Dogs | May 15, 2017

A Guide to Hiring a Pet Sitter

Catherine Mazurenko
By: Catherine Mazurenko
PetSitter

In a perfect world, you would be able to take your dog with you everywhere you go but, unfortunately, that is not always practical. When you can’t physically be with your dog, you want to know that someone is taking care of him and that he is as happy as possible without you by his side. If you end up hiring a pet sitter, follow the tips below to make sure he is happy and well cared for.

Why Hire a Pet Sitter?

If you have to leave town for a few days and you can’t take your dog, you have a few options to choose from; one is to board your dog in a kennel, and another is to leave him with a family member or friend. When neither of these is an option, you still have one choice available to you – hiring a pet sitter. A pet sitter is someone who is qualified to care for your dog and who will watch him right in your own home. The benefit of pet sitting versus boarding is that your dog gets to stay comfortable in the environment that is most familiar to him. It also means that he won’t have to suffer a change in his regular diet or routine and he’ll get more personalized attention than he would at a kennel.

Ask These Questions to Vet a Pet Sitter

Before you hire a pet sitter, you want to vet him thoroughly to ensure that he will be able to give your dog the level of care you want for him. The best place to look for a pet sitter is to ask for a recommendation from friends, neighbours, or even your veterinarian. If this doesn’t yield any results, check the Yellow Pages or try an online classifieds board. Once you’ve found a few different options, you’ll want to meet each pet sitter and ask a few questions to determine his experience and qualifications before trusting him with your dog. Here are some questions to ask:

  • What kind of experience do you have in pet sitting?
  • Have you received any formal training or certifications?
  • What kind of in-home services do you provide?
  • Do you have commercial liability insurance and are you bonded?
  • What will you do if you become ill and can’t complete the job?
  • How often do you communicate with your clients during each job?
  • Will you keep notes on my pet during my absence?
  • Do you have an emergency veterinarian you can contact if needed?
  • Are you qualified to administer medications and other medical treatments?
  • Do you have any references and can I contact them?

The answers each pet sitter gives to these questions should help you determine whether or not you want to trust him with your dog. Choose the pet sitter who seems most qualified for the job and make sure to check his references before hiring.

Keeping Your Dog Safe and Happy with a Pet Sitter

Once you’ve found the right pet sitter for your dog, there are a few things you should do to ensure that your dog gets the best care possible. The most important thing is to give your pet sitter as much information about your dog and about his individual needs as you can – the more he knows, the better he will be able to care for your dog. This means that you’ll want to provide him with your dog’s complete medical history as well as any special instructions for feeding and other aspects of his care.

Make sure your pet sitter knows what kind of toys and treats your dog likes best and that he knows your daily routine so he can follow it as closely as possible. It is also a good idea to leave emergency contact information for yourself as well as a trusted neighbour or friend, in case you can’t be reached. When it comes time to leave your dog, keep a few items out of the laundry that carry your scent – a dirty t-shirt or a pair of socks may help your dog to feel like you are near even if you can’t actually be there with him. And don’t forget to give him a big hug before you go!

Leaving your dog behind is never easy but if you find a well-qualified pet sitter who will care for your dog right in your own home, you can leave knowing that your dog is in good hands, even if they aren’t your own.