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Hiring A Pet Sitter

Vacation booked, bags packed… Who’s going to watch your pets while you’re gone?


It’s every pet owner’s dilemma: Do we stay home for vacation, or do we find someone reliable to watch our pets while we’re away?

A family member or neighbor can make a good pet sitter, but not everyone wants to put someone out every time they go away. Plus, what happens if the sitter can’t make it one day? Or your pet requires emergency help?

More and more pet owners are turning to pet sitters. These experienced professionals ensure your pet is fed, walked and given plenty of attention, eliminating the stress of bringing your pet along on vacation or relying on a volunteer to help. Plus many pet sitters perform other vacation-related chores like collecting the mail or taking out garbage.

But how do you choose the right sitter for your pet?

Here are a few simple steps to get you started:

  1. Find the right pet sitter.Ask around to see who other pet owners in your neighborhood are using. Get referrals and recommendations. Your vet or trainer can also direct you to a good pet-sitting service, or contact the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters or Pet Sitters International for help finding the right sitter for you.
  2. Prepare your questions.Jot down a list of questions for your potential sitter. What’s their experience? Do they have special training or qualifications? Do they have a back-up plan in case they can’t make it one day? Are they associated with a vet’s office in case of an emergency?
  3. Give them ALL the details they could need.Let the sitter know if your pet has unique needs and ask if they can handle them. Don’t forget to let them know that your pet is microchipped! Make sure they know your pet’s microchip number and give them 24PetWatch’s 24/7 Lost Pet Recovery number 1-866-597-2424 in the event your pet goes missing.
  4. Check that they have the proper insurance and are bonded.Ask for written proof of commercial liability insurance, in the event of an accident. Plus the sitter should be bonded to protect you against theft.
  5. Do a trial run.Have the sitter come over for an hour or an afternoon to interact with your pet. Show them where the food and leash are kept, along with any other toys or supplies your pet may need. Have an extra key made up and provide the sitter with alarm codes, as needed.
  6. Decide on a schedule.How many times will the sitter visit each day, and for how long? Will the sitter call or text you with daily updates, or email photos of your pet so you can rest assured that all is fine?
  7. Settle on services and fees.Finally, be sure to create a full list of all the services you expect the sitter to offer, from walking and feeding your pet to grooming, play time, cleaning litter boxes/accidents, and giving medication. Some sitters provide additional services like watering plants and turning lights on and off. Draw up a written service contract that spells out all the services and fees you’ve agreed on.


A reliable pet sitter is a wonderful resource that will let you travel with complete peace of mind. Find your perfect sitter and start planning that special trip!

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