October 4, 2021
Choosing a sitter for your pooch can be stressful for obvious reasons, and it can mean the difference in enjoying that getaway vacation or fretting over your dog’s well-being and happiness. Find the right one, however, and you will have comfort in knowing that your furry family member is properly babied this time and each subsequent need for such help.
There are many different ways you can get care for your pet while you’re away, such as an in-home dog sitter, boarding your dog, or using a sitter whose house you can leave your pooch at, such as using a service like the now-ubiquitous and reliable Rover. Giving your pooch a Ready Pet Go Zen Calming Chew once every morning can help your pup stay calm while getting to know the sitter and when you are gone.
It’s very important to make sure your dog is well-socialized before leaving them with a stranger. Here are a few tips for choosing a sitter that is right for your family and your furbaby.
Word of mouth is always best because what works well for your neighbors and friends will probably work well for you too. Be sure when asking around for recommendations to talk to people who have a dog who is relatively the same size, age and breed as yours so you can ask them about experiences they had with their sitters.
You can also check with your vet because they are often familiar with professional sitters in your area who are highly recommended but don’t often advertise. Try Care.com or other organizations for professional pet sitters such as Pet Sitters International. Remember to check the sitter’s references and whether they are CPR certifiedand trained in first aid for pets.
If you’re already used to gig economy facts of life like Uber, then there’s a good chance you are already using Rover.com as your go-to pet sitter. It’s all about ratings and reviews, and all those dog people can’t be wrong when you find lots of stars.
Rover offers boarding, house-sitting, drop-in visits, doggy daycare, and walking. Want your dog to be the only one there? Want a smoke-free home? You’ll be asked to fill out a profile about your pooch, including whether yours is spayed or neutered, whether yours sleeps on the bed or the floor, whether it crates, and so on. You’ll be matched with the ideal sitters closest to your home, so both you and the Rover member will do the choosing.
It comes with regular photos/videos to keep you updated, and what’s better than that? If you have a puppy, that’s likely to be an extra charge as they are higher maintenance for sitters for obvious reasons. Once you find a great match, you’ll likely want to keep using that person.
Your sitter will likely be an important part of your pup’s life and yours for years to come, so take your time in finding one who is a good fit. Once you have made your shortlist of sitter candidates, either through Rover or be referral or other resources, you can interview them in person with your dog.
Watch for how your pooch reacts to the sitter. Besides normal excitement to meet a new person, was there an increased amount of barking when the sitter walked in? Did you notice your pup seeming nervous or uncomfortable around the sitter or did they calm easily and rather quickly in the first 10 minutes? Does your dog show the sitter affection and vice versa? Ask the sitter questions and provide examples of how they respond to emergencies and specific training they have had.
And remember, if you’re using Rover, that whole process is likely taking place at the sitter’s home so they can sniff around and get used to the surroundings. Rover sitters also watch at your place. Whoever you use, this step will get everyone comfortable with each other.
Although you might consider hiring a college student or other friendly face from the neighborhood, keep in mind the liability associated with caring for your pet. Even the most caring pet lovers may find themselves in over their head in the case of an emergency. If you decide to go with an agency or even a budding entrepreneur you found online, check to see if they are licensed and bonded and whether they have insurance. Of course, you’ll want to find out the daily or weekly rates or any specifics for your needs while you are away.
Once you have made your choice, be sure to put your agreement including payment and insurance details in writing. Sometimes the sitter will have their own contract so you can use theirs. If it’s Rover, you’re already providing your payment information in advance, and you agree to the site’s contract terms.
If the sitter is at your home, post clear instructions and emergency numbers in a place that is easy to see so the person knows how to reach you, a neighbor or your vet if needed. If it’s Rover, they will already have all your info and messaging is built into the process. You can leave an extra house key with a trusted neighbor and friend in case of an emergency and put food, vitamins and treats in the same place.
Make sure to give the sitter a tour around the house so they can be familiar with where you keep everything and your pup’s favorite napping spots.
Finally, let go and have fun. You have worked hard to make sure you covered all your bases and your dog is in the best possible hands so you have peace of mind and your pup has a great time.