Leaving your pet behind may be difficult. Although you might want your four-legged friend to come with you everywhere, sometimes it is not always possible.
Finding a responsible, trustworthy dog sitter is the next best thing. They will provide the same care, attention, support and excitement while you are away. Finding the ideal dog sitter, however, is tricky. The more time you invest looking for and vetting the sitter, the happier and more comfortable you will be with the quality and service.
So, what are some of the things you would need to look out for?
1. Trustworthy and reliable – this point perhaps is one of the most important one as your pet and home will be in the sitter’s hands. They would be trustworthy and reliable when: the sitter returns your messages in a timely manner, does not cancel your meeting, is punctual and excited when meeting your canine, comes with references and they are highly recommended by others.
2. They have a dog (ideally the same breed as yours). This one is a no-brainer. If they have the same breed of dog as you, then you know this sitter is the best one from the batch. If, on the other hand, they never looked after the same breed, then it is highly advisable that at least they have looked after dogs in their life. People who never looked after dogs are generally not reacquainted with the patterns and habits of pooches so ideally avoid people with zero dog sitting experience. This brings me to point number three.
3. Check motivation and experience – It is no secret that people who are clear animal lovers would have the passion and experience to back it up. Checking their background would ensure exactly how motivated they are for looking after your dog versus those who are just interested in boosting their income.
4. Ask for references – all the best sitters come recommended. That is why it is important to select sitter who come with references. It is important to ask whether the previous dog owner was happy with the sitter and if they would recommend them to their family. A couple references should be sufficient.
5. Insurance and first aid training – only professional sitters or those signed up to pet sitting platforms come with insurance. It is unlikely that your local friendly neighbour has one (but you could always ask!). It is highly recommended to have insurance for the duration of the sitting as accident happen all the time especially with dogs. When it comes to training, if the pet sitter has any relevant qualifications such as first aid or behaviourist training, it would be beneficial for cases of emergency and discipline.
6. Seeing is believing! Try them out. Even if they tick all the boxes mentioned above, there is no guarantee that they would get on with your dog or vice versa. Meet up with them. This would also be an excellent opportunity to have a walk and talk together and see them in action and how they behave around your pooch!
7. Signing an agreement (where possible) – Although this may not be a mandatory point, it is worth noting that having things written down gives both the owner and the pet sitter piece of mind. This includes any terms, conditions, liabilities and responsibilities as it helps to avoid any misunderstandings over payment, damages, loss, extra costs, etc. Many local pet sitters would not likely have one. However, those that do show exactly how motivated and reliable they can be (this could be another point in your vetting process).
Finding the ideal pet sitter can be hard but don’t give up. Keep looking and be assured that when you find them, it would be worth it.
If you are pressed for time, however, there are online pet sitting platform that do all the hard work and vetting for you. Max and Kitty pet sitting is one such website where they match you with local trustworthy and vetted pet sitters. What’s more is that their sitters come insured and supported in case of emergency. You can visit their website at http://www.maxkitty-petsitting.co.uk/ for more info.
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