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How to Find and Hire the Best Pet Sitter

Big Wags 15 Steps to Hiring the Best Pet Sitter

1.   How to find a Good Quality Pet Sitter?

  • Get references from your good friends
  • Pet Sitter International has bonded and insured Pet Sitters searchable by Zip Code

2.   Is the pet sitter bonded and insured? 

  • Require proof of all coverage that they claim
  • If they are insured via Pet Sitters International: Call PSI to confirm 1(800) 962-4611.
  • Insurance should include a High Value of “Care, Custody, & Control” coverage. This will cover negligence on their part (ie puppy gets out of crate and eats couch and needs emergency care).  For more on Pet Sitter Insurance Coverage click Here
  • Bonded: means if they steal from you and you can prove it their insurance will cover the cost of the theft
  • Places like Costco Sell affordable video surveillance. Don't hesitate to add this to your home security system.

3. Require and expect an in home consultation prior to hiring the Pet Sitter

    * Note: You should require that all staff caring for your pets should attend your in-home consultation.

  • Do not allow a pet sitter to supply a back up staff member that has not met you or your pet(s) to provide services. This is not acceptable professional behavior. 

4.   Does the pet sitter (or company) keep regular office hours?

  •  A professional pet sitter should have a schedule of office hours.

5.   If you left a message inquiring about services, how fast was it returned?

  • All phone calls should be returned within at least 24 hours.
  • If your calls are not returned quickly move on to another sitter. 
  • Consider it is a bad sign if the Pet Sitter does not follow through on this basic service level.

6.   Find out how much advance notice the pet sitter (or company) will need in order to schedule an appointment?

  • It is common for pet sitters to require two weeks notice.
  • Good pet sitters will have a busy business. Plan on interviewing & booking well in advance.
  • If you need flexibility and a quick response to last minute care needs be sure to find a person or company that can always support that.

7.   Does the pet sitter (or company) have clearly established fees they can quote over the phone or in a company website?

  • A professional pet sitter will have clearly defined fees per service that they offer. 

8.   You need to Clearly define your Pets needs in Writing

  • Don’t rely only on the notes a pet sitter takes
  • Create a clear checklist of all responsibilities
  • Define exact amounts of food per feeding & supply an accurate measuring cup.
  • RX & Medicine should get a specific checklist care sheet
  • Pre-proportion using a weekly Pill Minder box all critical medicine
  • Define in writing the expected duration of the visit
  • Create a clear list of contact phone #’s
  • Vet: Name, Phone #, Address (Be sure to leave a CC # on file)
  • Emergency Vet:Name, Phone #, Address (Be sure to leave a CC#  on file)
  • Friends or Family Local Contact info
  • Your own contact info while out of town
  • Specific dates of your travel
  • Emergency contact information (besides yourself)

9.    Does the Pet Sitter have a Criminal History?

10 . How does the pet sitting agency hire, screen, and train their pet sitters?

  • Ask the pet-sitting business owner to describe their selective employment screening process and staff training.
  • During the in-home interview, notice whether the pet sitter exhibits a positive attitude toward your pet(s)
11.   Ask the pet sitter for a list of active client references

  • Call the references and clarify how often they use the services.
  • Are they dissatisfied with any aspect of the care they have received? 

12.  Will the pet sitter provide a service contract that spells out services performed and fees?

  • Require a well-written contract that outlines the details associated with each service the sitter will provide.
  • The contract should includes all fees as well as the time that will be spent with your pet(s). 

13.  What is the pet sitters contingency plan in the event of bad weather or natural disaster while caring for your pet(s)?

  • Any professional pet sitter should have a written disaster plan
  • Be sure the plan addresses natural or man-made disasters
  • Clearly understand their contingency plans and bring copies with you on your travels

14 .   Define the Emergency Medical Vet Care Plan of Action

  • Leave a written letter with your vet authorizing the use of your CC# for your pet's care.
  • Leave a written letter with your local emergency animal hopsital authorizing use of your CC# for your pet's care.
  • Define in the letter the names of the pet sitter(s) & friends you authorize to pay for and approve of medical care for your pet while you are away.
  • If you don't leave a CC # guarantee your personal Emergency Conact (a person set up if you are not reachable) has a defined way to pay for your pet’s care in your absence. 

15 . Your Pet Sitter Should Call or Text to confirm that you have returned home

  • For the safety of your pets, you need to agree on a way to confirm your on-time safe return home from your travels.
  • A simple text message from your pet sitter or voicemail will guarantee you have set up a safe pet sitting arrangement that is worry free for all involved.
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Carmel, California

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