As much as we’d like to take our pets everywhere with us, sometimes they need to stay home while we travel. That’s where pet sitters come in! How can you find the perfect person to watch your pet?
What Does a Pet Sitter Do?
If you’re hitting the road and need a professional to watch your pet, you have two options: pet sitting or pet boarding. When you board your pet, they’ll go to stay at a boarding facility with other pets—a bit like a pet hotel. When you hire a pet sitter, they’ll come to your home to take care of your pet.
Dog sitters and cat sitters can be a great option for pets who are happier in their home or who might not enjoy spending time with other animals. Sitters can help your pet continue their normal daily routines, which can be comforting in any time of stress (like when they’re missing you).
You also have options when it comes to what services you hire a pet sitter for. You can hire them to do drop-in care, where they’ll come by at regular times during the day for care—like for dog walking and feeding time—or for house sitting, where they’ll stay in your home with your pet 24/7.
Independent pets might not mind the alone time offered by a drop-in schedule, while more attached pets might benefit from having a person around for attention all the time. House sitters can also do double duty, providing a presence in the house for security if you’re gone for a longer stretch of time.
It’s up to you to pick the service you want to match your schedule and your pet’s needs. Next comes the tricky part—finding the perfect sitter.
How Do You Find a Pet Sitter?
Before you start blindly Googling “pet sitters near me,” there are resources at the ready to help you find a trusted, well-reviewed pet sitter (A.K.A. not one from Craigslist). Pet sitting is a large market, and there are plenty of online resources that can help match you with someone in your area.
Some pet-specific sites like Rover and Wag have background checks for all their sitters, which is a huge confidence boost for anyone welcoming a dog sitter to their home! Sites with wider offerings can also be an asset, like with Care.com’s pet care program. They also offer housekeeping and other services in addition to Care.com pet sitting in case you need other maintenance done while you’re away.
These services can offer a lot of extra benefits that you might not get from hiring your neighbor to do the job. They remove the struggle of trying to figure out how much to charge for house sitting with pets overnight by providing standards for reasonable rates. Most major sites have their own dog sitter apps that provide easy communication with your sitter and the company.
Don’t forget to check each company’s standards for their sitters. Background checks are a good start, but there’s more to consider! Organizations like Pet Sitters International have pet sitter education requirements and training that all certified sitters have to meet. Some organizations also provide pet sitter insurance and bonding which can help cover the fees of any accidents that happen during the sitting process.
When it comes to the cost of pet sitting, you also have to consider when you’re hiring your sitter. Pet sitting holiday rates are typically higher than the rest of the year, particularly on in-demand days like Christmas or New Year’s Eve. Many pet sitters book their services well in advance, particularly for the holidays—some book their December clients over a year ahead of time. (So if you’re looking for a 2022 pet holiday sitter…you’d better move fast.)
Finding the right pet sitter is much easier when you know the right things to look for, and with this guide on hand, you’ve got this under control! Here’s to stress-free travel for you, your pet, and your new pet sitter.
P.S. If you decide to take your pet on your travels with you, we’ve got tips for you too!