Many of us like to take our dogs with us, whether we’re headed to the drive-through for a quick burger or going on a long vacation. However, pets can’t go everywhere, and you don’t want your pup to get depressed if you leave her in a kennel, or stop eating if you board him at the veterinarians’s office.
That’s when you need a pet-sitter. You’ll relax and enjoy yourself a lot more when you know your best friend is in good hands. And to help put your mind at ease, here are tips for finding a great dog sitter in almost any urban area.
Review Dog Sitter Recommendations And Ratings
For vetted recommendations, call the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters, a non-profit organization that champions animal welfare, or Pet Sitters International, an educational association that connects pet owners with certified sitters around the world.
Rover.com, the nation’s largest network of dog sitters and dog walkers, is another way to connect with caretakers in over 10,000 cities. It offers 24/7 support, handles online payments and guarantees your reservation. The sitters will stay in your home, board your dog overnight in their homes, or simply make drop-in visits during the day.
After you get the names of a few potential sitters, it’s time to call their references and check them out. Also, call the prospective sitters directly to get feel for their personalities, experience and knowledge. Ask if they have any training, and find out what they’d do if your dog had an emergency. Also, inquire about a back-up sitter, in case they have car problems or other issues and can’t get to your dog. If possible, invite the sitter to come by for a meet-and-greet, so you can be sure you and your dog feel comfortable with that person.
Provide Clear Dog-Care Directions
Discuss what you want the sitter to do. For example, how many times a day should he or she come, and how long will she stay? If you have a senior pet, or one with special needs, does she know the proper way to give medicines? If your pup likes exercise, will the sitter give walks or play ball? Will he groom your dog, if requested?
You can also use an online check list from the Humane Society of the United States to help you choose the perfect sitter. The list will also remind you about a few things that you might overlook, like whether the sitter has proof of commercial liability insurance, or whether he or she is bonded.
Finally, it’s a good idea to get a written agreement of the services and fees you’ve discussed, at least for the first time you use that sitter. Then when you come home to a happy pup that wants to lick your face, you’ll be happy, too.
Lynn Coulter is owned by two rescue dogs—Molly and Miss Paws—and occasionally blogs at LynnCoulter.com. She’s also the author of three books and a freelancer who writes about travel, gardening and more. She and her husband live in metro Atlanta, where they cheer for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and spend their money on dog biscuits.