What To Look For in a Pet Sitter

JGaulard

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Many people need pet sitters for all sorts of things. In my experience, I'd say one very popular reason for someone to search for a pet sitter is because they're going out of town. Obviously, the holidays and the summer season are the most popular times for leaving the home, but there really is no "off" season when it comes to this type of thing. Another popular reason for needing someone to visit a pet is that the animal will be alone for longer than the owner desires them to be alone. Long work hours, not getting a chance to walk the dog throughout the day are more common than you'd imagine.

The reason I thought I'd write this article is to share a few very important tips I've picked up through the years at they pertain to pet sitting. There are a tremendous number of sitters out there and there are also quite a few folks you shouldn't even allow in your house. While I've heard of the most wonderful sitters in the planet, I've also heard of nightmare scenarios that no person or animal should endure. After all, if you love your cat, dog, bird, etc...as much as I love mine, you'll want to know what I'm going to share down below.

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Okay, here are a few things you should be looking for when you interview your next prospective pet sitter. If you have anything to add, please do down below. I'd be happy to discuss what you contribute and I think others will appreciate your input as well.

1. Trustworthy - This is the number one characteristic I would look for in a pet sitter, in my opinion. If I can't trust someone to take care of my pet, I don't care if they can show up on time or if they have references. My goal is for someone to treat my pet (cat) as well as I would treat him. If they have an issue with that, the conversation is over. My cat's well being comes first. I've heard stories and have seen videos of animals being abused by pet sitters and that sort of thing makes my blood boil. I hope I never hear or see anything like that again in my life.

2. Reliable - Now we're getting into some more traditional aspects of those who might care for anyone or anything, not only animals. Can this person show up on time? Are they available when they're needed? Can you pick up the phone, make a call and expect good service with a helpful attitude? If yes, then they might be the one.

3. Flexible - This trait is huge when it comes to caring for animals. Folks need to go out of town at the last minute quite often and their plans change frequently. Can the prospective pet sitter deal with this type of thing? Are they flexible? Can they work with a changing schedule?

4. Friendly - What's the vibe the pet sitter is giving off? If it's weird and unfriendly, look for someone else. There should be an instant connection with someone who is in the running to care for your animal while you're away.

5. Calm & Cool - Things go wrong in this world. How does the person who's interviewing to be the next best pet sitter react to unexpected situations? Do they freak out and crumble or do they rise to the occasion and take care of business. A cool head is needed in so many situations and that's an important aspect to look for.

6. Experience - Has the prospective sitter ever cared for an animal before. This is important. If you can find someone who works for a vet or who is a licensed vet tech, all the better. Much of their screening has already been done for you and you know they're good with animals.

7. References - This is important too, but not as critical as some of the other points I've mentioned. The best pet sitter in the world may be just starting out, so don't focus on references too much. If they have them, great, but if they don't, ask other questions to get to know the person. How many animals do they have themselves? How long have they cared for animals? That sort of thing. You can also talk to their family members and friends to get an idea of who they are.

8. Consistent - If you've used this person before, are you finding that they are consistent with the care they've given to your pet? Or, do things change all the time. If they change, you may be dealing with a scatterbrain. If they stay the same and are of the same quality, you may be dealing with a professional.

9. Connection - How is this person when they meet your animal? Do they have an instant connection with them? Do they go right to them and begin petting and scratching them? What's the sense you get from the first introduction?

10. Love - This should go without saying, but the person you choose to take care of your beloved pet should actually love animals. Personally, I would never want to see anything bad happen to any animal and I would expect the same from the person I choose to be with mine. This is actually something that can be overlooked when all the other things I've mentioned are being focused on, but it's important to know who you're dealing with.

Overall, when choosing a pet sitter, go with your gut. Some people are great with animals and are just "animal people." Others aren't. There are plenty of folks out there who are completely qualified to do the job you're looking to have them do. When you meet them, you'll know right away of they are right for you and your pet.
 
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