Guide to Choosing a Pet Sitter for Your Puppy
Far from just making sure your pet is adequately fed and watered in your absence, a good pet sitter should be a foster parent to your pet. They should provide quality time, exercise and all the home comforts your pet is used to.
Of course, the more you are willing to spend, the more comfort and attention your pet will get. In-home services typically also offer services such as watering plants and general house-care in your absence. Do not mistake a pet sitter, however, for a house-keeper – or you may soon need to get a new one!
People can become a pet sitter without any qualifications and it may be hard to gauge the experience any candidate can bring to the job. This is why it is sometimes very hard to choose a sitter from classified listings. Sometimes your individual impression of someone, and watching how they interact with your pet can be a good way of choosing. However, also look for accreditation from the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters, whose members abide by a code of ethics and have completed study courses and conferences.
Before selecting a person or company to look after your pets, interview the candidates over the phone or at your home. Find out if they will work in your home or whether you will take your pet to them. You will also want to know if potential candidates will be caring for other pets at the same time as yours, and if so how many pets and if your pet will receive as much attention as he needs. You should ask what other services your sitter might offer, such as walking your dog or watering your plants.
If you are satisfied with the conditions in which your pet will be cared for, you should find out what training and qualifications the candidate has and what arrangements are in place if the candidate cannot make it to work one day (an emergency, car travel etc.) – for example can their agency provide backup? From a legal point of view you should find out if the candidate has commercial liability insurance (to cover accidents and negligence) and is bonded (to protect against theft). Finally, you should request that candidates provides a service contract to ensure that she is legally obliged to provide the care for which you are paying.
Find out from the candidate names and numbers of previous pleased customers who can provide a reference. Also judge your candidates on their interaction with your pet, and their interest in their well-being. For example, Does he/she seem interested when you are telling them about your pet? Do they take notes about feeding and medicating?
Once you have chosen a pet sitter, it is important that you do everything you can to make things as easy as possible for your pet and his new sitter. Every time you want to make a reservation with your sitter you should do so well in advance of your requirements. You should provide your pet sitter with clear instructions detailing specific pet-care responsibilities and contact information for you and for your vet. Most pet sitters will require that your pet’s vaccinations are current, particularly if your pet is not the only animal being cared for on the premises, and you should make sure that you attach current identification tags to your pet’s collar. Finally, a good tip is to leave a key with a trustworthy neighbor as a backup in case of loss, and make sure your pet sitter knows how to contact them.