It can be nerve-wracking to leave your pet at home when travelling. Who can you trust to take care of your pet as well as you do? There are a few options available: Board them at a kennel, find a friend or neighbor to watch them or hire a professional pet sitter. Although many boarding kennels are excellent and you can often save money if you have a friend or neighbor watch your pet, there are advantages to hiring a professional pet sitter.
- Often have more time to spend with your pet
- May have more medical expertise to recognize a problem
- Some offer additional services like grooming, long walks, training or weight control
- Unlike a kennel, no travel stress or change in routine for your pet
- Less exposure to unfamiliar animals or illness
- Often fewer vaccine requirements
How do you find a reliable person to care for your pet while you are away? First, make sure to differentiate between a professional pet sitter and someone who pet sits as a hobby. Pet sitting is a rapidly growing industry and many people who advertise pet sitting services are not qualified. Most professional pet sitters have business licenses and are insured against injury or theft.. They should also be able to provide you with references from other clients and have a backup plan in place in case of emergency. Many pet sitters are trained in pet first aid and CPR or have taken animal husbandry classes.
When choosing a pet sitter interview them first. They should be very interested in your pet and take notes on your pets routine, feeding schedule, allergies and emergency numbers. They should appear organized and have a plan for how they are going to care for your pet. It is a good idea to have your pet sitter meet your pet at this time, and make sure they both seem comfortable. If you are going to be leaving on a long trip, you may want to try an overnight trial first to make sure there are no problems.
Many pet sitters are familiar with veterinary offices or kennels, so this may be a good place to ask when you start the search for a pet sitter. Finding a pet sitter through your pet’s veterinarian ensures they are already comfortable with taking your pet there in case of a problem. Asking family and friends for who they use can help find a trusted sitter as well. Finally, there are several associations of professional pet sitters that can be searched including the National Association of Pet Sitters or Pet Sitters International.