Animals are much more than a pet; they are integral members of the family who are there in good times and bad. As a pet owner, it can be hard to leave a pet for long periods of time, but the right dog sitter can make that worry lessen. An in-home dog sitter is a great option for pet parents that don’t want their pet to be alone while they are away. When looking for a dog sitter, you can check local listings in your area and reach out to friends and family for recommendations. But finding the right in-home pet sitter can be difficult, which is why these questions are key to finding the right professional for you and your pet.
1. Why did they choose to become an animal caregiver?
While this may seem like an unimportant question, it can be quite telling about the person you are interviewing. Do they like their job? Do they even like animals? Are they someone who can handle multiple pets? People who are passionate about animals will be excited to interact with your pet. An individual that has an indifferent attitude about pet care and dog sitting may not provide the best care possible for your pet.
Trust is a large part of finding the right dog sitter. If you don’t feel like you can completely trust the person with your pet, then you shouldn’t hire them. Not only are you leaving your pet with them, but your house and belongings will also be in their care while you’re away, so go with your gut.
2. What is their backup plan when they aren’t available, sick, or injured, and can’t be there for your pet?
This is an extremely important question that many pet owners don’t think to ask. Sure your dog sitter seems reliable, but what if they break their leg, get the flu, or can’t make it to your house in the middle of a snowstorm? Do they have a backup plan for the unexpected that may happen on their end? Your dog obviously needs care and attention multiple times a day during the entire time you’re away, so a sitter not showing up regardless of the reason is not an option. An experienced, professional dog sitter will be part of a team that works together to take care of your pet, ensuring that there will never be a missed visit, no matter what the reason. All visits need to be completed 100% of the time.
3. Can they provide references?
Prior to hiring a pet sitter, you’ll want to address whether or not they have any references from previous jobs and employers. Having good references is a strong leg up for a pet-sitting candidate because it shows dedication to their job. Pet sitters with a solid and positive work history are more likely to provide the individualized care and attention that your pet needs.
4. Are they insured/bonded?
Because pet sitting is not a heavily regulated field, there may be those who take advantage and create fake histories and jobs. There is a difference between someone who occasionally lets a friend’s dog out while they are gone and someone who professionally cares for an animal. If a dog sitter is insured, it shows that they are more serious about their job and have taken steps to ensure that they are covered in case of an emergency.
5. Does the dog sitter have any formal or informal training in animal care or behavior?
This question will differ for every person, and sometimes it won’t be necessary to ask. However, for older pets, pets that require medication, and pets with behavior problems, it may be a necessity. A dog sitter that has some veterinary experience that can recognize the signs of a problem or can administer medication will be beneficial to pet owners with older or sick pets. For pets that have behavior problems, finding a sitter that has experience in training could make their care easier.
6. How much time will the pet sitter spend in your home to care for your pet(s)?
If you’re a pet parent who hates the thought of leaving your furry friend home alone for several days at a time, the amount of time the sitter spends with your pet will be important. For those who need someone to come in just during the day, ask if the sitter will take your pup for a walk and return them right after or if they’ll come inside for a bit. If you want them to spend extra time playing until they settle down, don’t be afraid to ask. And if you’re away for a few days, you may even want to find an overnight sitter or a sitter that will remain on premises with your pet for the duration of your absence to make you feel better.
As a pet parent, you only want the best for your family member. Pet sitters and animal-care companies have grown significantly over the past several years, and you can find just about any service you need. But when researching pet sitters or animal-care companies, don’t just pick the first one you find since they don’t all offer the same experience and services. Be sure to research more about the company and their staff before making a choice, keeping these questions in mind.
If you would like to learn more about the dog sitters at Trusty Tails, please contact us today.