With the holidays around the corner, pet parents are planning to visit family and friends all around the country for extended weekends or longer. While this is a fun and exciting time, deciding on pet care during your travels is often the most difficult, stressful decision that has to be made.
However, more and more pet parents are deciding to utilize the services of a professional pet sitter.
A professional pet sitter provides peace of mind to traveling pet parents by caring for their two most precious things: their pets and their homes. This allows your pets to stay in the comfort of their homes and maintain their normal routine.
The key to a great, stress-free relationship with your sitter is knowing what to look for when you start your search.
Locating a pro
When searching for a professional pet sitter, utilize the ”Find a Pro” section of the NAPPS website. Simply enter the zip code of the area(s) you are searching and an immediate list of professionals who service the area will populate. Another great resource is contacting your veterinarian or local groomer and requesting a referral to a pet sitter.
Choose a professional sitter
When searching for your pet sitter, it is vital you find a professional.
Make sure the person you choose is trained and professional. The difference between a hobby sitter and a professional pet sitter can easily be identified by asking the right questions and ensuring the sitter is licensed, bonded, and insured. Making sure your sitter is insured and bonded is essential to the well-being of your home and possessions as well as the direct care of your pet.
Interviewing with ease
Pet parents are always encouraged to interview multiple pet sitters before deciding on the sitter who is the best fit for their family. Before interviewing your pet sitter, sit down and plan your pet’s needs so you can communicate them with the sitter. Develop a list of questions to ask your sitter before he or she arrives for the interview to make sure you have not forgotten anything once the interview begins.
Always ask your sitter to provide you with references as well as contact information for a client or two that you can contact to ensure their happiness with their past service. Above all, while interviewing potential pet sitters, watch how they interact with your pet. Examine how comfortable your pet is with the different sitters, and oftentimes your pet will greatly help you make your decision with their reactions.
Communication is key
Does your pet have a certain route it likes to take during its walks? Does your pet have any fears or phobias? These are very important for your pet sitter to know.
Emergencies can always arise. Prepare your sitter by communicating all of your household emergency shut-offs, such as water valves and circuit boxes. Also, make sure your sitter has all the names and numbers of your service technicians, such as your plumber, heating and air conditioning company, and electrician.
The more information your sitter is given, the better the relationship becomes.
Planning your departure
Before you head out the door, make sure your sitter is well-supplied.
Purchase enough food, litter, and medications for your pet to cover the entire length of your stay, as well as enough for a couple extra days beyond your expected return date as a precaution. Make sure your sitter knows where all your cleaning supplies are, including your vacuum, trash bags, sponges, and disinfectants.
Your pet sitter should have you sign a veterinary release form giving him or her permission to have your pet treated if any illness occurs in your absence.
Check over the perimeter of your yard, especially if you have fences, to make sure everything is secured, and check your pet’s collar to ensure it fits properly.
It can seem like a lot to handle, but if you go through these guidelines, you can relax and have a wonderful holiday knowing that your pet and your home will be in very capable hands.