As much as you want your pet to join you for all of your adventures, it’s not always possible. This is why it’s important to have a trusted pet sitter who can care for your pets while you’re away. For first-time pet parents, this process can feel daunting – how do you find the best pet sitter for your furry family member? To help you out, we’ve put together a list of things you should look for when interviewing potential sitters.
Professional pet sitters will always be happy to share references from other clients. In fact, they will likely already have them available on their website, social media, or profile on a pet sitting app. If a pet sitter you’re considering only has a handful of references, take into consideration how long they have been caring for these pets. Some sitters prefer to have just a few long-term clients so they can build a close relationship with the pets they watch.
A great pet sitter can work around your pet and its needs. This is especially critical if your pet needs medication or other care at specific times a day – you want to make sure that the pet sitter will always be able to work around this timing. Not only do you want their schedule to be flexible, but you also want them to be honest about their capacity and how many clients they can take on at any given time. If they take on too many clients, they may not be able to dedicate enough time to each pet.
When choosing a pet sitter, it’s just as important for them to ask you questions as it is for you to ask them. The most common way that sitters do this is by asking you to fill out a detailed intake form for each of the pets they’ll be watching. This form should include questions such as:
After you’ve filled out the form, they should go through the answers with you and ask any additional or clarifying questions. Most pet sitters will ask for this to be done in person, so they can also do a meet-and-greet before their first visit.
A professional pet sitter will do much more than just feed your pet, freshen their water, and quickly scoop their litter box or take them for a walk around the block during their visits. In addition to these basic tasks, they’ll take the time to give your pet some one-on-one attention and enrich their day. What this looks like will depend on your pet’s preferences and the details that you shared about them in the intake form. For example, if your cat loves chasing a feather wand then your sitter could look for new activities they can do with your cat that involve the wand. Great pet sitters will even come prepared with activities and toys that they think your pet will enjoy, bringing a new level of excitement to the visit.
Accidents can happen, so you want to find a pet sitter that has the knowledge and experience to tackle any situation that arises. The best pet sitters are those that have completed a pet first aid course and do regular refreshers to ensure that their knowledge is up-to-date. During this training, they’ll learn basic first aid skills such as:
In addition to basic first aid, pet sitters should be comfortable administering different types of medication, including injections and subcutaneous fluids. Bonus points if they know all of the answers to these top first aid tips our Freshpet vet, Dr. Aziza, wishes pet parents would know!
A good pet sitter knows that it’s never easy being away for your fur baby, which is why they’re happy to share daily updates during their visits. Before you leave, your sitter should ask what is the best way to get a hold of you while you’re gone and if you’d like them to send photos, videos, or messages letting you know how your pet is doing that day. At the end of their visit, they will often put together a longer, more detailed write-up for each visit. In this report, they may also make recommendations of activities or toys your pet particularly enjoyed so you can try them for yourself upon your return.
Knowing that your pet is in good hands can give you the peace of mind to truly enjoy your time away. We hope that this list has given you a good starting point for your search or even confirm that your sitter is, in fact, one of the great ones!