happen at all on some days. A pet sitter – whether live-in or not — looks after animals for a living so is better positioned to put your dog’s needs first.
Here are some additional benefits to hiring a live-in pet sitter:
- You don’t have to impose on friends or family
- Your dog receives 24-hour care
- You’ll have better home security – a human presence is one of the best ways to discourage potential thieves
- The sitter can respond immediately to any problems such as storm damage or breakdowns in the home
- He or she can maintain veterinary, grooming or specialty appointments for your dog.
- Your dog gets the attention and companionship he needs, along with opportunities for play and interaction
- The sitter can keep up with your dog’s training (this is particularly useful for younger dogs who are still learning)
- Last but far from least, your dog will be happier and less stressed; most animal behaviorists, veterinarians and dog trainers agree that if you can keep your animal at home while you’re away, it’s better for his emotional and physical well-being — and if there’s someone living there with him, it’s even better!
Q: Can I trust a stranger with my home and pets?
A: It’s normal to have concerns about letting a stranger into your home, but don’t worry! Thousands of people around the world use verified live-in pet sitters to look after their dogs, without a glitch. All reputable pet sitting websites insist on ID checks and member verification. Every sitter you interview should have references you can check. Most have a strong online presence as well. It’s important to do your homework, of course, but you shouldn’t have any trouble finding the right sitter for you, whether live-in or otherwise.
Q: How do I know they can handle my dog?
A: Many pet and house sitters are experienced dog handlers, while others are professional trainers and behaviorists. Regardless of their background, the more information you provide to a potential sitter, the better prepared they’ll be to handle your dog.
On your side, do be honest about your dog’s behavior, temperament and health. This protects the sitter and your dog from preventable incidents and helps you find the right live-in sitter for him.
In a nutshell, communication is key to a successful and rewarding experience for all concerned.
Q: What if something goes wrong?
A: There’s no telling when or if a dog may become sick or injured, and it could happen when the pet sitter is there. When you engage any pet sitter, your veterinarian should be included in your plan. A medical release should be signed with copies for the sitter, yourself and the vet’s office. Additionally, you should establish an account with your vet to cover expenses for any treatment while you’re away.
If you’re looking for a pet sitter of any kind, there are lots of resources online. As with anything else, do some research and ask further questions to find just the right live-in sitter for you and your dog. That way, you can go on holiday worry-free, knowing that your best friend is in good hands back home!
Q: Is there anything else I should know before I leave?
A: Be certain your dog will have enough food, medication and treats to last beyond your expected return date. If you’re traveling during the holidays and the weather turns bad, you may be delayed.
Have the sitter arrive at your home one or two days before your departure. This lets you build a better connection with her, and gives you a chance to see how she handles your dog. Show her your dog’s feeding ritual (including any supplements or medications he needs), teach her the commands she needs to know for your dog, and where to walk him. If possible, show the sitter several places to walk and exercise your dog.
Of course, be sure to leave your contact information so the sitter can reach out while you’re away. You can also give her the phone number of a local friend or family member they can contact in case of an emergency.
Hiring a pet sitter can be a rewarding experience for all parties. The key is to educate yourself on the process, and do your part to make sure everything goes smoothly when you’re gone. That way, you can enjoy your vacation and trust that your pet is in good hands!