As a lifelong pet lover and owner, I know a little something about the struggle of finding the right place for your pet to stay while you’re out of town for work or on vacation. So as a professional dog sitter and slightly neurotic dog mom, I’d like to share what I believe are the top signs of an excellent pet sitter.
1. They love dogs
You know how you can just tell when someone’s a “dog person” and a true animal lover? Someone who doesn’t even hesitate to get down on their knees to say hello and receive some wet kisses from a new furry friend, and treats their own pets as another member of their family, no questions asked?
Well, those are some of the most important values your pet sitter should have. It almost goes without saying, but while you’re away traveling, you want to be sure your pet is in the best hands, and receiving all the love and attention you would give them at home. After all, this is why you are electing to go with an in-home pet sitter rather than putting your dog in a kennel, right?
First impressions really can tell you a lot about a person, and if your potential pet sitter hits it off immediately with your dog during your first meeting, that’s a good sign of things to come.
2. They’re professional and knowledgeable
Experience alone isn’t everything, but being knowledgable of animals, currently owning their own pet, or having a history of living with pets, is definitely an important part of a pet sitter’s well-rounded development. Pet sitters with higher experience levels are more likely to know how to tackle unexpected issues during your dog’s stay, such as separation anxiety or a medical emergency.
If you’re unsure of your pet sitter’s resume, don’t hesitate to ask for details regarding their work history. Often you can detect a sitter’s expertise and professionalism in your initial conversation by the types of questions they ask you about your pet. As any experienced sitter knows, the more information they gather on your pet’s likes, dislikes, habits, and routines, the better they can care for your pet.
A great pet sitter will always want to meet you and your pet in-person before you book your first stay, so be wary of sitters not willing to open their home to you for a meet-and-greet before your pet’s planned booking.
3. They provide cost and availability up front
The entire point of finding an excellent pet sitter is to be able to rely on their services when you need them. A pro sitter will provide you with a calendar of their availability for all services up front. If you’re looking to build a long-term relationship with your new sitter, be candid regarding your needs moving forward so you can weed out any sitters who may not have the bandwidth you’re looking for.
A respectable pet sitter will also be transparent in giving you all the information regarding their pricing. When you pick up your pet at the end of a stay, you should never have any surprise charges you didn’t previously discuss with your sitter.
4. They offer an appropriate living environment for dogs
You not only want to ensure that your sitter is great with dogs but also that their home offers a secure living environment for your dog to stay in. A seasoned pet sitter will make certain their home is comfortable to host four-legged guests, and also will have safeguards in place to protect your pet from getting injured inside and outside of the home.
For example, if your sitter has an in-ground pool, they will make sure to cover it up or fence it in, and if they host smaller dogs, they will prevent them from escaping the yard by securing gaps in the fencing or around backyard gates.
5. They’re reliable and have referrals, reviews, and a support network
If you don’t have family nearby to watch your pet, have used up all your favors for your friends to host your cat or dog while you’re on vacation, or you’re a frequent traveler who needs a more routine sitter to be available for your pet, finding a reliable pet sitter is essential.
If you’re old-school, try asking your veterinarian for any local sitter recommendations they may have. For a more convenient approach, visit a trusted pet sitting website (and handy app) like rover.com where you can find local pet sitters in your area. Rover pet sitters are not only rated and reviewed by other pet parents in your neighborhood, but they’re also backed by an incredible support network to provide you with the best possible service and experience.
6. They ask detailed questions
A plan of action in case of emergency is very important for both you and the pet sitter. A great pet sitter will be proactive about knowing your pet’s health needs, veterinary contact information, and your preferences for your pet’s care.
In other words, it’s a good sign when they ask questions! The more information they have, the better your pet’s experience will be.
By remembering these signs of an excellent pet sitter when planning for your next trip, you’ll have no problem leaving your pet with your great new sitter. Start your sitter search on Rover today and follow these steps to finding the perfect dog sitter.