A qualified, professional pet sitter provides many benefits for your pet, as well as for you. When you’re away from home, a professional pet sitter provides you with the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your pet is being cared for by a professional and that your home is being looked after.
For your pet, the benefits are even more significant. Your pet remains in the comfort of the environment she knows. Regular diet and exercise routines are maintained, while he receives the one-on-one attention of a person who is committed to his well-being. And importantly, there is no exposure to disease or unsafe situations involving other pets.
That being said, it is important that you learn all you can about the qualifications and services of any prospective pet sitter before you hire one. Among your considerations should be:
- Can the sitter provide written proof of commercial liability insurance (to cover accidents and negligence) and are they bonded (to protect against theft by a pet sitter or her employees)?
- Will the sitter provide a written service contract detailing services and fees?
- Has the sitter completed any special training?
- Has the sitter discussed and recorded details of your pet’s personality and special needs – such as likes, dislikes, fears, habits, medical conditions, medications, and routines?
- What is the sitter’s plan if emergency veterinary services are needed?
- If the pet sitter provides overnight services, what are the specific times she agrees to be with your pet? Is this detailed in the contract?
- How does your pet sitter make sure that you have returned home?
Even if your first impressions are positive, its important that the sitter comes to your home to meet your pet before finalizing any contract. Pay close attention to the interaction of your sitter and your pet. It is just as important that your pet is comfortable with the sitter as it is that the sitter is comfortable with your pet.
If the introductory visit goes well, it may be a good idea to start by hiring the sitter to care for your pet during a short trip, such as a weekend excursion. That way, you can work out any problems before leaving your pet in the sitter’s care for longer periods.