Leaving your pet with someone if you need to go away for a trip, or to work for the day can seem like a real challenge. Even if you just need someone to take your pet for a walk every so often, how do you know who you can trust with your fur baby. But finding the perfect pet sitter or walker doesn’t have to be something to be concerned about if you’re well prepared.
So what differentiates a good pet sitter or walker from one who won’t work out so well with your beloved pet? Here are the top 5 things to look for when choosing a pet sitter or walker, to help reduce risk of separation anxiety with your pet and ensure they’re in safe hands.
- Flexible schedule
Don’t have a strict schedule? Flexibility might be key! If you want to rely on the one person to come each time, it’s important to find out whether they have flexible schedules, so they can help on short notice if required. That way, if you need to stay back late at work or suddenly get called away on a trip, your pet will be looked after.
- Reliable and trustworthy
This may seem obvious, but it needs to be confirmed! Before hiring a pet sitter or walker, ask for a couple of differences references and get in touch with them to see whether their experience checks out. Another way of checking a person’s background is to look through any reviews on social media like on their Facebook page or website if they have one. It’s a good sign if previous clients are leaving positive testimonials about the person! Additionally, if your pet has a particular medical condition or is a specific breed, it can help to find somebody who specifically has experience with this.
- Connection with your pet
Before committing to a long-term contract or relationship, give things a test run first. See whether your pet warms up to the particular individual, and observe how they interact. By having this trial, you can have the peace of mind of seeing both your pet and the sitter together and realize your pet will be just fine with them!
In fact, pets can be incredibly perceptive so can even pick up if a particular person isn’t totally trustworthy. At the same time, give them more than just a few minutes to give them a chance to warm up to each other.
- Individual care vs. group care
Some sitters or walkers care for groups of dogs or other pets, such as taking a few different people’s pets on walks together. While some pets might be okay with other animals around, if you have a particular nervous pet or you’d just rather them not have to be with other random animals, then don’t go for this type of care! Instead, make sure the person you hire is prepared to dedicate individual attention to your pet, which can also be advantageous for your pet’s wellbeing too.
- Distinguish between a professional and a hobbyist
A professional pet sitter or walker is someone who consistently dedicates their time (and sometimes money) to their personal business in the pet care industry. They may have years of experience behind them, or have some kind of certification. On the other hand, a hobbyist is someone who’s doing some pet sitting or walking on the side, perhaps just over the summer holidays or when they need some extra cash.
What you need to consider is what’s best for you and your pet in the long term. While it’s definitely a cheaper option to go for a hobbyist, whether it’s your neighbor or a local teenager who loves animals, if you want consistency for a long-term relationship, it’s worth finding and hiring a professional instead. Additionally you can have extra peace of mind that these people are considerably more likely to handle things better if something happens to go wrong.
If you’ve done your homework and gone through all the proper checks when choosing a pet sitter or walker, your pet will undoubtedly be in reliable hands and well taken care of. Plus both you and your pet will have considerably lower chance of separation anxiety and stress.
Develop a long-term relationship with the pet carer and you’ll have peace of mind, knowing your pet is safe and happy even when you can’t be around!