The Ultimate Guide To Choosing A Pet Sitter

Perhaps you’re excitedly preparing for a long weekend away or have a few early starts and late nights in the office coming up. Time away from home can (sadly!) mean time away from your dog.

But just where do you start when it comes to choosing a dog sitter? How do you find the right person to take care of your best friend and give you peace of mind?

There’s a lot to think about so we’re here to share our advice. Think of this as your ultimate guide to choosing a safe pair of hands to leave your four-legged friend with.

 

Dog doing paw whilst on walk in the woods

What should I look for in a potential dog sitter?

Availability

It’s important not to rush when it comes to finding a dog sitter, so leave plenty of time to research your options before you need to book. The longer you have to play with, the more likely you’ll be able to secure your first choice, especially if you’re away during their busy periods. There’s nothing worse than finding the ‘paw-fect’ match for your pup and then realising they’re fully booked.

What services they offer

There are three main types of pet sitters, so you want to be sure to select one that meets both your and your dog’s needs.

  • In-house sitters will come to your home and sleep over, meaning your dog stays in their surroundings and can still enjoy night-time cuddles! This is often the ideal solution for anyone heading away overnight.
  • Drop-in sitters will pop in and care for your pup at agreed times – for example, to feed them or take them out for walkies. This is a good option if you work long hours and know your dog will benefit from some company during the day.
  • Dog boarders will put your furry friend up in their home. It’s like your dog having a holiday all of its own! But be sure to discuss the arrangements with your pet sitter first as they may be looking after multiple dogs or pets, and you need to be sure this suits your four-legged friend. And remember, home boarders must be licensed.

Experience with medical needs

If your dog has any medical issues, it’s advisable to look for a sitter who has veterinary or pet first-aid training. From knowing which symptoms to look out for to giving medications, it’s important that whoever looks after your four-legged friend has a solid understanding of their needs.

Reviews and recommendations

The best way to find a great pet sitter is by good old-fashioned word of mouth. Ask your friends, family and vet whether they have any recommendations, and then check out their website or social media profiles for reviews and testimonials. This will help you feel reassured that they have the experience needed.

Rover is another place to look to find a trusted sitter near you. Pet sitters’ profiles include information on their prices, services (there’s a mix from drop-ins to boarders and in-house sitters) and customer reviews. Plus, Rover donate £1 to the RSPCA for every first-time booking in the UK. A win-win in our eyes!

Dog outside on walkies with wind blowing ears back

DBS checked and insured

Being DBS checked means going through a government check that lists a person’s criminal record, including any previous convictions or warnings. Your sitter will be looking after your best friend, as well as potentially having access to your home, so it’s important to know if there are any red flags.

It’s also key to check they’re insured to be looking after your precious pup – home boarders must be licensed to have valid insurance. Unfortunately, sometimes things don’t go to plan. From public liability to accident and injury, check whether your dog sitter has specialist insurance, and what’s covered. Not only is it peace of mind for them, but for you too.

How often they keep in touch

Some sitters are more than happy to share photo and video updates of your four-legged friend having fun while you’re away. This communication may be really important for you (we can’t go for too long without seeing our pup’s face!) so be sure it’s something your pet sitter is willing to do.

Whether your dog likes them

They’ll be spending a lot of time together so it’s vital your dog likes any potential sitter. Ask for an introduction to test the waters and see how your pup interacts with them. Waggy tails and lots of licks are always a good sign that you’ve found their ‘paw-fect’ match!

How much they charge

Costs can be a big factor when choosing a sitter and service, but the safety and well-being of your dog is priceless. Try and base your decision on how well they suit your needs and their reviews and experience, rather than opting for the cheapest option.

White dog smiling in the park

Is there anything I should share with the pet sitter?

Absolutely! The more information you can give your pet sitter, the better. Not only will they appreciate the heads up, but it’ll give you peace of mind that they know your dog well.

Some of the things you can tell them include:

  • Your dog’s age, breed and medical history/any conditions they may have
  • Your emergency contact information
  • Your vet’s location and contact information
  • Any behavioural information (e.g. what are they like with other dogs and people and the cues they respond to)
  • Their mealtime routine, what they eat, how much and when
  • How many treats do they get and for what?
  • Their toilet routine (e.g. in the garden or on a walk)
  • Their favourite walking route and whether they are trained off the lead.
Two dogs sitting next to each other, smiling in the park

Enjoy your holiday!

And now, whether you’re jetting off somewhere sunny or busy at work, you’re equipped to find a great pet sitter. Enjoy the peace of mind knowing that you’ve left your four-legged friend in safe hands.

If you know of a friend who’s in a need of a dog sitter, why not share this handy guide with them? Click the icons below to share via social media or email.

 

 

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