Pet Sitting: Have You Discussed With Your Pet?
If you are like most pet owners, your dog, cat, parrot, snake, or even lizard can become a part of the family. Treating your pet with the same respect, care, and love that you would your own kin, you are probably going to be seeking out a service that does not only provide the basic necessities for your pet such as something to eat and drink. The best services are the ones that offer a sense of compassion, reliability, and the capability to make your pet feel at ease in their care are the ones you’ll be more inclined to leave your loved one with.
Many of us choose the most cuddly, cutest pets to make our own and our family’s companion. The problem is, in doing this, we normally choose the pets that require the most attention and the presence of a human most of the time. Working, booking holidays, or even having a night out can quickly become forbidden when you are not comfortable leaving your pet with a pet sitter.
Are there alternative options?
Sure there are, but each comes with their own advantages and disadvantages.
To accommodate times such as the aforementioned nights out etc. People often depend on family or friends to care for our pets. The problem with this is that a repetitive pattern can emerge, leading to disputes and further issues between you and the friends or family you are leaving your pet with.
Another option is to put your pet into a boarding facility (also known as a kennel). Most of us cringe at the idea as soon as we hear the word kennel, and rightly so!
In defence of this method, no one needs to come to your house while you are out or away plus supposed professions are monitoring your pet.
When it come to the cons, it is a whole different ball-game:
- In an environment different to their home, dogs in particular become very stressed in kennels.
- Being fed different food to their normal diet; some pets can incur stomach problems that cause diarrhoea or vomiting, which only add to their stress levels.
- In a kennel with many other dogs, infectious diseases are more likely to occur due to the population in the small area. Not forgetting that stress can cause viral infections in dogs.
- Play time with your dog and additions such as extra walks incur further fees. This should be innate and already present when putting your dog in a kennel!
What can a pet sitter offer me than these methods can’t?
Funny you should ask, I was just about to explain!
As for the advantages of a pet sitter, they are as follows:
- Being in his/her own normal environment, your pet will not have to suffer from the stress and turmoil of the dreaded kennel option!
- Eating their own regular food and keeping their routine unchanged, your pet will avoid all the gastrointestinal problems and upsets that can occur in kennels or even when you leave them with your friends or family!
- With a pet sitter, you can also have your mail retrieved, your house checked on, and even your home looked after whilst you are out or away. Sometimes, a pet sitter will even offer to stay at your home should you prefer this kind of service. Staying in your home, your pet is provided with masses of attention, care, play, and companionship.
The one and only caution to the pet sitter option is that you are opening up your home and pets to someone you do not know. This being the case, you need to be thorough in your research of the pet sitter, looking into their reviews, references and quality of service before enlisting their services.
With many advantages, pet sitting often takes first place when it comes to service quality. With these facts at your display, the decision is pretty clear.
Pick a pet sitter!
How do I know which pet sitter to hire?
With the vast benefits that a pet sitter brings, it is crucial to focus on the aforementioned pitfall. The essential part of picking a pet sitter is to choose one that will maintain and care for your pet’s well-being and safety. As simple as this may seem, picking out the best quality pet sitters from the amateurs in the pond can be a very trying task.
Firstly, you need to look for reviews and referrals from your family, friends, neighbours, your dog’s veterinarian, or your dog trainer if you have one. By going through this process of questioning, you will discover first-hand perspectives that are not swayed and falsified like the reviews you might find online. If you find a good referral from one or several of these options, take it! Otherwise, look into solid upstanding pet sitter websites that hold a vast review quantity portraying their quality.
Do your research!
So, let us say that you spoke to your cousin who knew of a great pet sitter that his friend hired one time. Do not simply accept his word. Instead, proceed to the next step of evaluation.
Look into their skills!
A pet sitter’s skills can be observed through their collection of qualifications and training sessions they have gained and been through. To gather this kind of background knowledge on a specific pet sitter, it is best to schedule an interview with them.
Once you have arranged the interview, it is time to prepare your onslaught of questions and requirements. Some examples of these could be:
- Does the pet sitter have any documentation of their qualifications and training?
- Do they belong to a professional association?
- How many years have they been a pet sitter?
- Does the pet sitter have any references that they can provide?
- Does the pet sitter have a contract for their service?
- Has the pet sitter participated in any pet-specific healthcare seminars or training courses?
