Whether you’re making plans to go away on vacation or just looking for someone to walk your dog while you’re at work, finding the right sitter for your pet can be confusing. How do you know if the person you choose will be the right match for your dog or cat? Here are some ideas to keep in mind as you look for that perfect pet sitter.
- Do your homework.
Make sure the sitter you choose is bonded and insured. Have they undergone a criminal background check or any special training? Check at least three references before you make a decision. You’ll also want to meet in person before deciding, so you can talk to them and watch how they interact with your pets.
- Determine if your cat needs a sitter.
Many people like cats because they are low maintenance, and think it’s OK to leave them alone if they go away for the weekend. Experts say that your cat should not be left alone for more than 12 hours at a time. Bring in a pet sitter if your cat will be alone for more than a day. One 30 minute visit per day to interact with your cat and handle the food, water, and litter box should be fine.
- Does your dog need daily dog walker visits?
If you work long hours and think your dog needs some attention while you are away, you can bring your dog to doggy day care or hire a daytime dog walker to visit with your dog at home during the day. A dog walker can come once or twice a day, and spend anywhere between 20 and 60 minutes per visit, depending on your dog’s needs.
- Prepare for the first visit.
Before your new pet sitter arrives, make sure your pet’s tags are securely attached to the collar. You’ll also want to leave important information, such as feeding instructions and your vet’s phone number, in a prominent place. Make sure you have enough food and supplies on hand, and always keep them in the same place. It’s also a good idea to let a close neighbor know that a pet sitter will be coming to your home.