Petplan celebrates Professional Pet Sitters Week

Posted by Dr. Kim Smyth on Mar 05 2012

Until recently, there weren’t many options for pet parents who wanted to go out of town. Pets could be boarded at the vet’s office, perhaps, or at a kennel. If you were really, really lucky, you had a nice neighbor or other local family who could help you out.

These days, there are so many more options when it comes to how our pets spend their time while we are away. From luxury kennels to hotels offering pet-friendly vacation packages, your dog or cat is sure to have fun whether they are with you or not. Personally, my favorite way of making sure my pets are well taken care when I go away is hiring a pet sitter. And what better time to talk about pet sitters than Professional Pet Sitters Week (March 4-10th)?

Some pets do great at the kennel, but mine happen to really dislike it there, so on the few occasions that I have boarded them, I end up worrying a lot about my gang. Having a pet sitter come to the house allows me to keep my furry family in the comfort of their own home, eating their own food and sleeping in their own (or my!) beds while I’m gone.

Here are some tips to make working with a pet sitter a breeze:

  • Meet up with the pet sitter well before your scheduled trip so you can see how he or she interacts with your pets. It also allows you to show the pet sitter around the house.
  • Don’t be shy about requesting proof of bonding and liability insurance.
  • Have an extra key made for the pet sitter (and make sure it works!)
  • Provide the sitter with information he or she will need to have, such as:
    • The normal routines and schedule of your pets, including when they eat, when they need to go outside, where they like to walk;
    • Any health problems, including food allergies;
    • Any medications your pets receive on a daily basis, and where these are located;
    • How to reach you in case of an emergency, including names and numbers of alternates in case you cannot be reached;
    • Your pets’ favorite toys and hiding spots. Not being able to find your pet in the house will induce panic in both the sitter and you!
    • Leave the name of your veterinarian as well as your pets’ vaccine records. Be sure to include the name and policy number of your pet insurance as well, just in case there is a medical emergency.
    • Plan ahead, especially around national holidays when other people will be requesting the sitter’s services. It never hurts to be the early bird when booking.
    • Make sure you have extra provisions for your pets, like food and litter, in case you are gone longer than you thought you would be.
    • Let your neighbors know that a pet sitter will be coming. Not only will this avoid an awkward call to the authorities about a possible intruder, it will give you a chance to ask your neighbors to keep an eye out for abnormalities while you’re gone.

When you go away, either on business or for pleasure, the last thing you want to worry about is the wellbeing of your pet. Hiring a pet sitter can help ease your mind. After all, knowing that your pets are sleeping soundly (probably in your bed!) might help you catch a few more winks as well!