Choosing a pet sitter requires more than just doing an internet search and choosing the first listing that comes up. The pet sitter you choose will be responsible for caring for your pet, an important member of your family, and will have access to your home. You want to make a choice with which both you and your pet are comfortable.
Here are some qualities that make a good pet sitter:
Arguably one of the most important traits a pet sitter can possess, compassion for and an understanding of animals is necessary. A pet sitter must understand how to deal compassionately with pets who may be lonely for their families, who may be sick and suffer from separation anxiety, or who may be shy, requiring more time to build a friendship. Many animals tend to respond much better when they’re around someone who genuinely loves animals as opposed to an individual who merely tolerates them.
Everyone starts somewhere so even if you’re considering a brand new pet sitter, make sure she has some pet-related experience. An experienced pet sitter knows how to care for a wide variety of pets, can tell when a pet needs veterinary care or isn’t herself, and can provide the high quality of care to which you and your pets are accustomed. Ask your professional pet sitter for references and contact them to determine if their experiences were positive.
Licensed, bonded, and insured
License, bonding, and insurance help protect everyone involved: you, your pets, your home, and the pet sitter. Professional pet sitting organizations, like Pet Sitters International, also offer professional pet sitting certification to add to a professional pet sitter’s qualifications. Make sure you ask for and see verification of a pet sitter’s license, bond, and insurance.
A good pet sitter should be professional. A professional is someone you can count on. She’s reliable and trustworthy. If there’s a problem with making it to a scheduled pet sitting visit, she sends a backup in her place and informs you immediately. She ensures that your pets receive their scheduled visits every time and does her best to find a spot for your pet at the last minute. (Keep in mind, however, that you should schedule holiday visits well in advance or you may not be able to get a pet sitter during that busy period.)
A professional contract
A good pet sitter is going to have you sign a professional contract that details the pet sitting service’s terms and conditions and outlines the agreement you and she have for caring for your pets. Read the contract over carefully so you understand both your responsibilities and your pet sitter’s responsibilities.
The last thing you want when you’re away from home is to be forced to chase down your pet sitter, leaving voicemails, emails, and texts in an attempt to reach her. A professional pet sitter should be easily accessible and willing to communicate, whether it’s responding to messages promptly or providing daily updates as to how your pets are doing.
What is the most important quality in a pet sitter to you?