Finding a Pet Sitter for the Holidays
Being a pet owner and having my own pet sitting and dog walking company called Walk With Me for over 2 years has provided me with a lot of useful information for finding a pet sitter for the holidays. Here are some tips to help you find a reliable, professional pet sitter for your holiday travels:
FINDING A PET SITTER
There are a few ways one can go about finding a pet sitter.
The best way, in my opinion, is by a referral. Ask your friends, co-workers, neighbors (who have pets), etc. who they use for pet sitting. Most of our clients at Walk With Me came through word of mouth or referrals from existing clients. This way, you have a reliable source, whom you know and trust, and who already has experience with a company or sitter.
- Online Searching:
Pet sitting search sites
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A PET SITTER:
You want to make sure your sitter is fully insured. Better to be safe than sorry.
- Meet and Greets
Meet and Greets are standard procedure for most pet sitters. Don’t skip out on this because it is time for you and the sitter to “interview” each other and see if it’s a good fit. You also want to make sure they are a good fit with your pet. Do you feel comfortable leaving your pet in this sitter’s hands? Do you feel comfortable having this person in your house while you’re away?
WHILE YOUR AWAY
Always e-mail or leave a note out for the sitter which lays out instructions. Even though you may have gone over everything with your sitter during your meet and greet, it’s always good to have detailed instructions written out anyway. Pet sitters have multiple clients, and notes or e-mails with instructions help keep straight what client needs what.
- Emergency Contacts
Also make sure you leave the sitter with your emergency contact information and the pet’s vet information. Should anything happen while you are away, your sitter has what he/she needs to handle the situation.
- Check –in’s
You should ask your sitter to check in with you from time to time with updates on how your pet is doing, especially if it’s your first time working with a pet sitter. I always sent texts and pictures to my clients when sitting, and they appreciated the reassurance. You can arrange check-in procedures during the meet and greet.
Every sitter has different procedures for payment. This should be made clear before you leave so you are both in agreement on the issue.
- Book a sitter early! Especially for the Holidays. The earlier, the better.
o Don’t be too high maintenance or overbearing with your pet sitter. You want to get updates and whatnot within reason. Remember, the meet and greet is also the sitter interviewing you and your pet. They can easily not take you if they feel you are too difficult.
o Make all arrangements, procedures, guidelines between you and the sitter very simple and clear BEFORE you leave.
o If you have any questions or are unsure of anything- ALWAYS ask. The sitter should feel comfortable doing the same.
o Leave helpful notes around to assist the sitter. I loved when my clients would leave me post-its as reminders to where things were located like food, pet medication, poop bags, etc.
o A lot of the time, pet sitters will have pets of their own. Make it clear ahead of time whether or not you are comfortable with them bringing their pet along while visiting your pet.
o Pet sitting can be a lot more demanding than people realize. Most of the time, sitters are managing multiple clients with complicated, overlapping schedules, extensive driving routes all over the city, and different procedures for each animal. Find ways to make their job easier.
o I hear a lot of people complain about pet sitting prices. When looking at charges, keep in mind that along with walking, feeding, playing with your pet and giving love and attention, you are also paying for:
- Private care & individual attention for your little one
- The ability for your pet to stay home where they are comfortable rather than being sent to a daycare
- Driving time and gas money
- Sometimes watering plants, bringing the mail in, etc.
- And, most importantly, reassurance. So that you can relax and have a good vacation away from home knowing your pet is in safe, good hands. To me, that’s worth every penny!
Got any great tips to add? Share them in the comments section below!