Finding a Pet Sitter: Tips for Finding One You Can Trust

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Whether due to long hours at work, travel plans or an unexpected event, it's almost inevitable that at some point you'll have to leave your dog or cat at home for an extended period. That's where trusted pet sitters come in. A good pet sitter can provide the peace of mind you need when you're away from your beloved four-legged companion.

But how do you find a pet sitter who's right for your pet? Read on for all the information you need to search for, evaluate and select a pet sitter you can trust.

Determine Your Needs

Before reaching out to any pet sitters, make sure you know exactly what you're looking for. You may want to jot down your answers to the following questions:

  • If you're going on vacation, how long will you be away?
  • Do you need someone who can pet sit on short notice, such as when an unexpected issue arises at work?
  • Are you seeking short-term pet sitting or longer-term care?
  • Do you want a sitter to care for your pet in your home or would you prefer to bring them to the sitter?

Nailing down your answers to these questions in advance will help you conduct a more efficient search for a pet sitter.

Woman scratching the head of a content looking cat with gray strips.

Look for a Sitter With the Right Qualifications

Once you've identified your needs, it's time to begin your search. But where should you look to find a pet sitter? The American Kennel Club (AKC)suggests asking for recommendations from pet stores, pet trainers and friends who have pets of their own. You can also use websites and apps that have professional pet sitter locators.

There are several things you should expect from trusted pet sitters. The AKC explains that "professional pet sitters should have a business license, be insured and bonded, offer client references and be able to provide proof of a clear criminal history. They should also have an agreement or contract." And, more importantly, they should be willing to provide an in-home consultation and meet you and your pet before you decide whether or not to hire them.

Ask the Right Questions

Make sure to thoroughly interview prospective pet sitters, just as you would any employee. It's a good idea to prepare some of your most pressing questions in advance. Your list may include questions about client references, proof of insurance and any relevant training or certifications.

Here are a few other questions you might want to ask:

  • How many years of experience do you have?
  • How have you dealt with difficult pet behaviors in the past, such as excessive cat meowing or dog barking?
  • What would you do if you had to leave the home in an emergency while pet sitting?
  • What would a typical day look like with my pet?
  • What's the best way for me to get in touch with you while you're pet sitting?

Finding a great pet sitter is worth the effort — they can make a world of a difference for both you and your pet when you can't be home. By taking stock of your needs as well as your pet's, reaching out to trustworthy sources and asking the right questions, you're guaranteed to find a cat or dog sitter who'll keep your pet happy and safe until the moment you return home.

Contributor Bio

Erin Ollila

Erin Ollila believes in the power of words and how a message can inform—and even transform—its intended audience. Her writing can be found all over the internet and in print, and includes interviews, ghostwriting, blog posts, and creative nonfiction. Erin is a geek for SEO and all things social media. She graduated from Fairfield University with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. Reach out to her on Twitter @ReinventingErin or learn more about her at http://erinollila.com.

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