For dog owners who travel a lot, the move to hire a dog sitter can be a clever one. Your dog clearly can’t go everywhere with you so why not get someone back home to care for him as you would. The hard part is finding the right individual for the job. Sometimes your friends or family members who you should have called to help look after your canine just aren’t up to the task, as they may lack the expertise required to properly care for dogs. For this reason, it becomes imperative to look for and hire a professional who can get the job done – a dog sitter.
But not every dog sitter is good enough and should be hired by you. So, how do you tell a prospective sitter is qualified for the job?
To answer that, here’s a list of 20 things you shouldn’t forget to look out for in a prospective sitter, and questions you shouldn’t forget to ask before hiring one to care for your dog(s).
- Find Out Their Level of Experience
This is one of the most important factors to consider before hiring a dog sitter. Find out the level of experience she has with caring for dogs and if the sitter has worked with a dog of the same breed, temperament, age, health condition and energy as yours.
- See If They Are Passionate About Dogs
Is she super crazy about dogs? The individual you intend hiring to take care of your pooch while you’re away on a trip should be someone who’s shown a great passion for dogs. When you met with her, did she display a passion for dogs and a desire to love your dog like it was hers?
- Location Factor
During a meet and greet, ask the potential dog sitter if she’s okay with the idea of coming over to your place. This is important as your dog might need to be in an environment he’s familiar with. If it won’t be possible for her to come to your place, consider taking your dog on a visit to her place just to get him familiar with the environment. Also, inspect to see if her place is safe enough for your pooch.
- Ensure They Have A Clean Record
In the case where a dog sitter agrees to come over to care for your canine friend in your absence, it is important to do a thorough background check on the sitter, to make sure she has a clean record before she’s let into your home.
- How Great Are They At Communication
Good dog sitters aren’t just great at taking care of dogs; they know how to communicate too. A sitter you wish to hire must have people skills and be willing to provide you with steady updates on how your dog is faring while you’re away.
- Accurate Reading Of A Dog’s Body Language
This is another skill you should look out for in a dog sitter. A dog sitter who’s experienced and passionate about dogs should have no problem deciphering the body language of dogs, and also know all about the basic needs of dogs.
- Find Out If Your Canine Is Comfortable Around Her
See if your dog gets along with the prospective sitter when you meet. Remember the whole idea of getting the perfect sitter for your dog is to make him feel comfortable and happy while you’re away. If it turns out your dog doesn’t seem comfortable around this individual, please look for some other caregiver.
- Qualification Check
Don’t just hire any caregiver, make sure she has received formal training as a dog sitter and is certified by a reputable organisation to care for dogs. It would be best to request a copy of their certificate just so you can confirm it is legit and current.
- Ask To Know If They’re Able To Handle Medical Emergencies
A dog sitter who’s well knowledgeable on how to handle emergencies and administer pet first aid treatment/canine CPR is a great choice.
- How Much Care Will Your Dog Be Receiving
Before hiring a dog sitter, it’s important to ask about the level of care your canine will be receiving. If it turns out the care they offer for their standard price doesn’t sit well with you, it’s best to look elsewhere.
- Hear Reviews From Other Clients They’ve Worked With
Reviews and references are a great way to determine if a dog sitter is really good at what she does. What reviews has she gotten in the course of her career? Good or bad? How many quality referrals has she earned? This is will guide you on making a choice that perfectly suits you and your dog.
- Choose A Sitter Who Will Give Your Dog Attention
A lot of dog sitters tend to work with several clients simultaneously. If a prospective sitter makes it clear she’ll be looking out for the dogs of other clients while at the same time taking care of yours, it’s best to let them go. When hiring a new dog sitter, it is important to choose someone who’ll give your dog all the companionship, care and attention he needs.
- Insurance and Bonding
Every professional pet sitter is expected to have insurance and bonding. It is imperative that you make sure a potential sitter for your dog has an authorized pet sitting policy that covers for a 3rd party liability. It will be very difficult and even impossible for a dog sitter who isn’t insured to cover certain expenses during cases of accidents. So ask to see a certificate of proof that she has got commercial liability insurance before hiring her.
- Know About Vets In The Area
A professional you intend hiring should know about the vet clinics in your location, and also know where to locate the closest emergency after-hours vet, just in case something goes wrong with your pooch at night.
- Ensure The Sitter Has A Backup
A dog sitter may fall ill when in the service of caring for your canine. When that occurs, what becomes the state of your dog? Is your canine left to care for himself? Before hiring a dog sitter, ask if she has someone who can help out if she ever falls ill while in your service.
- Find Out What Services The Dog Sitter Will Be Providing
Ask a prospective dog sitter if one or all the following are included in the service she offers: dog walking, play time, dog training and in-home grooming. This is important so as to know what to expect from a caregiver. The perfect sitter should be one that has no problem with taking your dog out for walks and giving your canine quality play time.
- Make Sure She’ll Have No Problem If Your Arrival Delays
Some things are just beyond our control. If it turns out your arrival delays a bit longer than expected, hiring the wrong sitter may mean your dog will be alone and lonely until you eventually return. This is why you should endeavor to ask a prospective sitter if she’ll be okay with caring for your canine if and when your arrival delays a bit.
- Ask If They Provide Overnight Dog Sitting
Older and younger dogs are fragile and need a caregiver at all times of the day, especially at night. If your canine is still a puppy or an old dog with a health condition, it is of dire importance that the sitter you hire is there for the dog even at night time.
- Hire A Sitter Who Is Of Good Behaviour
A sitter might have all the qualifications and experience needed, but if she isn’t well behaved, your dog might be at risk in her custody. Ensure the prospective sitter is someone who promises to respect your home and property. In the case where there are rules like no smoking in the house or loud music, ensure the prospective sitter learns about those rules and agrees to abide by them.
Everyone on a tight budget wishes to get things purchased at a lower price, but in the area of hiring a dog sitter, never choose to hire one because their price is incredibly low. Regardless of how much it will cost you, only go for an experienced and certified professional.
If a dog sitter you intend hiring meets all the criteria mentioned here, go ahead and have them hired. You can rest assured your dog will be in safe hands with them while you’re away.
Kritter Kommunity Contributor