Your pet is part of your family. So if you have to leave them behind to go away on holiday or business, choosing a pet sitter can be a really difficult decision. Nobody else will be able to replace your love and companionship while you’re gone – but by taking care to choose the right carer for your pet, you can rest easy in the knowledge that they’ll be happy, healthy and stimulated in your absence. We’ve put together a guide to help you find the right pet sitter for you.
What to look for in a pet sitter
Pet sitting services can vary from sitter to sitter, so you’ll need to decide what exactly you’re looking for in your particular situation. Whatever you require, whether it’s regular exercise or special attention due to illness or old age, there are some basic prerequisites that all pet sitters will need to fulfil.
- Reliability – can they be trusted? Make sure you check their references and, if possible, get word-of-mouth recommendations. Ask your vet if they can endorse any local sitters; if they know and trust a particular service, that’s a point in its favour.
- Personal compatibility – will your pet warm to them, and vice versa? This is a very individual thing to judge when choosing a pet sitter. Get them to come to your home for a trial visit, so that you can observe how they get along together and see if they’re likely to bond well.
- Qualifications and experience – what are their credentials? You don’t need any official qualifications to become a pet sitter, but certificates or competencies in animal first aid, dog training and other relevant subjects will be a bonus, and a good sign of their professionalism. Having a current DBS check is also good.
- Location and availability – will the pet sitter come to your home? Do they offer an overnight house sitting service?
- Insurance – are they fully covered to look after a pet in your home? Check that they have the requisite care, custody and control insurance and that they will be liable for any damage to your home.
Many pets have special needs due to their age, state of health or simply their breed, so choosing a pet sitter will involve making sure these needs will be catered for. Here are some things to consider:
- Exercise – do they need a particularly strenuous exercise regime to stay healthy and happy? Look for a sitter who can provide satisfying walks or runs in a stimulating environment.
- Grooming – does your pet require extensive grooming? Let potential pet sitters know their usual routine.
- Medication – if your pet is on medication, it’s especially important to choose a pet sitter who can be trusted to administer the right doses at the right times.
Keeping in touch
Even if you’re having the time of your life while you’re away, you’ll want to know how your pet is getting on. Ask your pet sitter how they will communicate with you, and what updates they usually provide. Some sitters pride themselves on keeping owners in the loop using photos, diaries and other reporting methods that will keep you reassured that all’s well at home.
When choosing a pet sitter, you’ll probably want to find somebody who is local to your area. Why not start with our list of recommended pet sitters in St Albans – all offering pet sitting services nearby.