I am an animal lover. I have two cats that I love more than I probably should love since they either don't care that I exist or are plotting my early death, and I also have a precious ball of fluff, my Shih Tzu, who loves me more than I deserve. When I go away on vacation, I leave them in the care of others, and so far, so good — I definitely vetted my pet sitter closely. And it turns out, you should, too. Here are some questions to ask a pet sitter before you hire them, because you want Rufus to be safe and happy.
With apps like Rover, Wag, and SitterCity, pet owners have more options than ever before for finding care for their furred or feathered friends while they're away on vacation. However, not all sitters are made alike. That's why it's key to conduct a thorough investigation into not only the service you're hiring, but to carefully interview the pet sitter themselves to determine if they're a good fit for Fido. Maybe you have an iguana and your pet sitter will be squeamish feeding them flies. Perhaps your Shiba Inu is special needs, and they're not ready for that level of care. All of this can be determined with a good interview and good overall evaluation.
1What's Your Experience? (& Is It Relevant To Your Animal?)
This is probably the most important question you will ask, according to PetSit.com. This person might have 10 years of petsitting experience with cats and chihuahuas, but you have a great dane and a fish. It's not really applicable. You have to get down to the nitty gritty and see if they're a good match.
2Can You Meet My Animal First?
According to The Dodo, it's important for not only you to meet your pet's eventual sitter, but also your pet. It could very well be that you get along like Laverne and Shirley with the pet sitter, but your pet snake, Salazar Slytherin, thinks she's delicious. That's a real problem that can be addressed with a meet and greet.
Unless you have cats, because, let's be honest, can we ever really be sure that they like you? Not really. My cat, Kilgore Trout, is on my lap right now, purring like a machine, and only 10 minutes ago, the blimey thing bit me.
3Are You Insured & Bonded With A Clean Criminal Record?
In most states, pet sitters must be insured and bonded to take care of your pet. Services will provide proof of this, but individual contractors must show you on their own. Also, you're often inviting these people into your home, with your valuables. I'm not saying that you can't or shouldn't hire anyone who doesn't have the squeakiest of records, but home invasion or armed robbery should give you pause.
4Ask For References & Check Them
You want solid, dependable references that pan out. They should be able to give you other clients who have been satisfied with their services, and who would recommend them to a friend. Yelp is not always the best way to do this; we know how biased those accounts can be. You want one-on-one references, and they should be able to provide them.
5How Much & What's Included?
"How much" seems obvious, but less obvious is the question, "what's included?" For instance, will they take your dog to the vet if need be? Will they clean up after your animal? Clean the cage, keep the water refreshed? Brush your akita? Give meds? You need a run down of costs and extras to make sure it fits your needs and your budget.
6What's Your Emergency Plan?
What happens if your pet gets off the leash? What if they consume something on the street or need other medical care? Does your sitter know what to do? Do they have a means of getting your pet to the vet if they have to? If so, will they take them to your preferred veterinarian? I Heart Dogs suggests that you make a plan and talk to your sitter about it.