When to Hire Your First Pet Sitter
How to Hire a Pet Sitter or Dog Walker
Having and caring for a pet can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. Unfortunately there may come a time when you have to leave your pet in the care of someone else. Hiring a pet sitter or dog walker can be a great way to make sure your pet is well cared for in your absence. By learning more about how to safely hire someone to care for your pet, you can help ensure that your pet will be safe and comfortable while you are away.
Interviewing a Pet Sitter or Dog Walker
Find potential pet sitters or dog walkers.The process of hiring a dog walker or pet sitter begins with locating people to interview. Using online platforms, newspapers, and word of mouth, try to locate a few potential individuals, and set up meetings with each of them.
- Post an online ad (such as on Craigslist)
- Place an ad in a local newspaper
- Perform an internet search for dog walkers and/or pet sitters in your area
- Talk to friends
Review any training, qualifications, or licenses.Although dog walking and pet sitting is a largely unregulated field, some companies, groups, and individual dog walkers will have credentials that you can verify. Inquire about these at each interview.
- Your pet sitter should have first aid training, both for humans and your pet.
- Ask if they have a membership with either National Association of Professional Pet Sitters or Pet Sitters International. These are established groups that offer training and licensing programs to their members.
- They should be able to provide references to you.
Specify your needs.In order to hire the right person, you must make sure that the dog walker/pet sitter can consistently work the schedule you need, as well as take care of any special needs you or your dog may have. Take some time to create a list of your specific needs. You might write down:
- The times and days you will need this service
- The length of time you'd like your dog walked
- Any dates that you'll be away
- Everything you'd like this dog walker/pet sitter to handle (feeding, playing, cleaning, etc.)
Inquire about any additional services.Your dog walker or pet sitter may offer other services, in addition to basic pet care. Asking about these services and how much they might cost can help you decide if a pet sitter or dog walker is the right one for you.
- Some dog walkers and pet sitters will offer bathing services for your pet.
- Your pet sitter may offer to water your plants or bring your mail into your house for you.
Find out if they work with a veterinarian.Some dog walkers and pet sitters will have a working relationship with a local veterinarian. Having this relationship can help your pet get medical attention should an emergency occur. Ask your potential dog walker or pet sitter if they are in contact with a local veterinarian.
- You can also provide contact information for your own veterinarian.
Choosing the Right Person
Make sure they take notes.A good pet sitter or dog walker will take notes of any specific care needs that you indicate. Someone who doesn't seem to be paying attention or making an effort to take these details down should be passed over. Always make sure your potential pet sitter or dog walker pays careful attention and makes some kind of note about your instructions.
Ask about backup plans.Ask your potential dog walker or pet sitter about any backup plans they have, should they be unable to care for your pet during the time you schedule. Problems and emergencies can arise, and a good pet sitter or dog walker should have a plan in place to ensure that your pet still receives proper care.
Look for proof of insurance or bonding.Your dog walker or pet sitter should have either liability insurance or be bonded to an agency or company. Liability insurance will help cover both parties (both you and the dog walker) in the event of loss or accidents. Bonding can repay the value of any items that were proven to be stolen by a pet sitter or dog walker.
Discuss fees.Knowing what to expect when it comes to the cost of a pet sitting or dog walking service can help you decide if the service is right for you. Costs will vary, depending on the level of qualification and amount of services offered by your dog walker or pet sitter. Make sure you ask for the full price before agreeing to any services.
- The average cost in the U.S. is to for every 30 minutes someone watches your pet.
Sign a contract.Many dog walkers or pet sitters will offer a contract that explains what services are offered and detail the responsibilities of both parties. These contracts are also legally binding and can help resolve any issues should they arise. If your dog walker/pet sitter does not have a contract prepared, consider creating one yourself. Carefully read over any contract that is offered and make sure the terms are agreeable.
Utilizing Dog Walking or Pet Sitting Services
Make sure your pet is comfortable around people.Before you consider seeking out the services of a pet sitter or dog walker, you will have to make sure that your pet is comfortable around other people. If your pet is nervous around other people it could create a potentially dangerous situation for both the person you hire and your pet.
- Bring your pet to meet the pet sitter or dog walker before you hire them. Make sure both are comfortable around one another.
- If your pet is aggressive or nervous around strangers, you should not hire a dog walker or pet sitter.
Check your pet's tags.Your pet's tags should contain up-to-date information about where your pet lives and how to contact you. Although it's unlikely, your pet may escape the care of your dog walker or pet sitter. Providing current contact information on your pet's tags is a great way to help get your pet back home quickly and safely.
- Engraving machines can be found in most pet stores.
- Make sure your pet is wearing their vaccination tags as well.
Leave contact information and care-instructions.Preparing detailed care instructions is a great way to make sure your pet is properly cared for. Leaving contact information for your pet sitter or dog walker can help them reach you if an emergency arises or if they have any questions.
- Leave information for multiple methods of contact such as phone numbers, email address, or physical addresses.
- If your pet has special dietary requirements or medical needs, you should leave them with your pet sitter.
Make sure supplies are stocked.Chances are your pet sitter or dog walker will bring only minimal supplies. If you are requiring their services over a period of time, you will need to leave enough supplies to properly care for your pet while you are away.
- Make sure your pet will have enough important items such as food or any medicines they need.
- Leave extra supplies in case you are delayed upon your return.
Tell your pet sitter about your home.If you are having a pet sitter stay in your home for a period of time you will need to let them know about important aspects of your home. Giving your pet sitter a detailed tour of your house will help them keep your pet and your home safe while you are away.
- Tell them where the fuse box or circuit breaker is located.
- Let your pet sitter know where you keep your fire extinguishers.
- If you have an alarm system you should let them know how it functions.
Make sure your pet sitter or dog walker can access your home.Before you leave your home and your pet, you will need to make sure your pet sitter or dog walker can access your house. Talk with your dog walker or pet sitter and tell them any specific details they might need to know in order to enter your home and care for your pet while you are away.
- If you have a security code to enter your home or apartment you will likely need to leave this with your pet sitter or dog walker.
- You will want to leave your pet sitter or dog walker a spare key that they can use to enter your home.
- Inform them of any additional security measures that your house or apartment may have.
- Always check your pet sitter or dog walkers qualifications before hiring them.
- Have your pet meet with the pet sitter or dog walker to see if your pet is comfortable with them.
- Learn if your pet sitter or dog walker has insurance or is bonded.
- Make sure you leave your contact information should an emergency arise.
Video: Hiring A Pet Sitter
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