10 Tips for Picking a Pet Sitter to Stay at Your Home

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The benefit of sharing my home with two dogs and two cats is that I get to enjoy the antics of this “furry fab four.” But when I’m traveling and can’t take my pets with me, I have to figure out who is going to take care of my pets while I’m away. Personally, I prefer to hire a professional pet sitter who comes and stays at my house. This way, my pets get to remain in their own home.

Factors to consider when hiring a pet sitter that’ll stay at your home.

When I’m picking a pet sitter I’ve learned to be, well, picky. Just because someone tells you that they love pets, doesn’t make them skilled in dealing with companion animal issues. Facing a lot of trips this year, I knew I could not afford to have just any person stay at my house and care for my pets.

I contacted two national organizations: Pet Sitters International and National Association of Professional Pet Sitters. Both referred me to local pet sitting companies who belonged to one – or both – of these organizations. The information on the websites of these local companies provided me with their fee schedules and pet policies.

In picking a pet sitter – and hiring that person for future trips, I suggest considering the following:

  1. Punctuality of the prospective pet sitter for the initial face-to-face meeting with me and my pets.
  2. Availability of the pet sitter for future trips to provide continuity for my pets.
  3. Comments from others who had hired the pet sitter in the past.
  4. Knowledge of cat and dog behavior.
  5. Acceptance that my pets are not perfect. My dog, Chipper is afraid of skateboards and will turn into a 60-pound puddle at the sight of one on a walk.
  6. Willingness to provide daily walks for my dogs and daily brushings for my cats.
  7. Receptiveness to meet close neighbors who keep an eye on my house and are available should an emergency arise.
  8. Accessibility by phone or email to provide me with daily updates on my pets.
  9. The body language of my pets when they were around the pet sitter. The pet sitter I use brings out pure joy and goofiness in my dogs and dignified acceptance from my cats.
  10. I prefer to use a professional who is licensed and bonded.
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The next time you face a business trip or a long-awaited vacation, be sure to plan ahead and make arrangements for your pets to receive the best possible care.

By Arden Moore, a certified dog and cat behaviorist, author, radio host, and writer for Pets Best, a U.S. pet health insurance agency since 2005. You can learn more about Pets Best and pet health insurance at PetsBest.com.

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