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 pet sitting 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 professionals 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: There are great benefits to hosting a house or pet sitter to look after your pets and home while you’re away. First and foremost, your pet’s routine doesn’t change. Their feeding and exercise schedule can stay the same, and they can remain in the comfort of their own home.
Behaviorists, veterinarians, and dog trainers seem to agree that if you can keep animals at home while you’re away, it’s better for their emotional and physical well-being. On top of that, quality boarding kennels are expensive, whereas international house sitters generally offer their services for free in exchange for accommodation.
Here are some additional benefits:
- No potential exposure to kennel viruses
- No imposing on friends or family
- 24-hour care for your pet
- All your pets, not just the dogs, are cared for
- Home security – human presence is best
- Property maintained, lawns mowed, snow shoveled, mail collected, etc.
- Immediate response to home issues like storm damage
- Veterinarian, grooming, or specialty appointments can be maintained
- More attention from humans/ opportunity for play
- Training can be reinforced (particularly useful for younger dogs)
Q: Can I trust a stranger with my home and pets?
A: Yes, you can. 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 house sitters to look after their homes and pets without a glitch. All the reputable house sitting websites insist on ID checks and member verification. Every sitter you interview should have references that you can check, and most have a strong online presence.
Q: How do I know they can handle my dog?
A: Many home and pet 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.
Dog owners who are considering a pet sitter should be honest about the dog’s behavior, temperament, and health. This helps you find the right sitter for your dog, and protects them both from preventable incidents.
In a nutshell, communication is the key to a successful and rewarding experience.
Q: What if something goes wrong?
A: There’s no telling when a pet may become sick or injured and sometimes it happens during the pet sit. When you engage a pet sitter, your veterinarian should be included in your plan. A pet medical release should be signed with copies for the sitter, yourself, and the vet’s office. Additionally, owners should establish an account with the vet or invest in pet insurance to cover expenses for any treatment while they’re away.
Q: Is there anything else I should know before I leave?
A: Dog owners should be certain that the dog(s) have enough food, medication and treats to last beyond their expected return date.
When you engage a pet sitter, have them arrive at your home one or two days before your departure. This lets you build a better connection, and gives you a chance to see how the sitter handles your pet. Show the sitter your feeding ritual, teach them your commands and show them where you walk your dog. If possible, show him or her 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 them the phone number of a local friend or family member who 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!