As we quickly approach the summer travel season, today we have a a very timely guest post from Ashley Jacobs, the founder of Sitting for a Cause, a pet sitting website that donates 50% of their profits to animal-related causes. She is passionate about helping animals in need and resides in Newport Beach with her 8-year-old golden retriever, Diamond. Ashley offers valuable tips when searching for a reputable pet sitter.
As a dog mom, leaving my pup when I travel is the worst part of taking trip and, like most dog parents, entrusting my fur baby’s care to someone else is not something I take lightly. Over the years, I’ve learned that finding the perfect sitter can help alleviate the stress of leaving your pup behind when you hit the road. But how can you make sure to hire the right sitter for your pooch?
1. Determine Your Dog’s Needs
Will your pup need overnight care? Daycare? Midday walks? One on one attention? Transportation to the groomer so they are clean when you return home? By knowing what your dog will need before you start your sitter search, you’ll be able to narrow down prospective candidates faster because you can target sitters who offer the services your pooch needs in the price range you are willing to pay.
2. Start Looking ASAP
Starting your search as soon as you know you need a sitter gives you time to find someone who will best fit your dog’s needs as opposed to someone who just happens to be available since you are less likely to encounter the roadblock of your top picks already being booked. Not sure where to start your search? Your family and friends may have recommendations or you can use websites like Sitting for a Cause to find the perfect sitter!
3. Learn About Your Potential Sitters
Contact potential sitters to check their availability, get quotes, find out how long they’ve been pet sitting, and ask about the type of dogs they are comfortable caring for to determine if they have the skillset to care for your dog. If your pup has special needs, health issues, or behavioral concerns, finding a sitter who simply has experience is not enough. Your sitter must have the experience and skills necessary to meet your dog’s unique needs!
4. Check References
Even if the sitter you are considering was a recommendation from a family member or friend, it’s always a good idea to get a few more references. Ask your potential sitter if they can provide references for you to contact or, if you found your sitter online, read reviews left by other clients.
5. Schedule Meet and Greets
When you find a sitter you like based on what you’ve learned about them and what their references said, schedule a meet and greet. Meet and greets are a chance for you meet the sitter and see how they get along with your dog. Be sure to schedule meet and greets with a few different sitters so you have some options to choose from. Take note of whether or not the sitter asks questions to get to know your pup as well as if they write down the information you give them since these are indications that they take your pup’s care seriously. Also, make sure the sitter arrives on time for the meet and greet so you know they are punctual and dependable.
6. Choose Your Sitter
Once you’ve met with a few potential sitters, pick one! Consider who had the best interaction with your dog, who had experience that best matched your dog’s needs, how their references compared, who you felt most comfortable trusting with your pup’s care, and who you think would love and care for your dog as you would. Make your selection, give them a call, and set up a time for them to get a spare key.
7. Write it All Down
Even if your sitter took notes during your meet and greet, write out instructions for them to refer to in your absence. I always write down information including my dog’s feeding schedule, medication she may be on, emergency contact information, her favorite walking routes, potty needs, house rules she follows, and commands she knows. It’s also advisable to complete a veterinary release to specify the care your pooch should receive if your sitter is unable to get hold of you during an emergency situation.
As you head out the door, relax! You did your homework and your pup is in great hands. When you return, remember to contact your sitter to tell them you are home with your dog and if you are happy with the care they provided, let them know you’d love for them to watch your pup the next time you need a sitter!