As any parent knows, leaving your baby is very hard to do—you wouldn’t just entrust them with any babysitter you find on the street! This rings true for pet parents, too.
Finding a pet sitter may seem easy, but finding one who’s reliable, likable and knows exactly what they’re doing is a bit of a challenge. But when it comes to little Buddy … challenge accepted.
Here’s five ways you can make sure you’re finding a reliable pet sitter for your furbaby:
1. Go Online
There are several websites you can use to fulfill your cat and dog boarding needs, including petsitter.org, dogvacay.com and Angie’s List. Like other online shopping, the good part about searching for sitters online is that most websites offer reviews and recommendations from people who have already used their services. This way you can form educated opinions and narrow your list of options before beginning to contact potential sitters.
2. Ask Your Friends
Check with your friends and family who live in the area to see if they’ve had any good experiences they can pass along. And don’t forget to utilize other renters in your apartment building!
If you’re taking your dog out at the same time as another dog owner in the building, ask them if they know of anyone reliable. Some apartment buildings also have community bulletin boards, so check there to see if people have posted about wanting pet sitter jobs or just post your own “help wanted” sign.
3. Know How to Interview
After you’ve found someone who seems to be a good candidate, make sure you’re prepared for your interview with them so you leave it with all the information you need. Here are a few things you might want to cover in an interview with a potential pet sitter:
Have they had a criminal background check done, or do they mind if you want to get one?
Do they have any professional training or certification? Many professional pet sitters list their certification up front. If they don’t, just check with them during the interview.
Are they insured? Believe it or not, professional pet sitters are usually legally required to have insurance. This protects you from being left with damage or an injured pet and nothing to do about it.
What’s their schedule like around the holidays? In case you want to travel during the holiday season, see if your potential pet sitter would be available. It’s a busy season for sitters, so it’s possible they’re already booked or traveling themselves.
What’s their daily schedule like? People have different expectations, so make sure you know up front how much time they actually have day-by-day to spend time with your furry friend.
How much money are they hoping to make?
4. Check Their References
Most pet sitters are fine with giving you references, so use them to your advantage. Check with the references about their overall impression of the person, and ask more specific questions about how they were able to handle the animal.
See if the references are okay with telling you how much they paid the pet sitter—if it was substantially more than you’re offering, you might want to make sure the potential sitter is okay with it.
5. Make Sure Buddy Likes Them
One of the best things you can do when looking for a pet sitter is to make sure they like your animal and your animal likes them. Set up a “playdate,” and let them spend some time together at home and even on a walk. Because if Buddy’s not happy, you’re not happy.
Finding a reliable pet sitter can be a lot of work, but it’s absolutely worth it when you can leave your precious pet with someone you know you can count on.