Leaving your dog under the care of a pet sitter can be an anxiety-inducing thought for many pet parents, particularly for first-time pet owners who have adopted their canine companions during the height of the pandemic. However, this seems to be the best course of action right now, especially since many workplaces are gearing to accept office-based employees again. Indeed, getting a reliable dog sitter is one of the best ways to ensure that your pup will get the attention and activity they need while you’re working outside of your home.
It’s not easy to entrust just about anyone with your fur baby. Of course, you want to work with a pet sitter whom you can trust. To do this, you must carefully screen all prospective dog sitters that may come your way. Here are some of the questions that you can ask to determine if a candidate is well-matched to the needs of your family:
How Much Experience Do You Have When It Comes to Caring for Canines?
Some pet sitters build a full-time career out of caring for their clients’ dogs, while others do it as a part-time job and as a way to interact with pets. A more experienced pet sitter will likely charge more for their services, while newbies often offer more affordable rates. Aside from helping you determine your pet-sitting budget, asking about your pet sitter’s level of experience can help you find out if your pet sitter is capable of handling pets with their own peculiarities.
What Does a Typical Workday Look Like for You, or How Do You Operate Your Business?
Will the pet sitter be there the whole day, or will they check with your pet now and then? Will they provide your pet with custom dog collars or other supplies while they’re on duty, or will they work with the items you have at home? What activities can you expect your pet to be a part of during pet sitting sessions? Asking these questions will help you find out if the pet sitter is a good fit for your schedule and can match your preferences.
Have You Received Training in Practical Pet-related Skills, Such as Dog CPR?
Behavioral training or skill in administering dog CPR is a good sign if your pet needs expert assistance or additional training. These skills are also a plus if your pet has chronic health issues that require special attention. Hiring a pet sitter with experience in training dogs can also help you establish a more disciplined or structured environment for your pet while you’re away.
Are You Willing to Put Our Agreement in Writing and Sign a Pet-sitting Contract?
Experienced pet sitters will bring a contract with them so that you know exactly what their services entail and what you can expect them to do while they’re in charge of your pet. Many career pet sitters also come with insurance coverage as a way of assuring their clients that their pets will be in good hands. Having a bond as well as pet sitter-specific liability insurance is a sign that your pet sitter has undergone background checks beforehand.
How Do You Deal with Difficult Dogs or Challenging Situations While on the Job?
What’s your pet sitter’s game plan for when there’s an emergency, like extreme weather, or if your pet needs maintenance medication for some time? What’s the sitter’s protocol in case your dog escapes or gets lost during a walk, and how can they prevent these from happening while they’re in charge? You can go over your pet sitter’s established emergency protocols or agree on one before you sign any contract.
Can You Provide References or a List of Your Previous Clients?
Talking with the pet sitter’s previous clients will help you get a good idea of what the experience of working with your prospective pet sitter is actually like. If the previous or ongoing clients are happy with the services of the pet sitter, then you’ll likely also find the applicant’s services satisfactory. Before calling the references, make sure that you have a list of questions to ask them to keep your conversation short and straight to the point.
Finally, it’s also important to check if your prospective pet sitter gets along well with your pet dog. Earning the trust of a pet is a process in and of itself. That said, it’s your role as a pet owner to introduce your pet and pet sitter to each other and ensure that they are comfortable in each other’s presence. If the practice visits go well and your dog is able to view the pet sitter as a trusted person, then you’ll be more at ease with leaving your fur baby home while you work.