Ask These 5 Questions Before You Hire a Pet Sitter

With warmer weather just around the corner, many of us start thinking about hitting the road (or skies) right about now. Whether it’s a Spring Break escape or a family summer vacation, it’s smart to plan ahead. After all, there are seemingly a million things to consider when plotting your getaway. Among the most important, of course, is what to do with your furry family member. If you’re not taking Fido along, you have several options. You could leave him with a trusted friend or family member. Or you could arrange to board him at a kennel or daycare center. However, the best choice for you and your pup may be to hire a pet sitter to come to your home while you’re away. Of course, as any pet parent knows, one of the hardest things to do is to leave your dog in someone else’s care. So how do you know the person you’re hiring is trustworthy and responsible?

First, start by asking for recommendations from family and friends. Then, when interviewing a potential pet sitter, make sure you ask the right questions. To help, we’ve compiled five important things you should know before you hire someone to look after your precious pooch.

Can we meet you in advance?

A reputable pet sitter will want to meet you and your pets before agreeing to sit for you. Most provide this meeting free-of-charge or for a small travel fee. This is a great opportunity to get to know them better and watch how they interact with your pets.

Can you provide references?

Like most service providers, pet sitters should willingly and happily be able to provide you with three to five names of people they’re worked for who are not related to them. Once you have the names, make sure you take some time to contact at least a few of them in order to get a feel for the sitter’s reputation and level of service.

Are you bonded and insured?

The answer to this question isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker since many reputable pet sitters aren’t bonded and insured. You should always ask the question, though, so that you’re fully informed. Being bonded and insured simply means that they have insurance that may cover damages to your home or injury to your pet while in their care. If their answer is “yes,” ask to see proof of coverage.

How long have you been a pet sitter?

There’s something to be said for working with a pet sitter who has many years of experience. A lengthy track record likely shows that they take their job and their reputation very seriously. However, everyone has to start somewhere and there’s nothing wrong with hiring someone who hasn’t been in business very long. The main thing is that you feel comfortable with them and trust them. Just be fully aware of their history (or lack thereof) before hiring them.

What’s your contingency plan?

This is a question that people often forget to ask. However, if the pet sitter becomes sick or incapacitated in some way, or if inclement weather strikes, it’s important to know what their plan is for the care of your pet. If they don’t have a plan in place, it’s probably wise to look elsewhere.

For more questions and other considerations, check out these tips from Pet Sitters International.