Why Hire a Pet Sitter?
All pets are unique and have varying individual needs, but all pets rely on the comfort and security of their home, family and daily routine. Using a pet sitter allows your pets to remain in familiar surroundings and to maintain a normal schedule. Pet sitters become part of the family - trusted caregivers who visit your home and provide individualized loving attention to your pets and home. Pet sitters provide not only food, water, exercise and medications, but also play time, petting and sweet talk. Pet sitters follow the routine you have established with your pets. Your home benefits from the extra security with routine visits to your home daily. Newspapers and mail promptly collected, porch lights turned on and off, blinds and drapes adjusted, trash curbed for collection and interior lights rotated.
So don't go on vacation and send your best friend to the Kitty Corral or Puppy Prison. You'll be in Tahiti having the time of your life, while Spot and Fluffy could be in a cellblock next to a gang of yippy-yappy canines or cats with long mean claws ready for pouncing. Have a pet sitter visit Spot and Fluffy in the comfort of his/her home, and you'll have peace of mind. This way Spot & Fluffy won't be searching for a pair of ruby red slippers while barking/meowing "There's no place like home!"
Sizing Up a Prospective Pet Sitter
- Ask to see proof of current insurance and/or bonding.
- Ask for client references and check them.
- How long has the pet sitter been in business?
- How much pet experience does that sitter have?
- Do they know animal first aid and CPR?
- What if weather prevents the sitter from getting to your house?
- What does the sitter do if there is an emergency and your veterinarian's office is closed?
- Does the sitter have a written service contract and pet information form?
- Sitter should ask for your pet's routine on eating, sleeping, potty breaks, walking, exercise, medications, medical history, hiding places, favorite toys, problems such as barking or chewing, vaccination history, your veterinarian's place of business and telephone number.
- Ask how long are your sitter's visits.
- Ask how you will communicate in case of an emergency.
Help Your Sitter
- Have plenty of food and medications on hand.
- Purchase extra kitty litter.
- Put all pet supplies out in one area in plain sight. Leashes, bowls, treats, foods, medications, litter, cleaning supplies- broom, dustpan, vacuum, paper towels, carpet cleaner, plastic bags, watering cans, extra bedding, towels to wipe wet paws, etc.
- Clearly label medication instructions and schedule.
- Leave a well worn T-shirt with your comforting scent.
- Schedule interview at medication time if possible, so that the sitter can witness your routine.
- In multi-pet households, photos of each pet labeled with names placed in a file folder with medical records.
- Tell the truth- don't hedge about aggression or biting history. Forewarned is forearmed.
- Update emergency information and any changes in pet routine.
- Make sure all animals' collars have current tags.
- Have all emergency numbers (the way to reach you or a trusted friend in case of emergency, and your vet's number) written on a single sheet of paper in plain view.
- Call your pet sitter as soon as you get back home. This way your sitter knows that you are safe and your pets are being taken care of by you.
- Be sure your instructions are clear and comprehensive.