Thursday, December 8, 2016

10 Tips for Hiring and Using a Pet Sitter

For those who prefer to leave their pet in the comfort of home when they travel, rather than boarding him at a kennel or vet’s office, hiring a pet sitter can be a good option. Here are 10 tips for hiring and using a pet sitter.

1. Take a serious approach to hiring a pet sitter. After all, this individual is going to have access to your home and to your pet, so it is critical to find a reliable professional. Ask friends, neighbors, your veterinarian and others you rely on for pet services (such as your pet groomer and pet trainer) for recommendations of reputable pet sitters. You could also contact the National Association of Pet Sitters (NAPPS), a member organization for full-time and part-time pet sitters, to get the names of NAPPS members in your area. NAPPS promotes pet sitters’ professional integrity through a Pledge of Professional Conduct and enhances professional development of pet sitters through a variety of resources, including an annual conference and publications. For more information about NAPPS, check out their website at

2. Be well prepared when you interview pet sitters. Have a set of questions to go over covering topics such as experience, training, credentials, services, and fees. During the interview, introduce the pet sitter to your pet and observe how she interacts with him. Describe your pet’s routines and schedules; his ailments or medical problems, if any; and any medications that the pet sitter will have to administer. If you want a pet sitter to provide any additional services, like taking in mail and newspapers or watering plants, mention that during the interview. Also, request proof of bonding, to cover theft by the pet sitter and her employees, proof of liability insurance, to cover accidents or negligence, and reference (and be sure to take the time to check them out).

3. Pay attention to your instincts when choosing a pet sitter. If you are uncomfortable with an individual in any way or if your pet seems uncomfortable with her, keep looking.

4. Once you have chosen a pet sitter, ask for a contract specifying the services to be provided and fees.

5. If possible, use the pet sitter first for a short trip, perhaps a weekend getaway, before hiring her to care for your pet for a longer period.

6. When you leave your pet with a pet sitter, be sure that your pet’s vaccinations are up to date and leave proof of vaccination with the pet sitter. Also, leave a written list of contact information for you while you are away, local emergency contact numbers (for a friend or a family member), the name and telephone number of your veterinarian, and the names and numbers of contractors, such as plumbers, electricians and yard care companies, that you use. Also, provide information about your return, including exactly when you expect to arrive home and, if you are flying, your flight number and landing time. If your plans change, notify the pet sitter immediately. Take the pet sitter’s contact information with you, and let the pet sitter know if anyone else, such as a family member or house cleaner, will be visiting your home while you are gone and be sure that anyone who will be entering your home knows about the pet sitter.

7. Even though you will have gone over this information with the pet sitter orally, write down pet care details such as what your pet eats and when, how your pet should be exercised, your pet’s ailments or medical problems, if any; how and when to administer any medications; your pet’s fears; your pet’s favorite toys and games; and your pet’s favorite hiding places. Go over your home’s safety features, such as its security system and circuit breakers, with the pet sitter.

8. Buy more than enough pet food and other supplies for the time you expect to be gone and put these items in one place. Put cleaning supplies in the same place, in case your pet has an accident while you are gone like missing the litter box or turning over the ficus plant on your favorite rug.

9. Put an identification tag with name, address and telephone number on your pet in case he gets out of the house while you are gone.

10. Leave an extra key to your home with a neighbor or family member and give him the pet sitter’s telephone number; likewise, give the neighbor or family member’s telephone number to the pet sitter. Be sure all keys to your home work, especially if you have had any duplicated prior to your trip.

Sources:, Choosing a Pet Sitter/the Humane Society of the United States, National Association of Professional Pet Sitters, Choosing a Pet Sitter/the Humane Society of the United States, National Association of Professional Pet Sitters, Prepare your home and your pet for your pet sitter

Labels: 10 Tips for Hiring and Using a Pet Sitter

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