10 Questions To Ask Before Hiring A Pet Sitter

Hiring a pet sitter is no different from hiring a baby sitter. There is no one-sitter-fits all solution for you and your furred, feathered and finned loved ones. But if you find yourself with a list of potential pet sitters, and no idea where to start, don’t panic! We’ve compiled a list of must-ask questions when interviewing your next possible pet sitter. That way you can leave home with confidence and peace of mind.

#1 Do you offer an initial consultation?

Many pet sitters will meet with potential clients for free, or for a very low fee. It is important to make sure pet owner, pet and pet sitter see eye-to-eye. This will also be your opportunity to ask any questions you might have, so have a list prepared.

#2  Are you bonded and insured?

This is one of the biggest things that sets professional pet sitters apart from amateurs, such as a family member or neighbor. A bonded pet sitter will pay out the pet owner in the event that an employee steals from a client, if the employee is found guilty.

Insurance for pet sitters is like any other form of liability insurance. In the event that damage is done to property or pets, the pet sitter’s insurance will compensate the pet owner.

#3  Do you give update on my pet’s behavior?

Some pet sitters may leave a note explaining how the pet service went and how the pet reacted during this time. Others may send text messages, phone calls, emails or pictures to give updates on pets while you’re away.

#4  Do you have references and a clean background check?

Many professional pet sitters will have references and verification of a background check on hand. Don’t be afraid to ask for these things. It’s common practice, and they won’t be offended.

#5  What happens in the event of an emergency?

Before leaving, make sure your pet sitter knows what to do in the event of emergency on the pet and the pet sitter’s behalf. If the pet sitter is unable to care for your pet due to forces outside of their control, they should have a plan for a back up sitter. On the other hand, make sure the pet sitter knows which vet your pet goes to and necessary medical information, in the event of an emergency.

#6  How long is each of your visits?

Typically, pet sitter visits are 30 minutes, but it can vary. If your pet requires additional care, attention or you have multiple pets; your pet sitter may offer additional time to suit your needs.

#7  Do you take pets that require special care?

Different pet sitters will have different areas of expertise and specialties. If your pet requires special attention, is of an unusual breed or species, or needs medication administrated, this must be discussed.

#8  How far in advance do you require reservations?

If you find the perfect pet sitter, make sure you book them! Don’t wait until the last minute, especially during the holiday season. Your ideal pet sitter may be fully booked, and you may have to settle for a second or even third choice option. Typically, you want to book a pet sitter at least 2 weeks in advance. But if you have last minute plans, still call them. They may be able to squeeze you in or have a last minute cancelation.

#9  Will you require me to sign a contract?

A professional pet sitter will have you sign a written contract with them. This ensures that pet sitter and pet owner know the terms to which they’re agreeing to. Such as, how long they will care for your pet and what they will be doing during each visit.

#10  What happens if I come home later than expected?

When traveling during the holiday season, delays due to weather and traffic may happen. Make sure that your pet sitter calls, or you call, to verify that you are home on schedule. That way your pet is not home alone without care.

Why Use a Professional Pet Sitter?

Using a professional pet sitter provides both you and your fur babies benefits that you miss out on when you use a boarding facility, neighbors, friends or family. Below is a list of things to think about when considering pet sitting over your other pet care options.

We all hate to think of the worst-case scenario, but what if something gets broken or destroyed in your home while someone is taking care of your pet? What if something happens to your pet?

One of the many benefits of hiring a professional pet sitter is that they are insured. If something happens to your home or your pet while in the pet sitter’s care, they have insurance to cover the damage.

For most pets, being taken out of their home and left behind at a boarding facility is a stressful event. Add to it the fact that they are without their owner, there are barking dogs everywhere and your dog or cat can be easily overloaded. They don’t have the ability to understand that mommy and daddy will be coming back soon, so often times dogs will get stressed, depressed and anxious when left at a boarding facility. When you hire a professional pet sitter, pets get to stay in their own home. They have access to their favorite lounging spots, blankets, toys and the same familiar sites, smells and noises. Sure, they’re going to miss their parents while they’re away, but because their environment hasn’t changed, their stress levels are minimal.

Another benefit of having a professional pet sitter is most, if not all, do this full time. It is their job to remember to show up, to care for your babies and follow all of your instructions to the T. They have a business and a reputation on the line and they take what they do very seriously. When you hire a friend, family member or neighbor, even though they have the best of intentions at heart, they may not take the job as seriously as you’d like. They can even forget to show up because it’s not part of their usual routine.

Lastly, most sitters include walks, medications, multiple pets and playtime right into their price. They will also bring in the mail, take out the trash, water plants and rotate lights and blinds to make it appear that someone is home. When using a boarding facility they often charge extra for things like walks, one-on-one attention and medication administration. Not to mention that when the pets are at a facility, there is no one checking in on the house on a regular basis.

For your peace of mind and your pet’s happiness, hire a professional pet sitter the next time you’re going on a trip or need someone to let Fido out while you’re stuck at work for a long day.

Menly's Pet Care

This has been a contribution from Sarah Johnson of Menlys Pet Care servicing the Farmington Hills, Michigan area.