One of the biggest problems pet owners face is the difficulties of traveling when owning pets.
For some vacationers, it’s not difficult to bring their pets along. They may chose to vacation at a pet-friendly camp ground or they may own their own vacation home and can freely bring their dogs or cats as they chose. Other families ensure that any vacation destination is pet friendly before booking.
However, vacationing pet friendly is not always possible. Vactioning with pets can be more expensive (putting down a pet deposit or other extra cash) and traveling (driving or flying can be difficult with dogs and cats).
Many pet owners may forgo vacation all together while other pet owners chose to board or find pet sitters for their dogs and cats instead. However, boarding your dog may not always be the best choice if your dog has behavioral or health problems (check out my post on things to consider before boarding your dog).
While finding a pet sitter might require more homework than simply boarding your dog, this may be the best option for you and your pet. Consider my tips below on how to find the perfect pet sitter for you
1. Find someone you know.
If you know someone who is comfortable and competent around dogs and cats, ask them to watch your pets for the week. This way you are allowing someone in your home who you trust and that your dogs and cats trust as well.
It can be stressful for your pets to be away from you all week and even more stressful when there is a stranger coming and going. If your dogs and cats are familiar with your sitter, they will not only be happier, but safer as well. If someone you know and trust is watching your pets they will know all about your pets and their quirks.
2. Consider asking a vet or vet tech if they can watch your pet.
If you want to ensure that your sitter is well versed in pet care, consider asking your vet tech if they would be willing to watch your pet for the week. They may be busy, but some may be willing to pick up some extra work for some extra cash.
Because they are trained in animal medicine, you know your pet will be getting the care they need. They are also a familiar face to your pet.
3. Check care.com or rover.
These sites are full of pet sitters and dog walkers who will be willing to take care of your pets. Many of these websites now require background checks and sitters can upload any credentials or certifications that may be helpful to have.
Be cautious when using these sites as these are complete strangers, but you just may be able to find a good candidate if you are diligent in your search.
4. Don’t be afraid to ask for a background check or references.
It may be frustrating, but you’re only protecting the safety of you, your home, and your pets. It may even be a good idea to find someone who is certified in pet CPR and first aid.
5. Do a meet and greet (or several) prior to your vacation.
If you hired a stranger to watch your pets during your vacation, it’s a good idea to do a meet and greet before you leave. That way your pets are familiar with a new face and you can see how your pets and your sitter interact.
6. Don’t be afraid to shell out extra cash.
Boarding your dog can be expensive. Finding a pet sitter can be a cheaper option. But if you are looking to hire someone to watch your pet all week don’t be afraid to shell out extra cash in return for quality care in the comfort of your own home.
7. Leave a detailed set of instructions and a checklist for your sitter.
Watching someone else’s pets can be overwhelming. It can be even more overwhelming to have to remember the owner’s instructions after a quick walk through of responsibilities. Make your sitter’s life easier and leave a detailed set of instructions for them to follow. Include any directions concerning feeding, medicating, walking, or taking care of your pet’s bathroom needs. Let your sitter know where all the supplies are or leave them somewhere they are easily accessible. If there are any helpful tips or important things to know include those in your instructions. In addition, leave any important contact information on your list. Good numbers to include are your own, your vets, or another close family or friend who can help if a crisis occurred.