Leaving your dog or cat with a pet sitter can be a nerve-wracking experience for many pet owners — especially if the sitter is someone you don’t know very well. But sometimes, hiring a new pet sitter is your only option.
At PetPonder, we’re here to help make sure your pets are happy and healthy. As such, we’ve created a list of five crucial questions to ask a pet sitter before leaving your dog, cat, or small pet in their care. We’ve also put together some suggestions on what to look for in your potential pet sitter’s responses to these questions.
What is your experience with pet sitting?
First and foremost, you should ask the pet sitter about their experience taking care of other people’s animals. All pets are different, and your sitter should understand how to care for animals of your pet’s age, size, and breed. Be sure that the length and type of their experience match up with your expectations for a pet sitter.
Do you have any pet sitting credentials or certifications?
In some cases, you might want your pet sitter to have extra qualifications on top of their professional experience. This comes down to personal preference and your comfort level with them. Many pet sitters are certified with either Pet Sitters International (PSI) or the National Association of Pet Sitters (NAPPS), both of which require someone to pass a test to earn their certification.
Do you stay with the pet at home, or would they need to stay at your home?
You should also establish whether the sitter would come to your home or you would need to drop your pet off with them. Some owners prefer to keep their animals at home where they’re comfortable. Others would rather maintain their privacy and leave their pet with the sitter. Either way, both parties need to be comfortable with the arrangement.
What would you do in case of an emergency?
Not only does this question assess your pet sitter’s experience in the field, but it also tests their quick-thinking skills to understand how they would respond under pressure to keep your pet safe. You want to know that your furry friend is in good hands, so look for someone who has a worst-case scenario plan while your pet is in their care.
Do you have any references?
Finally, before hiring a pet sitter that you don’t know, you should ask if they have any past clients who would vouch for their services. If they’ve been taking care of pets for a while, they should have at least one or two pet owners that they can use as references. Find out if you can get in touch with them to ask a few questions about their experience with the pet sitter.
Above all, you should have trust in the person who is watching your pet while you’re gone. Depending on their answers to these questions (and others you may have), you can get a better feel for their pet sitting style and qualifications.
For more pet ownership resources and ideas, check out the PetPonder blog.