Leaving our beloved pets behind when we travel can be difficult. But knowing that your pet is receiving quality care from a trustworthy and compassionate pet sitter can help give you peace of mind while you’re away.

Professional Pet Sitters Week

The first week of March is Professional Pet Sitters Week. This annual observance honors professional pet-care providers and encourages people to explore professional pet sitting as a career.

It also helps promote awareness about the advantages of professional in-home pet care, and there are so many! One of the biggest advantages of in-home pet care is that your pet can stay in a familiar environment, plus your pet receives plenty of one-on-one attention. Who wouldn’t want that?!

9 Tips for Finding the Right Pet Sitter

Hiring someone you trust to come into your home can be time-consuming and challenging. Remember that this is a process. As a pet owner, you have the responsibility of hiring a professional pet-care provider who will take good care of your pet and home.

  1. Ask around. One way to find a knowledgeable pet sitter is to ask for recommendations from people you trust. Check with your friends or family, veterinarian, or pet groomer.
  2. Use a professional pet sitter service. You can also use a professional service that trains, certifies, and provides listings for pet sitters. Not sure where to start? The PSI website offers a free online directory of professional pet sitters. Simply enter your ZIP/postal code to start searching!
  3. Visit the sitter’s website. If a potential pet sitter has a website, be sure to check it out. You might be able to find information about their rates and services, as well as customer testimonials.
  4. Ask for references. The pet sitter should be able to provide you with a list of references that you can contact. These references should be able to verify that the pet sitter is a trustworthy professional.
  5. Check if they are insured and licensed. PSI says that professional pet sitters should maintain commercial liability insurance and bonding, as well as have any necessary business licenses or permits. Don’t be afraid to ask for proof of insurance coverage to ensure that accidents in your home are covered.
  6. Get to know the potential sitter with an interview. You can ask interview questions over the phone or in person, whatever you prefer. Be sure to have a list of interview questions ready. The PSI website offers a checklist of pertinent information and questions to help in the pet-sitter interview process.

Here are a few questions you should ask during the interview to help ensure the sitter is knowledgeable and experienced:

  • What kind of experience do you have?
  • Do you have any experience with my pet’s breed?
  • What services do you provide?
  • Have you completed any training (like pet first aid)?
  • What would you do in the event of a medical emergency?
  1. Meet the sitter before hiring them. Have the pet sitter come into your home. This will give you a chance to get to know the potential sitter a little better and see if they are comfortable around your pet.
  2. Check their criminal history. Since a potential pet sitter is responsible for caring for your beloved pet and has access to your home, ensuring they have a clean criminal history is important.
  3. Review their services agreement or contract. Having a contract ensures that both of you agree on and understand the fees, payment terms, and the services being provided. Make sure that the contract includes:
  4. A list of services that the pet sitter will provide – Some sitters will walk your dog and do small household chores like getting your mail. Make sure you understand all of the services that your sitter will provide.
  5. Number of visits – You’ll want to know the expected amount of time that the sitter will be spending with your pet. How many visits will the sitter make each day?
  6. The fees and payment terms – Payment terms and fees will vary, and some sitters may charge more for holidays and extra services.

Hiring a trustworthy and compassionate pet sitter can be an overwhelming process, but following these tips will help make the process a little easier and smoother!