How to Choose the Right Dog Sitter

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Find the perfect dog sitter with these tips!

Doggy daycare works well for many pet parents, but it’s not a viable option for all dog owners. For these folks, hiring a professional pet sitter who comes and stays in their home might be a better option. It keeps their dog in a familiar environment and avoids the risk of exposing them to multiple doggy daycare employees as well as a revolving door of dogs. In this article, we’ll give you tips for finding a great pet sitter as well as the pertinent information you’ll need to provide them with to make sure your pup is well cared for. 

Finding a Dog Sitter

There are many places you can look to find a reputable pet sitter. Some people feel comfortable using a neighbor or friend to watch their dog. There’s no harm in this choice, but make sure, through referrals and an interview, that the person can offer the same level of care as someone who pet sits for a living. It’s also a good idea to hire a sitter that is bonded and insured. Hiring a bonded and insured sitter can protect you from damages or liability that may occur while a pet sitter is watching your pet. Lastly, Rover.com and similar websites provide a list of nearby pet sitters with reviews of their performance from fellow dog owners.   

What to Look for in a Pet Sitter

The number of qualified pet sitters who can care for your dog can be overwhelming. By following these tips, you’ll be able to drill down until you find the right person for your situation.   

  • Carefully read online reviews for pet sitters when available. On Rover.com, look for reviews that are marked “Verified Stay,” as anyone can have a friend write a glowing review for them. If you cannot access reviews, ask the person for professional references.
  • Set up a meet and greet to see how the pet sitter connects with your pet, and to gauge the level of confidence the person gives you. If you have a senior dog or a high-strung dog, is the person qualified to handle the situation? If you have a long-haired dog, are they up for brushing her?  
  • Make sure the person is open to the level of communication you desire when you’re gone. If requested, are they open to giving you daily updates on your pet and sending photos or videos?   
  • Is the pet sitter receptive to meeting close neighbors who keep an eye on my house and are available should an emergency arise?  
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What Information to Provide to a New Dog Sitter

Whoever you choose to pet sit your dog, make sure to provide them with the following:  

  • Your pet’s history, habits, and any behavioral issues.  
  • A list of immunizations, vaccines, and any recent medical conditions and medications.    
  • Your pet’s daily routine, including eating, sleeping, walks and playing.  
  • Emergency contact information, including your veterinarian’s information, your preferred emergency hospital, as well as where you will be staying if you’re going on vacation.  
  • Collar with identification tags to be worn by the pet while away.
  • A list of any rooms that are off-limits to the pet.  

Dropping off Your Pet vs. Letting Your Dog Sitter Come Over

Some pet parents might have a pet sitter stay at their home to keep an eye on things as well their pet. Others may be more comfortable bringing their pet to the pet sitter’s home. There is no one size fits all but rather choosing to have someone to stay at your home versus bringing your pet to the sitter depends on what you are comfortable with. If you opt to bring your pet to a sitter, similar to looking for a doggy daycare, watch carefully how the person interacts with your pet and how your pet responds to the person. Make sure to look the spaces your pet will spend time in and look for: 

  • Are they large enough for your pet? 
  • Are they free from hazardous items or things your pet could be harmed by?
  • Is it clean? 

And as always, ask questions! This will help to ensure the pet sitter is a good match for your pet and you! 

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Finding a good pet sitter can make the difference between worrying about your four-legged friend throughout the duration of a trip or enjoying the experience and your vacation. With a range of ways to find pet sitters these days, asking some simple questions to find the best fit can ensure your pet is well taken care of while you’re away. Lastly, help take the worry out of unexpected vet bills by getting a quote for pet insurance.

Protect your loved ones with Pet Insurance!