Are you a pet owner going out of town anytime in the near future? Maybe you are planning a big trip. Choosing someone to care for your pets while you’re away is a huge responsibility. The stress and anxiety of hiring a pet sitter can often times become very un-welcomed, but necessary, a burden.
However, the burden you feel now will be worth it! The energy and footwork ensures you will be able to enjoy your long-awaited vacation later by leaving your pets in the very best of care. It’s really all about knowing which questions to ask and as with anything else, if you don’t know the right questions to ask, you won’t ask them. So that’s where we step in.
Here are 8 very important questions to ask your prospective pet sitters before you even begin to pack those bags.
1. Does the pet sitter provide a free meet and greet?
Any pet sitter who has been around the block a time or two will actually require a meet and greet. This time of consultation will let you and the pet sitter size each other up. The best pet sitter will want to make sure that they are the best fit for you AND your pets. Be prepared to ask questions but, also be prepared to answer a lot of questions, too! Be sure your pets are at home during this time because they will be part of the consultation process, too!
2. Is the pet sitter train in Pet First Aid and CPR?
Experienced pet sitters understand the value of Pet First Aid and CPR. Through experience, they realize that the actions taken during the first few moments following crisis/emergency situations can mean the difference between life and death for your pets. In fact, according to animal wellness magazine, preventable accidents are the leading cause of death among pets. Additionally, the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) indicates that one in four animals could be saved by using techniques in pet first aid.
3. Is the pet sitter employed by a professional pet sitting company or an independent contractor?
When placing your pets and home in the hands of what essentially boils down to a stranger, you should seriously consider using a pet sitter that is employed by a license, bonded and insured company. Safety and security are paramount and provides additional peace of mind while you are away.
4. Does the pet sitter have an emergency plan in place?
You know the old saying about assumptions, right? The best pet sitters will have a plan in place to address all potential emergencies. Even if they have never experienced certain emergencies while caring for pets, they should have well-laid plans for all possible scenarios. During the consultation, ask! Be specific, too.
5. Has the pet sitter been screened?
Professionals will put all employees through background checks. When inviting a stranger into your home to care for your pets and secure your home, you will want that added assurance that you are leaving your pets and home in the best of hands. You may also want to ask what type of screening the company or individual has been through. If you are hiring an independent contractor or someone that is not part of a company, you will need to do that background check yourself.
6. Will the pet sitter provide you with a contract?
All services provided should be laid out in a contract. This will protect you and the pet sitter. There should be no grey areas when enlisting the services of a pet sitter. This is the most concrete piece of information denoting the expectations of the pet and pet parent.
7. What experience does the pet sitter have?
Longevity is key when selecting the best pet sitter for your pet. While longevity isn’t everything, a pet sitter who has been around a while will be more likely to know how to deal with emergencies and other situations should they arise. The best pet sitter will also come with plenty of references. Follow up with those references. With social media and the internet at your fingertips, it’s easy to follow up and references as well as do a general “shout out” to look for unsolicited references.
8. Will the pet sitter keep you informed while you’re away? How?
This is so important ant. You don’t do hop a plane to Mexico and never give another thought to your pet’s safety. Ask your pet sitter how her or she plans to keep you up to date on your pet’s status. Most pet sitters will send daily text messages or photos while you’re away. You will feel so much better if you know your pet is enjoying his vacation while you are enjoying yours. Additionally, many pet sitters now use GPS tracking and puppy cams as an additional layer of security and peace of mind.
Hiring a Pet Sitter When You’re Ready
Choosing the best pet sitter is a huge responsibility but doing some work ahead of time could possibly save your pet’s life and/or prevent a horrible experience for your pet! Remember to be specific when asking questions and be sure to ask for all guarantees in writing. Do your work now so you can enjoy your vacation later.
Nicole founded Miami Pet Concierge in May 2007, with a mission to provide Miami, Florida’s pet parents with personalized pet care plans based on their pets’ species, age, breed, health, and lifestyle. All while keeping their pets “happy at home.” In addition, offering pet care education for all pet owners to guide them to become great pet parents.