Dog Care 101 #223: Choosing a Pet Sitter
Summer is prime time for vacation but sadly some dog owners don’t have the option of bringing their four-legged friends along. However, just because Fido can’t tag along doesn't mean he can’t have fun at home while you're away! BestBullySticks recommends owners look into getting a pet sitter as an alternative to dropping their pup off at the kennel.
Choosing between leaving your pup with a pet sitter or dropping him/her off at the kennel depends on a few key things. For instance, if your dog doesn't play well with others, you’re better off finding a pet sitter. The one on one attention from a pet sitter can make all the difference to a dog when its owner is away. Also, leaving your dog in a familiar environment adds an extra level of comfort while their owner is away.
While finding the right pet sitter can sometimes be a challenge, we've assembled a handy list of tips and strategies to help ease the stress on your dog while you’re away.
First things first — make a list of important items your dog needs. At the very least, your list should include a leash, bags for waste, food, toys, medications, emergency phone numbers and plenty of bully sticks! Collect these items and set them aside for your pet sitter.
Keeping these items on hand will give a pet sitter more time to spend with your dog and less time looking for things he/she needs.
Selecting Your Dog Sitter
It’s important to find an individual you’re comfortable leaving with your dog and in your home. If possible, take the time to meet a few potential candidates for the job to make sure you find the right one. If you have a pet savvy friend or family member who is willing to watch your dog don’t hesitate to ask them. Dogs are often more comfortable with friendly faces visiting them at home than strangers. Picking someone your dog knows may have a big impact on their comfort level.
If you choose to hire a professional pet sitter make sure they understand your dog’s needs and are able to meet them in full. Your sitter and your dog should also be a good personality match. For example, a high-energy dog should be taken care of by someone who is equally rambunctious — both dog sitter and dog will be much happier.
Here’s a list of additional things to consider as you search for your pet sitter:
Is your pet sitter certified or trained to work with dogs?
Does your pet sitter know local veterinarians/animal hospitals able to provide emergency services?
Does your pet sitter have references or phone numbers of past clients?
Does your pet sitter have a backup plan in place in case he/she has an emergency?
Is your pet sitter or pet sitter’s employer fully insured?
Can you get a hold of your pet sitter to check in?
Has your pet sitter completed a criminal background check?
Planning Your Departure
In addition to compiling a list of essential items for your dog, it’s also a good idea to pet-proof your home in preparation of leaving. Pet-proofing should include putting away food or choking hazards on counter tops, cosmetic supplies, or other items you think your dog might decide to chew on.
Don’t over do it when you are getting ready to make your departure, either. If you make a big deal about leaving, you may just give your pup nervous anxiety. Instead, opt for a quick goodbye as if you’re going out to run a few errands. By the time your dog figures out you’re not coming back for a while, he/she will already be distracted by your pet sitter!
If your pet sitter visits often and gives your dog ample attention you shouldn't have much to worry about. Sure, your dog will be wondering where you are but you can rest assured he/she will be safe and well taken care of in your absence.
To find a reputable pet sitter in your area check out Pet Sitters International and/or the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters. Both organizations will help you find the right person for your four-legged friends.