How to Choose the Best Pet Sitter

Most people cringe at the thought of leaving their pet in a kennel or boarding facility.  I can understand why since I’ve worked for at least three different boarding facilities and based on the ‘insider’ knowledge I’ve gained, I would NEVER leave my precious pet there unless I had no other option.  Choosing the right pet sitter is the best solution available.

Your pet is an important family member, so it’s crucial to find the right pet sitter to keep your dog or cat happy and healthy while you’re away.

10 Tips On How To Hire The Perfect Pet Sitter

You should consider several things when hiring your pet sitter.  Don’t skimp on any step.  The safety of your pet and your home depend on it.

  • Get recommendations for the perfect pet sitter from people you trust.

The very first thing you’ll want to do is ask friends and family members if they are happy with their current pet sitter and take that information.  Also ask if they’ve had a bad experience and steer clear from any company or individual that is mentioned.

  • Find out how long they’ve been pet sitting and what experience they have.

Stay away from an inexperienced pet sitter.  Experience is everything when it comes to caring for other people’s pets.  The Pet Parlor has been in business for over 25 years.  The average lifespan of a professional pet sitting company is between 3-4 years.  If you can find a company that’s stayed in business longer than that it’s worth exploring further.

  • Look for the highest ratings on the Google and Yelp.

Google, Facebook, Yelp and other online reviews do count for something, but be careful.  If the company has a string of 5-star rating that’s great!  Keep in mind that companies like Yelp may hide 5-star reviews under greyed-out headings like “reviews not recommended” because the pet sitting (or other) company being reviewed isn’t willing to pay Yelp for those valid reviews.  This means to be easily seen by prospective clients you have to PAY Yelp and only THEN will they easily show the reviews.  Yelp says that our company has 2 reviews.  We actually have 11 more ‘not recommended’ according to Yelp.  Check out the reviews that Yelp doesn’t think will be helpful to prospective clients (because we told them we won’t pay to have these reviews seen) : Check out our Not Recommended Reviews for The Pet Parlor on Yelp

Read every review (good and bad).  Read the reviews and the company response.  Sometimes people get ‘credit’ for reviewing companies they’ve never actually done business with – this could be less than a 5-star review and hurt the reputation of the company.

  • Check the sitter’s level of expertise.

Let’s face it: Some pets require special care.  It’s simply not true that all there is to caring for pets is to put some fresh food and water down every day.  A pet’s attitude and demeanor has to be monitored while they are at home and their people are away.  There are things to be aware of and watch for and if your sitter doesn’t have enough experience, they might not know what to do if a pet won’t eat.  They might not know what to do if a pet shows signs of separation anxiety.  A professional pet sitter will know how to handle different situations to best care for your pets and your home.

  • Ask for references from the sitter.

A professional pet sitter will have several references to provide for you.  You should absolutely call these people if a phone number is provided.  If references aren’t available, look on their website and/or Facebook page for valid references.  If you don’t find any, do not choose this pet sitter.

  •  Look at the sitter’s qualifications and how they fit for your particular situation.

Everyone’s dog and cat is unique.  They each have their own level of care needs.  A professional pet sitter will know and understand this. She will do everything possible to keep your pets special routines.  Do you have an older dog?  If so, what kind of experience does your pet sitter have with older pets and their unique needs.  Do you have a dog that requires medication?  How comfortable is your prospective pet sitter administering medications?

Pet owner holding bowl with feeding for his hungry cat at home kitchen.

  • Check the pet sitter’s insurance: Make sure that the pet sitter is covered for liability, fire and theft.

Professionals in the pet care industry take their responsibilities very seriously and will have insurance.  This will protect you and the sitter in the event of an accident. Being willing to pay yearly for insurance shows that your sitter is concerned about taking the best care of your pets, house, etc.

  • Does the pet sitter have a website?

Having a website in this day and age is a must for a professional pet sitting companies.  It sets your sitter a step above the hobby sitter.  Read How To Spot A “Hobbyist Pet Sitter”

  • Always meet in person

A professional pet care provider will always come to meet you in person to learn how to best care for your pets and your home.  They will ask questions and they should take notes.  They will ask questions about your pet’s care and how you’d like them to make your home looked occupied while you’re gone.  They may even have a few suggestions that will help.

  • Pay attention to how they interact with your pet when you meet in person.

When your potential sitter comes to meet with you, watch carefully how they interact with your pet. Watch how your pet responds to the sitter.  If the sitter has too high an energy level and doesn’t know to ‘tone it down’ to make your pet more comfortable, you may want to look elsewhere.

If you keep everything in mind and take the time necessary to check references, reviews, etc. you should be able to find the perfect pet sitter.  We’d love it to be The Pet Parlor if you’re local – just Click “create an account” to get started!