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Tips for Finding a Pet Sitter

What are some best practices when your pet is home alone?

Going on vacation and leaving your furry ones behind can be distressing. Finding a reliable pet sitter you trust eases that worry. When a pet sitter comes to your house, your pets are able to stay in familiar surroundings with less disruption to their diet and routine. Also, a pet sitter can provide additional services like picking up your mail and newspaper and watering your plants.

The best way to find a pet sitter is by a recommendation from a friend, neighbor, veterinarian or dog trainer. We found out about our pet sitter through our neighbor, whom I know is very thorough in checking references.

When calling potential pet sitters, ask about their qualifications and services. The Humane Society recommends you find out the following information:

  • Does the pet sitter have commercial liability insurance and is she bonded?
  • What training has the pet sitter completed?
  • Will the pet sitter keep notes about your pet—such as his likes, dislikes, fears, habits, medical conditions, medications, and routines?
  • What will happen if the pet sitter experiences car trouble or becomes ill? Does she have a backup person?
  • How does your pet sitter make sure that you have returned home?
  • Will the pet sitter provide you with references?

It’s important to have the prospective pet sitter come to your home to meet your pets before actually hiring her for the job. Does your pet seem comfortable with this person? Start out first by going away for a weekend and see how things go before leaving for a week’s vacation or longer.

There are a number of things you can do to make caring for your pets easier. Write clear instructions detailing specific pet-care responsibilities and emergency contact information, including how to reach you and your veterinarian. Leave pet food and supplies in one place and buy extra pet supplies in case you're away longer than planned.

And before you hit the road, give your pet sitter information on how you can be contacted.

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