How to Sniff Out the Right Pet Sitter

When you travel without your pets, you have two options: board them at an expensive kennel, or hire a pet sitter. Pet sitters put less stress on your pets – but choose carefully. Here’s how to find the right one.


August was a bad month for pet sitters. A Long Island pet sitter was arrested after being caught on camera burglarizing a home – after he’d been hired to take care of the pets there while the owner was on vacation. And in Canada, an employee at a pet-sitting business was charged with neglect after two cats in his care went missing and are presumed dead.

Thankfully, most pet sitters are responsible law-abiding citizens. But these arrests remind us that finding the right person to take care of our furry friends demands some attention.

As I noted in the video above, you can find excellent pet sitters for around $15 for $35 a day, but you should make sure they’re bonded, insured, and certified by a professional organization. And you should ask for references. A good place to start is with your veterinarian. (If you don’t have a good one, here’s How to Find a Vet.)

You can use your computer to find the right person. Pet Sitters International (PSI) offer a Pet Sitter Locator that can help you find a certified sitter in your area. PSI says its free online service is used by 30,000 pet owners a month. Also check the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters search tool – these organizations have slightly different listings.

And as I suggested in the video, it’s important that you ask for a face-to-snout interview with you and your pet. You want to make sure the two of them hit it off.

Finally, provide detailed instructions to your sitter. Are your pets allergic to anything? What do your pets like to eat, and when should they be eating it? Is your vet’s phone number in an easy-to-find location?

“Hiring a pet sitter is a serious process,” says Monica Leighton, President of the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS). “Not only are you placing your pet in the care of another individual, but you are also giving them regular access to your home. Safety should always be a top priority in the selection process.”

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

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Comments

  • Good video, and I like the point about getting a pet sitter well in advance, so that you have a relationship before you travel. However, stating an average price of $15 – 35 per DAY may be erroneous – most professional pet sitters would charge $15 – 35 per VISIT. And multiple visits would be the norm with dogs.

  • Gotta agree with Kimberly! The price listed is a bit low. I have a pet sitting company in Scottsdale, AZ and we will not walk in the door for less than $25 a visit. You get what you pay for.

    Great article – consider this… if someone doesn’t have valuable people vouching for them, do not have a back up plan, or does not appear to be professional, these should be red flags to fun fast in the other direction.

    If you are in the market for a professional pet sitter I would be happy to give you more tips! Just give me a ring! 480.330.4552.

    Bella’s House & Pet Sitting (www.bellashouseandpets.com) has been around since 2002 and is Nationally Award Winning! :)

    Tailwags!
    Bella

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