4 Things to Consider When Hiring a Pet Sitter

Are you ready to take a week’s vacation and enjoy a luxurious trip away from work, chores, and your daily routine? Is the beach calling your name? Are you ready to hike up some mountains or explore a new city? Traveling could offer a much needed respite from the daily grind; however, what do you do with your loyal, lovable, four-legged friends? It can be difficult to think of leaving behind those big puppy eyes and precious snugglers, but enjoying some time might rejuvenate you and, perhaps, bring you back a happier and more relaxed owner. To make leaving them a bit easier, spend some time planning for your pet before you leave. Here are 4 things to help make your animal feel comfortable while you’re away. 

Find Someone You Trust

First, locate a professional service or a trusted friend. Friends can make going away a bit easier (especially if it’s someone your animal already knows); however, since it’s not their job, time and commitment may not be as available. The next option is hiring a company to provide daily checks or in-house care. Do some research. Ask the manager whether employees have background checks and if they have an established code of ethics. You might even ask for a copy of this person’s record. Do what makes you feel good. Finally, review the service’s BBB rating. Ultimately, look for someone reliable and principled.

Establish Expectations

It’s best not to leave your expectations unsaid. Be clear and direct about how your animals need attention. Write out a list. Include your pet’s routine activities and typical behaviors (good and bad). Discuss times for walks, check-ins, feedings and medication. Then, think about attitudes or quirks. For example, does your animal show signs of sadness? Does your kitty like to hide in certain places? Does your dog love to escape from under the fence? The more your sitter knows, the better the visit might go.

Gather Supplies

Stock up on medications and food before you head out. Ensure you have plenty in case emergencies arise. In fact, consider having a week of extra medicine and food. While you’re lounging at the pool, you want to know your dog has had his eye drops and breakfast. You don’t want to be dialing the vet or expediting a delivery. Also, consider purchasing some items that could make the experience easier for your sitter and you. What about a favorite snack to keep on hand for little rewards? Do you want to get your puppy a new chew toy or your cat a scratcher? Next, think practical. What will make this easier for everyone? For instance, pick up automatic pet feeders from VPD. This could alleviate some stress and time constraints. Set it to open for certain feeding times. Should life get in the way of certain check-ins, you’ll know your pet has a full belly.

Have a Trial Run

Make sure your caretaker can handle your animals and has plenty of time to devote to this task. While some animals such as hamsters and fish require minimal playtime, others such as cats and dogs need more affection. At least a week before you leave, set up a play date. Set aside a good 30 minutes to an hour. This may require paying for the time, but you’ll gain the comfort of knowing that both pets and people get along. During this time, introduce favorite toys and play activities. At the end of the visit, reassess your decision. Was enough attention given? Was a bond established? If yes, pack your bags and breathe. If no, use the next few days to locate a person who better fits your needs.

Try not to fret about your pets. If you’ve looked for an affectionate, reliable sitter, they are most likely enjoying a good belly rub. Kick back, and enjoy your time too.

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