Does this sound familiar? You’re going out of town, don’t have any friends who can dog sit and don’t want to leave your canine child at a kennel. What should you do? One option is to hire a dog sitter.
Whether you’re hiring a dog-loving teenager or a professional sitter, there are a few advantages to using one:
Your dog gets to stay at home instead of moving to a friend’s home or an unfamiliar environment.
Fido can keep his normal daily routine.
An experienced dog sitter can watch for signs of health problems or other issues.
Your dog will get personal attention and it’ll be convenient for you.
Where to find a dog sitter
Your first step is to look for referrals. Ask pet-owning friends, your vet, your local animal hospital and pet owners you’ve met at the dog park. If your search doesn’t provide any leads, turn to online resources. A few associations for pet sitters list their members online. Here are a few sites listing pet sitters by city:
How to screen a dog sitter
When speaking with a dog sitter, consider these questions…
- Has the sitter clearly spelled out their services including the fees involved?
- Does the sitter have experience caring for dogs?
- Is there a fee for the first meeting with you and your dog at your home? (Some sitters charge a small fee for travel expenses.)
- At the meeting, how does the sitter react to your dog? Does your dog seem comfortable with the sitter?
- Does the sitter seem to genuinely care about dogs?
- Does the sitter ask a lot of questions about your dog, including his health, diet, exercise, temperament, vet, etc.?
- How will the sitter handle an emergency if they can’t reach you by phone? Are they familiar with the local animal hospitals if your veterinarian’s office is closed?
- Is there a backup plan for bad weather or for a personal emergency that prevents the sitter from reaching your home?
- How much time will the sitter spend with your dog during each visit?
- Will the sitter visit your dog alone or with other pets, children or friends?
- If the sitter is part of a business, is it covered by insurance or bonding?
- Are client references available?
Only you can decide if the arrangement is right for you and your dog, but these tips can help you find a good sitter so you can take that vacation with ease!