How to choose a Pet Sitter
Q. What is a pet sitter?
A. Pet sitters are contracted service providers who take care of pets in their own home. PAWS provides a variety of pet-related services, including midday visits for dogs (walks or potty breaks) during long workdays, sequences of visits when you go out of town, pet taxi, vet chaperone, and post-operative care.
Q. Why is in-home care with a pet sitter better than boarding my pet?
A. Dogs and cats may have a good time socializing with other pets, but they appreciate the comfort of their own home. In-home pet care has key benefits over doggie day cares or boarding facilities:
- Pets are happier and experience less stress at home - no separation anxiety and familiar sights, sounds, and smells provide comfort to your pet
- Diet and exercise routines are uninterrupted
- Travel trauma for both owner and pet is eliminated
- Pet’s exposure to illness or injury is minimized
Q. Why is it better to use a professional pet sitter rather than a friend, family member or neighbor?
A. Using a professional pet sitter like PAWS means you won’t have to ask untrained or reluctant friends, family or neighbors to care for your furry family members. There is also peace of mind in using a professional that cannot be overlooked – no more worrying about whether your neighbor forgot or is “too busy” to get to your house at the requested time. Additionally, professional pet sitters like PAWS are insured, bonded, and have first aid training that others do not.
Q. Do I meet the sitter before my service starts?
A. Yes, for most professional pet sitters an initial consultation is required before your first service can be scheduled. This consultation will give both sides the opportunity to meet each other (and the pets), learn the details of your pet’s care and other required tasks, and to collect a key. A consultation meeting is offered free of charge by PAWS. It is a good idea to call far enough in advance to schedule your consultation before the date that you need pet sitting services to begin.
Q. How long do visits last?
A. Standard pet care visits for PAWS are scheduled for a minimum of either 20 or 30 minutes, but will last as long as they need to complete the care required for each pet (i.e. no maximum time limit).
Q. Is it safe to allow a stranger to come into my home?
A. For people hiring a pet sitter for the first time it can be nerve-wracking to have someone come into your home while you’re not there. Here are some tips to help you find a reliable and trustworthy pet sitter that would like to build a trusting relationship with you and your furry family members:
- The pet sitter should be insured for liability, including care, custody, and control of the pet.
- The sitter should be able to provide contact information for references upon request. Do contact the references!
- Be sure that the sitter provides you with a copy of the legal terms of your service agreement, including cancellation policy, payment, scheduling, etc.
- Be sure that you fully understand the pricing of your service. Ask what services are included with the quoted rate.
Other factors to consider:
- What kind of pet education, background, or certification(s) does the sitter have?
- Did the sitter ask questions during the consultation, and did they take notes? Will they remember which drawer you put the treats in or where the plastic bags are for disposing the kitty litter?
- Does the sitter seem informed about the pet care industry in general? Is the sitter a member of professional pet sitting organizations (e.g. PSI, NAPPS), animal rescue organizations or shelters?
- Does the sitter have a backup plan in case of a personal emergency or injury?
- Is the sitter full time, or do they have limited availability due to another job or school?
- Does the sitter have the proper licensing for their area - in some areas a business license or kennel license for boarding may be required.
Questions to ask the sitter:
- Does the sitter bring anyone with them to the visits?
- Does the sitter ever bring children to visits?
- How often will the sitter leave a note for you logging how the trip is going?
- Do the sitter's available time periods fit your pet needs?
- How will your key be stored or returned?
- Has the sitter cared for your type of pet in the past?
- What payment methods does the sitter accept and when is payment due?