Taking your pet on vacation can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. It’s a lot to coordinate, especially if you’re traveling out of town. If you have a dog or cat, the biggest challenge might just be finding someone to take care of them when you’re gone. It’s no small thing to leave your pet in another person’s care for an extended period of time. You should only trust another person with your pet if you know them well and feel confident they understand the responsibilities that come with pet ownership. A pet sitter is not the same as a dog walker or kennel operator; these services are different from pet sitting because they tend to be less personal and more transactional—more like hiring a stranger than inviting one into your home so they can spend quality time with your pet every day while you’re away.
What is a pet sitter?
A pet sitter is a person who visits your home to take care of your pet(s) while you’re away. Pet sitters walk, feed, and clean up after pets, and they can also administer any necessary medications. They can also offer emotional support and companionship for pets who don’t typically like being left alone. Before the internet made it easy to find a pet sitter, people usually found one through word of mouth—asking friends or neighbors who had a pet-sitting service. Now, there are websites dedicated to connecting pet owners with pet sitters. A good pet sitter is someone who is reliable, responsible, and has experience taking care of a wide range of pets. Ideally, you should be able to get a sitter’s references and read reviews from prior pet sitting clients to get a better idea of whether they’re a good fit. Pet sitters charge a fee for their services, which is usually based on the frequency of visits. Some services offer flat rates for certain lengths of visits, while others charge by the hour.
Responsibilities of a Good Pet Sitter
The highest priority of a good pet sitter is to care for the pet(s) while they are in their care. This means feeding them on schedule, both indoor and outdoor pets; providing fresh water and making sure their water bowl isn’t contaminated by their food; cleaning up after them; and making sure their litter boxes remain clean and odor-free. Good pet sitters also keep an eye out for signs of illness or injury. They know what symptoms to look for and know when to alert the pet owner to a potential problem. If your pet becomes ill or injured while being cared for by a pet sitter, they should know when to call a veterinarian and who to call.
Why Use a Pet Sitter?
If you can’t find a friend or family member to take care of your pet while you’re away, then a pet sitter is the next best option. There are several good reasons to hire a pet sitter rather than just boarding your pet at a kennel. First, many pets don’t like to be left at a kennel. If you board your pet, they’ll probably spend the majority of their time alone in a cage. At home, they can spend their time sleeping or exploring as they please, but at a kennel, they’re stuck in that cage all day every day. When you hire a pet sitter, your pet doesn’t have to spend any time in a cage, and they can go about their daily routine as usual. Plus, the pet sitter can take them on walks and play with them to help them pass the time.
The Pros of Using a Professional Pet Sitter
If you hire a professional pet sitter, they’ll know how to care for your specific pet(s). They can follow your specific feeding and medication schedules, and they can also administer first aid if they notice any lacerations or wounds that need to be cleaned and dressed. A professional pet sitter can also administer any necessary vaccinations, even if your pet sits on a vaccination schedule that’s different from yours. Some vaccinations, like the rabies vaccine, have a strict expiration date, and you might not have time to take a pet to the vet and get them vaccinated before a trip. A professional pet sitter can also make sure your pet gets enough exercise. You might have a dog that loves to go for walks, but you might not have time to take them on a long walk every day before you leave for your trip. A pet sitter can help make sure your dog gets enough exercise before you leave.
The Cons of Using a Professional Pet Sitter
There are a few downsides to hiring a pet sitter. First, they may not follow your specific feeding and medication schedule. If they don’t know what your pet’s normal feeding schedule is, they may not give them the right amount of food, and they may administer the wrong medication. This could lead to a serious health issue, so it’s important to make sure whoever is caring for your pet knows exactly what to do. A professional pet sitter can’t provide the same level of emotional support as a friend or family member who knows your pet well. Your pet may be less stressed out if they’re at home with someone they know and trust, even if they don’t get as much exercise or attention.
How to Find a Reputable Pet Sitter
If you decide to hire a pet sitter, you need to make sure you hire someone trustworthy. A good way to do this is to get recommendations from friends and family members who use pet sitters themselves. You should also check online review sites like Yelp and Google to see what other pet owners have to say about the pet sitters in your area. You should expect to pay a pet sitter what they’re worth, but there are ways to save money on pet sitting fees. One way is to ask for references and call the people who used the pet sitter in the past to get a better idea of what to expect from this service. You can also ask the pet sitter for a quote and then see if you can negotiate a lower price.
Taking care of your pet while you’re away is a big responsibility. If no one in your social circle is able or willing to take care of your pet for you, then a professional pet sitter is the next best option. However, you should make sure you hire a reliable pet sitter. You can find a pet sitter through online resources or through your veterinarian’s office.