If you have an upcoming work trip or vacation planned—or even if you don’t, but want to be prepared for an emergency or spontaneous road trip—it is a good idea to establish a relationship now with a reliable pet sitter who will care for your furry or scaly best friend just as well as you do. While it can feel daunting to browse dozens of profiles and classifieds in search of a pet sitter you’re comfortable with, knowing where to look and what questions to ask can help you narrow the field and find that one person you can truly put your trust in.
Here are some tips to help you find the perfect pet sitter.
Ask Around for Recommendations
Having a pet sitter recommended to you by someone that has previously hired them or knows them personally is the gold standard. Ask your family members, friends, veterinarian, groomer, etc. to recommend someone they truly trust. After all, it’s easy for a pet sitter to say all the right things in an online profile, and positive ratings and reviews are great. But the best way to get real insight into whether a potential pet sitter will be a good fit is to speak with someone who has hired them in the past and has used their services.
Use Vetted Pet Sitting Organizations
If asking around doesn’t turn up any leads, you can take your search online. It might be better to steer clear of general help wanted sites, and instead look for sites dedicated to pet professionals only. Some sites to visit are:
These are national platforms that allow you to filter down to your zip code and some of the specifics you’re looking for in a sitter. The best thing about these organizations is that they require the person posting a profile to first become a member, and they perform a certain level of vetting of the sitters using their platform. The pet sitters must provide all the necessary documentation to prove who they are, and even pass exams for specific certifications.
Interview the Potential Sitter
Once you have a shortlist of sitters you’re interested in, it’s time to set up phone interviews. (A pet sitter who wants to communicate only through email or text message is a red flag and you may want to eliminate them from your list.) Before the call, compose a list of questions you want to ask, which could include the following:
- How long have you been pet sitting?
- What certifications and training do you have?
- Do you have proof of liability insurance?
- What are your procedures in case of an emergency?
- Do you have reliable transportation?
- What services do you offer?
- Can you provide references?
- Will you meet with me in person prior to caring for my pet?
- What questions do you have for me?
If your pet is a fragile senior, has a medical issue, takes daily medication or is on a special diet, be sure to ask about the pet sitter’s comfort level and experience in meeting your pet’s needs. The worst time to discover that a pet sitter isn’t comfortable administering meds is after you’ve boarded the plane!
Arrange a Meet and Greet
The final and most important part of finding a pet sitter is introducing them to your pet in person. Set aside an hour in the days or weeks before you need care to have the pet sitter come to your home for a meet and greet. This final interview will determine whether you and the pet sitter click, and will allow you to observe how the sitter interacts with your pet. This is also a chance to ask questions you may have forgotten, and for the pet sitter to do the same. Ideally the meet and greet will reveal that you have chosen the perfect individual to care for your pet while you are away, and you will be able to enjoy worry-free trips and vacations.
Your pets are our priority!
At the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC), our number one priority is to promote the health and wellbeing of your pets. That is why we created the NASC Audit Program and the Quality Seal, which helps you identify animal health and nutritional supplements that come from responsible suppliers committed to producing the highest quality, most consistent products available. Visit our website to learn more and to see a list of NASC members that have earned the Quality Seal.