Going on vacation or leaving for an extended work trip come with a long to-do list before you can take off. While you’re thinking about what to pack and all of your travel arrangements, don’t forget to consider what you want to do about pet care. Arranging care for your animals can be super-stressful, but you have several options for your pet’s care while you’re away: You can board them at a kennel or at your veterinarian’s office; you can leave them with a friend or family member; or you can hire a professional pet sitter. Hiring a pet sitter is often a very economical way to go, and it offers safety benefits while you’re away as well.
How to Find a Pet Sitter
Ideally, you’ll want to hire someone who will either stay in or drop by your home a couple times a day. Maintaining your pet’s routine can help prevent separation anxiety, and having someone at the house will also ensure that someone is there when you’re away.
You can start the hunt for a sitter by asking friends and family or your veterinarian for recommendations. Sites such as Angie’s List, Nextdoor, often have recommendations. You can also search the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters or Pet Sitters International websites for sitters in your area.
Once you find a pet sitter, it’s important to interview them. Some question you’ll want to ask include:
As with any personal service, you’ll want to ensure that you’re both on the same page when it comes to expectations. If you’re hiring someone to drop in, make sure you know how many visits will occur each day, as well as when the sitter will stop by. Are walks or runs included in her fee or just feeding and 15 minutes of play time? Also, if your pet has any medical concerns (such as needing to take medication) or behavior issues, you should make sure the sitter is comfortable managing these needs while you're gone. And be sure to ask for (and check) references!
What to Do Once You’ve Hired a Sitter
Much like parents leaving a checklist for the babysitter, you should always leave a checklist for your pet sitter. Include important information such as:
Put your pet’s food, treats, leash and collar all in an easy-to-find location. If you have a cat, make sure the litter is also easily accessible. If your sitter is going to stay at your house, before you leave, make sure he knows how to operate any security systems and home electronics, where your bath linens are, whether eating food in the fridge and pantry are permitted, and be sure to provide your wifi password!
Once you establish a relationship with a sitter you trust, your pets will feel at ease, and you should feel comfortable leaving home without worrying about their care and safety.
Marlow Ball DVM, Little Rock Housecall Veterinarian, is Here to Help
At No Place Like Home Arkansas Veterinary, we offer a number of basic services in the comfort of your home, including annual wellness visits, vaccinations, geriatric visits, and in home pet euthanasia. We're also happy to refer you to pet sitters we recommend.