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While vacations are fun and relaxing, the thing about going away that a lot of people hate is trying to find a pet sitter. Yes, there are still options of using a boarding kennel or having your neighbor check in with the pet to feed it and take it out. But, we know that a lot of pet owners don’t like making their dog leave the comfort of their home, especially if you aren’t there with them! So, hiring a professional pet sitter is slowly become the best and most popular option.

Your dog might have special needs, be in old age, or even is still a young puppy, so you don’t want to leave them with someone that you aren’t sure if you can trust. That’s why a pet sitter can be an amazing option.

There are a lot of things you need to know about finding a pet sitter before you choose one, though. A true pet sitter is certified and licensed, trained in pet CPR and first aid, and so much more! A professional pet sitter and your neighbor watching the dog are two very different things. For tips on how to find a good pet sitter, keep reading.

Go by word-of-mouth or check with your vet.

Although a resume and credentials are important, anyone can make themselves look good on paper. That’s why it can be really beneficial to find a pet sitter through word-of-mouth or with your veterinarian, rather than through a website. These people have real experience with the pet sitter, so you know you should be able to trust them!

Make sure you find a certified pet sitter.

There’s a huge difference between having your teenage neighbor watch your pet and hiring a certified, professional pet sitter. Be sure that your pet sitter is certified with a professional organization such as The National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS) or Pet Sitters International (PSI).

Come up with a list of questions for your potential pet sitter.

You should be ready to have a ton of questions for them so that you can find a good pet sitter. These questions will vary based on your dogs needs, but some examples could be:

  • How long have you been a pet sitter and how many pets have you sat for?
  • Have you ever run into any pet sitting emergencies, and how did you handle them?
  • What do you love about being a pet sitter?
  • Will my pet be around other pets? (This one is important — if they want to bring their own dog around, you should watch them together before you leave to ensure that they get along with each other!)
  • How and when can I contact you to check in on my pet?

Check with the potential pet sitter’s references.

It’s extremely important to actually talk to the people that the pet sitter has listed as references. These are people that have experience using the pet sitter that you’re considering using, so ask them about it! Find out if anything went wrong and what they liked about the sitter.

Have the pet sitter spend time with your dog.

This is probably the best way to find a pet sitter and see if they are right for your dog. Actually watch them interact! You’ll likely have an instinct on if you should hire them or not.

Figure out their emergency plans.

While this is something you probably don’t want to think about — accidents happen. In the case that something could go wrong, you should ask them what plans they have in place (i.e. if they know what the closest animal hospital is, are they certified in pet CPR, etc.)

Relax!

Once you’ve taken all these steps, it is very likely that you have chosen a pet sitter that is qualified and is a well fit for your dog or cat. Just relax and enjoy your vacation! They’re only a phone call away if you find yourself thinking about your pet.