- How broad is their knowledge of medical care for pets?
- If the pet sitter is unable to get to your house, do they have any backup plans in place?
As you can see, the more questions you ask, the more secure you will feel leaving your beloved pet with this professional.
Having asked all your questions, a good sign to look out for is when the pet sitter questions you!
These questions would be:
- What are your pets eating habits?
- What food does your pet eat?
- How many times does he/she have to go for walks?
- What is your pets grooming needs, if any?
- Is your pet on any medication?
By asking you questions about your pet, the pet sitter would already be giving enough of an impression that they know what they are doing. This is the exact quality you should and will be looking out for when deciding upon which pet sitter you wish to hire.
Another important step is to allow the pet sitter to meet your pet. Observing how your dog reacts to the pet sitter while examining how the pet sitter interacts with them will give you further insight into the pet sitter’s capabilities and qualities.
The crucial bits: Bonding and Commercial Liability Insurance
When choosing your pet sitter, these two dull terms are and will be vital when deciding which pet sitter to hire:
To begin with, bonding is the term given to protect the client from theft of their belongings in their home. When a claim of fidelity or dishonesty is made, the ‘bond’ set in place comes into play. If the pet sitter is convicted, the bond will repay the client for their loss of items while then moving on to seek the financial reimbursement from the pet sitter themselves. Relying heavily upon a criminal law court conviction, this bonding procedure often takes several years to complete.
Commercial Liability Insurance
This form of insurance is put in place to cover the pet sitter should unfortunate circumstances occur. Like any kind of cover, this insurance covers pet sitters in several areas such as the following:
- The delivery and collection of minded pets.
- Liability to animals under your care, control or custody.
- Loss of keys to the client’s property.
Very straightforward, hiring a pet sitter that is not ‘bonded’ or a pet sitter without Commercial Liability Insurance can only open you and your pet up to potential problems and incidents at a later day.
With this in mind, be sure they have both of these protections in place before you even think about hiring them!
No Cooperation without Communication!
Methods of communication and contact with the pet sitter should be your next concern.
The exchanging of phone numbers and email addresses should be carried out by default. Without these, all kinds of problems can and will arise.
While you are away, maintaining communication with your hired pet sitter keeps you informed and comfortable with the standard of care your pet is receiving while providing the pet sitter with reminders not to get too comfortable in your house!
To keep track of your pets health and maintenance, a majority of all pet sitters would document your pets overall mood, eating habits, reactions to a stranger being present, and their general activities each day. Alongside this, some pet sitters are even accommodating enough to provide texts or electronic photographs throughout each day to settle your worries while you are away from you pet.
Pricing for the services
This was always going to be the least appealing aspect of hiring a pet sitter, but it has to be assessed and researched into to avoid being ripped off and receiving an inappropriate service charge.
Depending on the number of times the pet sitter will have to visit your home, the durations of each visit, the requirements for each visit, and the times of day the visits take place, these base charges usually won’t differ too drastically between different pet sitters.
Where substantially different charges come in are when accidents occur caused by your pet such as torn up furniture as a result of the dog’s stress, water spillage requires cleaning up, whether any trash needs taken out on specified bin days, and if there are any veterinarian or emergency appointments while she looks after your pet in your stead.
The prices alter so differently here due to the personality differences per person. Some pet sitters will take such issues in their stride and see nothing of them, leading them to charge you lesser rates. On the other hand, pet sitters that prefer to avoid such issues may charge higher due to their squeamishness.
On average, you can expect to be paying out up to $100-$200 in the space of a couple days for a pet sitter depending upon the requirements mentioned above – a cost that is certainly worth the care, attention, and companionship provided by great quality pet sitters.
With all the main grounds covered, here are several tips to finalise your pet sitter hiring process:
- The earlier you decide to hire the pet sitter, the more likely they will be able to book your absence dates.
- Rather than returning to your home with a pet sitter lacking the house keys you gave them, have a spare cut for your own person and leave a cut spare in with the neighbour so that they can let the pet sitter in should such incidents occur.
- If you have some form of home security system in place, showing the pet sitter how to function it correctly will save a police car call out late at night!
Having gone through all these thorough processes and hassle, this pet sitter can now become someone you can rely upon in the future.
Definitely an investment worth the time and money if you plan to hire them again in the future!