It can be hard leaving your dog behind when the family wants to go on a holiday or vacation, especially for a long period. You may consider options like leaving your dog with a family or friend, but they may not give your dog the best of care. So one good option you can opt for is to hire a dog sitter.
Pet/dog sitters would come to your house on an agreed number of times every day to take care of your dog. Some sitters would agree to stay in your home while you are away. This way, your dog gets to remain in the same familiar environment, which reduces the stress of moving to a new location.
More so, your dog would not be exposed to diseases that are common in many boarding kennels. However, you still have to take the risk of trusting someone you have barely met before.
So what are the factors to look at when deciding on the best dog sitter to hire? You need to understand to critically look into some factors for the safety and well-being of your dog (as well as the safety of your home).
Without much ado, here are some important things to look for before hiring a dog sitter:
1. Trusted Reputation
You can ask your family, friend neighbor, or vet doctor to recommend a reputable and reliable dog sitter. Another option is to find pet sitting services by searching online or contacting the Pet Sitters International or National Association of Professional Pet Sitters.
More so, if you have the chance, take your time to observe the dog sitter you’re trying to hire on other jobs. Are they always making calls or texting when they’re supposed to be watching their client’s dog? Or do they pay full attention and interact with the pet in their care? All these matters too.
You need to ensure the dog sitter you’re hiring is certified to care for dogs or pets generally. The dog sitting industry is usually is quite unregulated, but there are professional organizations that set standards and criteria to acquire certification.
You can check with the Pet Care Service Association to see their three levels of certification:
- Certified Kennel Operator (CKO)
- Certified Pet Care Technician (CPCT)
- Certified Advanced Pet Care Technician (CAPCT)
However, make sure that the dog sitter you’re hiring is certified with a nationally recognized organization. Ask them for their certificate before hiring them. Remember, you are paying for a professional job, so don’t settle for less.
After checking the company’s qualification, the next thing is to ask them how they train their staff- if they have an internal certification process. You need to know who is in charge of the training of their staff and maintaining standards.
4. What is their philosophy on dog handling and what equipment do they use?
It is important to know the type of equipment your dog sitter provides or uses. What kinds of collars and leashes do they use and how many dogs will they walk at once? Do they use choke chains? All these questions are vital to assure the safety and wellbeing of your dog.
5. Do you and your pet have chemistry with the dog sitter?
You need to check how you feel about your dog sitter to be able to trust them. Your dog also must be able to display chemistry with your dog owner. Remember, dog sitting is a personal relationship, so you must ensure you hire someone you have some level of confidence in.
If your pet suffers from anxiety, you can involve your veterinarian in the process of searching for the right dog sitter. Some dogs react poorly to being boarded in a strange environment, so your veterinarian may recommend finding a dog sitter who can stay at home with your dog until you return. However, some dogs might be too protective in their own homes, so your vet might bring up other options or alternatives.
But you need to be happy with the person who will actually be looking after your dog while you’re away. So take your time and ask as many questions as you can and be patient for them to answer all the questions during the initial consultation.
6. Can they provide references?
You need to ask the dog sitter you’re consulting to provide you with references from current or past clients. If they are doing a good job, customers will always be happy to tell you about it and they experience hiring this dog sitter.
7. What is their knowledge base?
Does your dog sitter understand animal nutrition, behavior, first aid, and emergency procedures? You need to ask them questions around all these to reveal whether they have good knowledge or not. Pay attention to how confident they are to speak about these factors. And check if they try to “snow” you when they do not have the right answers to some questions.
8. Can your pet/dog sitting company run a background check on all their employees?
Some companies cannot even vouch for their employees. So don’t be satisfied when you meet them and they say all the nice things just to get the job. You are actually entrusting them with your pet and maybe giving them access to your home. So it’s important to confirm that the dog sitting company does background checks on their employees, and should also look into the background of the company.
You can go online and get more detailed information about the company or you use a background check service. If the company has a good reputation, they will be glad to have you check their background.
9. What are their services and fees?
It is crucial that you’re on the same page with the company or dog sitter you’re hiring in terms of expectations and fees involved. So, you need to ask questions like:
- How many visits will occur in a day?
- What duration and at what time? (Some dog sitters will even stay with your dog overnight)
- Do they take your dog to a veterinarian in an emergency?
- Do they provide grooming or walking services?
- Do they offer extra services like clean up accidents, water your plants, or take out your garbage?
- If you had to spend some extra time away, can the dog sitter care for your dog until you get back home?
10. Do they have Liability Insurance and Bonding?
Sometimes, accidents do happen and you need to ensure the dog sitter carries the right liability insurance. And you need to check if they are fully bonded (to protect against theft). This helps you to have confidence that you won’t be running at a loss if the worst should happen.
Your dog’s well-being is important anytime you decide to leave your home for a while. So, getting the best dog sitter for your furry friend is a great way to keep the worrying to a minimum. Hence, the above are the important things to look for before hiring a dog sitter. Ensure you critically consider those factors and you can get a pet insurance plan for added confidence. This helps to cover any injuries or illnesses that your dog may suffer while you’re away.