I’d love to take you along but…
Most people love traveling with their pets, but when your itinerary includes events that aren’t pet friendly, you might need a little help caring for your furry family members.
Perhaps you’re heading to a wedding where four-legged guests won’t be appreciated … or maybe you’re taking a tour, or visiting a museum that doesn’t allow pets. Whether you’ll be away for just a matter of hours or a couple of days, finding a pet sitter to keep your pal company may be the perfect solution, and we have some tips for finding the best match for you and your family.
Locating a Pet Sitter
Many pet friendly hotels and campgrounds can recommend pet sitters in the area, so check with them first. You can also search the GoPetFriendly.com website, or contact national associations, such as the National Association of Pet Sitters and Pet Sitters International to find additional options. If you have an exotic pet, reach out to a local society or organization for its species to see if they can provide you with suggestions.
Before choosing a sitter, ask for a couple of references and be sure to follow up. You’ll want to know if these clients were happy with the service they received, and if their pets appeared to be well cared for while they were away. Also, check online to see if the pet sitting service has received reviews on Google, Facebook, or other websites.
Questions, Questions, Questions
A professional sitter will ask a lot of questions. Consider the kinds of questions they ask, as this will indicate their experience in caring for the particular species or breed of your pet. Depending on how many hours you expect to be away, you should expect questions about your pet’s vaccinations and inquiries about behavior and temperament. When it comes time for you to ask questions, have a pen and paper handy to take notes, and be sure to ask the following:
- How much experience does the sitter have?
- What training have they received?
- If working with an agency, how are sitters screened and trained?
- What activities will the sitter do with your pet? (Walking, feeding, playtime, administering medicine.)
- Does the sitter or agency keep regular hours? Are they willing to stay past these hours if scheduled in advance?
- How much notice is needed to schedule your request for a pet sitter?
- What are the established fees for services?
- Is there a contingency plan in case of emergency?
- What are the terms of payment?
- Are they bonded and insured?
Also, ask the sitter to e-mail their contract to you and review it carefully. It should clearly define what to expect from the sitter, including a list of rates for all services to be provided.
Follow Your Intuition
If it doesn’t feel right, it isn’t. Keep looking. Once you have found the right person, go ahead and make arrangements – the sooner the better, because great sitters are always booked up!
Before You Leave
Make sure you follow our tips to prepare for your pet sitter. Go over the information with your sitter before you leave, being sure to point out what and when to feed your animal, medications to be given, and the duration of outings if the sitter will be taking your pet for walks. Let the sitter know how long you intend to be gone, and provide them with your cell phone number in case of emergency.
Spending a little time on this task will pay big dividends – for both you and your pet!
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