As a pet owner, it is not always possible to take your furry friend with you on vacation. In these situations, finding the right pet sitter is of paramount importance. Your pet's well-being is at stake, and you want to ensure they are in competent and compassionate hands. But this is usually easier said than done. Here are some tips and advice to help you with your search.
Research pet sitters near you
Research pet sitters to find professionals with experience caring for pets. Seek information on online review sites, pet sitter websites, directories, or even your local animal shelter. Read reviews, ratings, and testimonials regarding pet sitters' previous work. Look for sitters who work with pets with similar needs to yours, whether yours require medication, special handling, or specific training.
Ask friends or family for recommendations
Personal recommendations are invaluable, so it's essential to ask for recommendations from friends and family. Please find out their experience, how the pet sitter related to their pets, what worked well, and what the pet sitter could improve. The more people you talk to, the better your chances of finding a great pet sitter.
Contact potential sitters
Once you have a list of potential pet sitters, contact them to ensure they are a good fit for your pet. Ask about experience, availability, rates, and services. Inquire about their approach to caring for pets, their daily routine, and what measures they take in emergencies. If you like what you hear, you can then arrange a meet-and-greet session.
Schedule a meet-and-greet
A meet-and-greet is an essential step in finding the right pet sitter. It would be best to observe how the pet sitter interacts with your pet and how your furry friend responds to their presence. Let the sitter see your pet's daily routine, including where the food, toys, and bedding are stored. Share any rules or expectations regarding outdoor/indoor activities, medication, training, etc.
Ensure you have enough pet supplies
Make sure you have enough pet supplies for your pet during the length of your vacation. Ask the pet sitter if they need additional supplies, such as food, toys, medication, or cleaning products. Buy in bulk well before your departure so that you get all the supplies while you are away. To be safe, purchase a high-quality dog muzzle. When purchasing a muzzle, consider its size, durability, and fit.
Establish clear expectations and guidelines
Be clear with your pet sitter about your expectations and guidelines for caring for your pet. These may include feeding schedules, walking programs, routines for administering medication, cleaning, and preferred communication mode. Ensure you provide the sitter with clear and concise information on these matters.
Provide emergency info
When hiring a pet sitter, it is essential to provide them with emergency information about your pet, including your veterinarian's contact details, any allergies or medical conditions, immunization records, behavioral characteristics, and past medical issues. Clear instructions on what to do during emergencies should also be given to the pet sitter to ensure timely and appropriate care for your pet.
Keep your vet informed
Put a letter on file with your Vet's office authorizing treatment on your pup if needed - regardless of who brings your pet in. The Vet should also have your credit card on file. If an emergency arises, you'll want the security of knowing that they won't delay medical services as they try to reach you for authorization. It is especially true if you travel off the grid or in different time zones.
Be mindful of your stress levels
Finally, try to be mindful of your stress levels and don't let them rub off on your pet. Pets are intuitive and can easily pick up on their owner's behavior. If you're relaxed, your pet is more likely to be calm. The easiest way to do that is by feeling confident in your pet-sitting choice.
It's essential to find a trustworthy and compassionate pet sitter for your pet's well-being while you're away. Research and contact potential sitters, schedule a meet-and-greet and check references. Other important aspects include having enough pet and emergency supplies and managing your stress levels to prevent stress from affecting your pet. These tips can help pet owners find the perfect pet sitter for their furry friend.
Contributed by Cindy Aldridge at Our Dog Friends Org