Our pets are important to us, and the first time we’re away from them can be tough. The best way to put your mind at ease would be the knowledge that your furry friend is in the capable hands of an experienced pet sitter.
But how do you find the right one? And how do you make sure that he / she is a good fit for your pet?
We know it can be difficult especially if it is your first time, so we’ve put together a list of quick tips for you!
Plan ahead of time
Every pet sitter has their own availability and schedule, and some have regular clients who book them frequently on certain days. Hence, if you are already aware of the duration and period you will need a pet sitter, start your search as soon as possible! Experienced sitters, especially ones with good reviews and reputations, may have a large amount of bookings, and searching in advance will ensure that you are able to get the one you want.
Planning ahead is not just about the dates you’re away, but also:
- Location: Would you prefer having a pet sitter stay at your home, or bringing your pet over to his / her house?
- Arrangement: Is the pet sitter required to do any specific tasks? E.g. walking your pet, taking him to the vet / groomer, etc.
Taking these factors into account will help you narrow your search. If you delay, you may find yourself settling for a pet sitter whom you’re not comfortable with, or forced to find other alternatives that may be a hassle to arrange.
Check out reviews / references
If you intend to hire a pet sitter from pet community sites such as Furwy, be sure to read through the reviews and ratings of other pet owners. Generally, such sites will allow users to contribute their experiences, and offer advice for those looking to work with the same sitter. These reviews are not just to help you understand if a pet sitter is good, but also to see if he / she is suitable for your pet as every sitter has their own strengths and weaknesses.
If you are hiring a pet sitter through word-of-mouth, ask them for their references. Chances are, most of them will have at least a couple of testimonials from past clients whom they have worked with.
As you read through the pet sitter’s reviews and references, take note of the details, and look out for owners whose pets were similar to yours. Was the pet sitter up to their standards? Did they encounter any issues throughout the pet sitting arrangement? What advice did they provide
Knowing this information will allow you to understand your potential pet sitter better.
To find the right pet sitter, reading the information provided on their profiles is simply not enough. If you wish to gain a better idea of whether they could potentially be a good fit, the best way to do so would be to ask them. Most sitters understand that pet owners are cautious when choosing, hence they’re generally more than happy to answer any questions you may have.
Some of the questions you can ask include:
- Does the pet sitter have other pets at home?
- How long is the pet sitter able to care for your pet?
- Does the pet sitter have experience caring for other pets?
- Is the pet sitter experienced with handling pets of a certain nature (e.g. reserved, hyperactive, with a disability, etc)?
- Can the pet sitter care for your type of pet?
- Does the pet sitter have any experience handling emergencies?
Do a trial run
After planning in advance, reading through reviews and references, and asking the pet sitters questions, the most important thing you need to do is to check with your pet. Regardless of how much you’ve prepared, it is ultimately up to your furry friend to determine if he is comfortable with the pet sitter, someone whom he has never met before.
As such, it is best if you hire the pet sitter at least once before your planned trip for a day or two. Try the arrangement you’re intending to carry out – such as having the pet sitter stay at your home or bringing your pet over to the sitter’s house – and see if your pet is comfortable with it. This not only provides you with the opportunity to take note of any kinks that need to be ironed out, but also helps you foresee any potential problems that may occur, allowing you enough time to plan and prepare.
During the trial run, talk to your pet sitter as much as possible to understand how he / she works, and make sure that he / she is able to bond well with your pet!
Provide them with the information they need
No matter how experienced the pet sitter is, he / she will never know your pet as well as you do. To ensure a smooth experience, prepare a list of things your sitter needs to know and be aware of.
These details can include:
- To-do list (dog walking, household chores if he / she is staying at your home, and grooming appointments)
- Contact numbers (your pet’s vet and groomer, family and friends who can make decisions if you’re uncontactable)
- What to do in case of emergencies (who to contact and visit if your pet falls sick)
- Essentials (where your pet’s medications are kept, the food to be given during each meal time, and when to bring him for a walk)
All these information can help your pet sitter understand what to do, and maintaining a routine (such as the same meals and walks) will help your pet feel more comfortable while you’re away!
Your first time away from your furry friend can be nerve wrecking, but with the help of the right pet sitter, it can be a fuss-free experience. Don’t forget to ask your sitter for photos and videos to keep you updated while you’re gone!