Leaving for the day, a week or even longer, and need someone to feed Fluffy or take Fido for a walk?
While it can be tempting to just have the neighbor kid run over and handle what needs to be done, for the safety of your pet take the time to find a pet-sitter you can trust.
Since Professional Pet Sitters Week™ takes place in March, or you may already be planning ahead for summer vacations, we put together some tips from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and Pet Sitters International, Inc. on what to consider when making care arrangements for your four-legged family member.
WHN TIP – Get the Form: Download the Pet Sitter Interview Checklist from Pet Sitters International, Inc. so you know what to ask when interviewing prospective sitters.
1. Do a meet-and-greet.
Have the sitter come to your house to interact with your pet while you discuss fees and services. Go with your gut feeling: if you don’t feel comfortable or if the sitter seems inexperienced, keep looking.
2. Check for licenses, training and references.
If your city or state requires a business license, your sitter should carry one. Ask what type of training the sitter has undergone and the names of people you can contact for references. Ask for proof of coverage if the sitter is insured and bonded.
3. Plan for emergencies.
Pets can become ill or need emergency medical care. Can the sitter transport the pet to your vet if you can’t come home? Make arrangements with your vet and identify the sitter as a person authorized to seek care for your pet if you aren’t there.
4. Do a test run.
If possible, have a short pet-sitting experience. This allows your pet to become familiar with the new person and you can observe the sitter in action.
WHN TIP – Alarm Info: If your home has a security system, the sitter needs to know how to enable and disable it. Some systems allow you to set a temporary code that can be changed when you no longer need the sitter’s services. Check with your alarm company for instructions.
5. Get supplies.
Have all the supplies your pet will need: food, litter, “accident” pads and medications. If the pet needs to be transported, have the cage or harness ready to go. In an emergency, the sitter won’t have time to find it.
6. Prepare the paperwork.
Complete this Pet Care Emergency Authorization Form and give signed copies to your sitter and the vet. Provide full contact information: where you’ll be and all the ways your sitter can contact you in case of an emergency.
WHN Expert TIP – Chip Info Update: If your animal is microchipped, the AVMA suggests adding your authorized agent as an alternate contact in the microchip manufacturer’s database in the event your animal is lost and its microchip is scanned by a shelter or veterinary hospital.
For More Information
Read these posts for more pet-related information:
- Create A Pet Emergency Kit
- First Aid Tips for Pets
- Choosing a Kennel or Pet Daycare Facility
- 10 Tips for Managing Your Pet’s Separation Anxiety
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