Traveling with your dog is one of life’s greatest pleasures – especially when you’re headed out to nature. But the sad fact is that not all the trips we take are conducive to a tag-along pet.
I don’t know about you, but the thought of putting my dog in a kennel is unimaginable, so the only option for me is to have a pet sitter so that my dog can stay in a comfortable, familiar environment and enjoy his regular routine.
However, I wouldn’t let just anybody watch my dog; I’ve had friends do it in the past, and while my dog has survived the experience, I’ve found that trained professionals take it much more seriously and, therefore, do a much better and thorough job.
You’ll want to hire a pet sitter you can trust, so I’ve listed some things you’ll want to look for when finding your own.
- Ask for recommendations. You can talk to fellow pet parents and your vet, dog trainer, or groomer to get suggestions. Is there one name or company that keeps coming up? Check them out and don’t forget to read online reviews as well.
- Look for a bonded and insured company. Not only will any employees have background checks and ample references, but you can also be sure that your stuff and your pet is bonded and insured for any damage or unforeseen events.
- Do they have any certificates or professional memberships? Look for pet first aid/CPR certification and membership of professional pet sitting organizations, such as Pet Sitters International.
Since there is no real regulation in the pet sitting industry, joining an organization shows they are serious about what they do and follow a set of standards.
- Think about your budget. When you book a trip, add pet sitting into the expenses. An overnight sitter costs roughly $50-75/night, and paying them to stop in throughout the day can be an additional $15-25.
- Does your dog like the person? Just as you would take a test run with a babysitter, do the same for your dog’s sitter. Your dog may not hit it off first thing, but watch if he or she’s relaxed with them and if your sitter knows how to handle anxiety.
If they don’t click, look for someone else.
- Do you like the person? Remember, they will be spending ample time in your own home, so trust your gut. If something feels off, continue the search for your dog sitter.
- Make sure the pet sitter can handle special needs. Does your dog need medication? Does he play well with other dogs? Ask your sitter how he or she would handle potential situations, and make sure their plan of action is one you agree with.
- Ask the pet sitter about checking in. Make sure they know you want updates on your dog if that’s what you expect. Some may not be willing to keep up communication, so be clear on your expectations.
Do you want updates? Photos? Videos? Some sitters use pet sitting software, like Scout, to check-in and out of appointments, make notes, and send pictures.