What To Look For in a Pet Sitter
When owners need to travel and would have to leave their pets, there are numerous possibilities for pet care.
Some pet owners leave their animals at a kennel, with relatives or neighbours.
However, some also choose a pet sitter for their Fluffy Friend for extra peace of mind.
Fur parents increasingly resort to professional pet sitters when they need someone to look after their beloved companion while they’re away.
What’s the difference between paying an "official" pet caretaker and hiring the neighbourhood teenager?
Read on to learn about the basics of pet sitting.
What Distinguishes Pet Sitting From House Sitting?
Definition of Pet Sitting
According to Pet Sitters International, pet sitting is caring for a pet while its owner is gone.
Since it requires going to the pet's house to provide company and exercise, dog walking is also a type of pet sitting.
Although some dog walkers and pet sitters provide other services, such as restricted in-home boarding, these are unrelated to pet sitting and are not referred to as such.
Pet sitters are distinct from kennels or pet daycares because they care for animals in their clients' homes.
Difference Between Pet Sitting and House Sitting
Pet sitters don't typically look after the home of the homeowner.
They simply take care of pets during their daily visits, which may be multiple times a day.
However, a variety of services, like collecting the mail, performing cleaning and maintenance tasks, watering plants, and cutting the lawn, among other things, may also be assigned to a pet sitter.
Still, house-sitting is the more common term for these responsibilities.
The house sitter stays in the house while the owners are away, in addition to caring for the pets.
Then again, house sitters may not have pet-sitting certificates and may not be equipped to care for pets during emergencies.
Related: 10 Signs and Symptoms of a Sick Cat
What Benefits Do Pet Sitting Have Over Other Types of Pet Care?
Some of the benefits of hiring a pet sitter are:
Since your pet will be left at home, they are within their comfortable surroundings, tend to be happier, and less stressed.
If your pet is prone to anxiety, an anxiety-relieving pet bed is beneficial.
- Pets can maintain their familiar routine of eating and exercise.
- Travel-related stress is reduced for both the owner and the pet.
- Pets left at home have a reduced chance of disease exposure.
Usually, a pet sitter also offers insurance coverage for rare cases like extenuating circumstances.
These circumstances include pets with special health needs, severe separation anxiety, or repairs in the pet's home.
What Services Do Professional Pet Sitters Offer?
Pet sitters are an excellent choice for families with several animals, animals with specific requirements, or when owners prefer that their Fluffy Friends stay in the familiar surroundings of the home.
Also, pet sitters frequently offer many pet-sitting visits daily, and some even provide overnight care.
Pet sitters carry out a number of tasks during their drop-in visits, including:
- Changing the water bowls and providing food for the animals
- Encouraging lots of playtime and exercise (like a dog walking service)
- Litter box cleaning
- Giving pets medication as necessary
- Showing loads of love and care!
To give the house a "lived-in look" while the owners are gone, pet sitters frequently bring in packages, mail, or newspapers and switch out the blinds and lights.
In addition, pet owners may ask pet sitters to do other tasks.
According to the American Kennel Club, most pet sitters are a great option because they have received first aid and CPR training.
A pet-sitting business must be bonded, insured, have a business licence, and be able to provide client testimonials.
Additionally, they offer a new client a written agreement or contract with payment terms, cancellation, and bad weather clauses, a veterinary release form, and guardianship or emergency contact information.
Related: What To Do if Your Dog Has Anxiety
Checklist When Choosing a Pet Sitter
Prior to hiring the right pet sitter, request an in-home consultation or do a background check.
This provides you the chance to speak with them in person and learn more about the sitter's background, working techniques, education, and training, as well as how they communicate with you while you're gone.
Here are some of the common questions that you can ask your potential sitter:
- Pricing and cancellation charges.
- How does the pet sitter respond to emergencies, whether the crisis is related to your furry friends or home?
- How much exercise will the pet sitter be willing to give your young, active dog full of excess energy?
- Do they know how to handle large pets?
- How much time can they spend with your pet?
- What's their insurance coverage?
- Can they manage behavioural problems?
The potential sitter can also ask questions about your fur baby's routine, particular requirements, and where the food, treats, and supplies are kept.
Equally important is that meeting your potential pet sitter can allow you to witness how they interact with your pets and whether they get along.
Find out if they are a good match for one another.
Even if you and the potential pet sitter seem to click, ask for references and check them before hiring.
Solid recommendations are crucial because you're looking for someone to care for your fur babies while you're gone and live in your house.
It's a terrific idea to try out the sitter with your pet if you have the time.
Hire them for a single day, leave the house, and check on your dog when you return.
Checking out how they interact is easier if you have an indoor CCTV camera.
What To Prepare for the Pet Sitter
If you're ready to hire a pet sitter, make sure to prepare the following essentials:
- Your contact information
This includes your phone number, email, and contact details of a family member in case you can't be reached.
- Your vet's contact information
Your sitter must know where to take your pup or kitty in case of a medical emergency.
Let your vet know that your pet will be watched by a sitter and permit them to treat your pet if necessary while you're away.
- Pet Emergency Kit and Supplies
Prepare your emergency kit.
Let your sitter know where they can access it.
Put everything your sitter needs in one location.
This includes bowls for food, water, and treats, extra food and consumable supplies, and a leash, collar, or harness.
Your supplies area should also include paper towels and cleaning supplies, a broom and dustpan or vacuum cleaner, plastic bags for waste disposal, litter and a scooper, and potty pads if applicable.
Also, buy additional lint brushes for your pet sitter!
Any specific directions you want your pet sitter to follow should be written clearly and reviewed with them before you leave.
- Visitor List
If you reside in a building or gated neighbourhood, inform security of your pet sitter's visit and, if necessary, tell your neighbours as well.
Don't forget to let the sitter know if you intend to have friends, family, or other people watch over your home and animals while you are away. And to prevent confusion, clarify what the pet sitter is in charge of and what the other visitors will do.
Make a list of gardeners, pool, or house maintenance contractors who might be present while you are away. Inform both parties of what to expect while you're away.
- Alarms, Prohibited Zones, and Home Access
Are there specific places where your pets aren't allowed in your house?
Ensure that the rooms are sealed off and inform the sitter that certain sections are off-limits.
Before leaving, lock all the doors, including the garage, patio, and French doors.
So that your pet's day/night pattern is similar to when you are home, use timers to manage the lighting inside your home.
Verify that fences and gates are locked and closed.
When left alone, pets may become more curious, bored, and mischievous.
Close cabinets and closets, close toilet lids, keep home cleaners out of your pet's reach, and store medications, tiny loose objects, and perfumes out of reach.
Always think about the safety of your pets whenever you're away!
Though it may be unavoidable for you to leave your Fluffy Friends behind, you'll worry less if you have a trusted friend, neighbour, family member, or pet sitter to take care of them.
Give your pet plenty of love and care even while you're away!
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