When you head off on a break, pet care is often on the infinite list of things to do. And with pet sitters becoming a popular type of care for your furry, feathered or scaled friends, we’d like to help you start your search for the perfect person.
We’ve devised a list of our top tips on what to look for in your next pet sitter so that you can head off with peace of mind, knowing your pet is happy at home with their — and your — perfect sitter.
The top things you should look for in a pet sitter
1. Have they got previous pet sitting experience?
We appreciate that you may have a few sitters on your list that you’d like to look into a little further. The amount of information you are given can differ between pet sitters, and this usually depends on if they’re a private service or use a pet sitting website to give them a place to showcase themselves.
The best thing to look for is if they have previous experience handling animals, and this doesn’t need to be in its usual form. They could have simply cared for a friend's cat, pet sat for their parent's pooch or even worked as a veterinarian. All of these add up to valuable experience.
However, for private sitters, pet care is normally their livelihood. This means they’ll likely have qualifications, multiple reviews and testimonials displayed on their website, and for some, the prices that they charge.
House and pet sitters using a platform such as TrustedHousesitters would have come from all walks of life to start their journey pet sitting, but they all hold one thing in common — the love of pets. Their love of pets actually stands at the forefront of why they choose to go pet sitting, meaning they don’t charge a thing to come into your home and lovingly care for your pets when you’re away. Yes, no money is exchanged between owner and sitter, as everyone is doing it purely for the love of pets.
2. Do they suit your specific needs?
When finding your ideal sitter, it’s important that they suit your pet's needs, as well as your own. For example, if they’re an avid dog lover, it’s unlikely that they’ll have experience in looking after your pet hamster.
Additionally, it’s important to check that they’re willing to travel to your home, and will make the right arrangements to do so. You need to be confident that they can get to your home on time, so don’t confirm a sitter until you know they’re able to arrange the appropriate travel and can stay for your suited amount of time, whether that be long-term or a short weekend break.
With a pet sitting website and app, such as TrustedHousesitters, there are thousands of pet sitters across the globe patiently waiting to care for your pets, so it’s very likely that there will be one you’ll love at the time you need — just make sure to prepare your listing with enough time to arrange your ideal sitter. We recommend between one and three months — the longer you spend on your search, the more time you have to find the perfect person.
3. Are they willing to meet you?
We advise meeting face-to-face or via a video call prior to confirming a sit. If a sitter is willing to meet you first, it’s a great early sign that they’re committed to you and your pets.
During this meeting, we recommend asking them as many questions as you need to get a good idea of their personality and the kind of pet care they will provide. Here are some to get you started:
- How many pets have you looked after previously?
- What's your experience?
- Why would you like to look after my pet in particular?
- Will I be able to reach you easily while I am away?
- Do you have the right amount of time to care for my pet?
- Do you have any funny stories from times you’ve spent with animals?
(This question is a great one to get a feel for their personality!)
4. Do they connect with your pet?
When you’re asking the previous points, notice if they are taking interest and asking their own questions about your pet's habits or characteristics. This will let you know if they are truly interested and dedicated in getting to know your precious pet and their personal needs.
Most parents wouldn’t hire a babysitter without seeing how they interacted with their children first. And with many of us viewing our pet as a child, it makes sense to introduce potential sitters to our pets too. Don’t worry if they don’t seem like best buds at first. Your pet will probably take some time getting used to them, especially our feline friends who find it particularly difficult to warm up to people — here are some top tips from Cats Protection to help…
However, the alarm bells should ring if your pet looks very uncomfortable and the sitter doesn’t seem to be handling them correctly. A good pet sitter will recognise the needs of your pet and be able to respond to them well. For example, they should know when your cat has had enough of playtime or your dog is going overboard on dinner. Find the person that handles your pet with affection and love.
5. Are they covered?
When owners are on the lookout for their perfect sitter, a common question is “are you insured?” With many private pet sitters, having a license and insurance shows professionalism.
Depending on whether you choose a private pet sitter or a sitter from a website, make sure to do your research to ensure your happy with what it covers too. For example, TrustedHousesitters’ Insurance Backed Guarantee covers all sits confirmed through the platform, should something unexpected happen.
6. Do they work with a veterinarian?
Many pet sitters work alongside a veterinarian. This is an extra aid so that all pets under their care have emergency back up if something goes a bit pear-shaped. This is common among private pet sitters who choose pet care as their livelihood. TrustedHousesitters offers all its members, both pet owners and sitters, the choice to use their 24/7 Vet Advice Line. Here, the qualified team of veterinary nurses will be able to answer all your pet-related questions, whether that be about food habits, activity levels, or if you think there’s an emergency.
7. Are they trustworthy?
Remember, you’ll be giving them your spare keys and relying on them to keep your pet happy and your home safe while you're gone. All the above points are so important to give you the chance to decide whether you trust your chosen sitter. But, as with anything, if something doesn’t feel right always follow your gut.
Ready to find your perfect pet sitter?
We hope this helps you find the perfect pet sitter for your companion. Not only will you feel comfortable leaving your furry, feathered or scaled friend at home with your new sitter, but they’ll also love their new-found friend’s company while you’re away
If you want to know more and have any questions about pet sitters, or perhaps are interested in joining TrustedHousesitters, simply get in touch. Our Membership Services team is available and have plenty of top tips from their own experiences to help you get started.