The world of dog sitting and dog boarding is an unregulated industry. Even though there are many services that bridge the gap between pet owners and pet sitters, you still sometimes get stuck with someone with no experience. While not every accident is preventable, there are some things you can do to make sure you are hiring the best person to watch your fur-baby.
Check Their Qualifications
The first thing you should do before hiring someone to watch your dog is to check their qualifications. Do they work for a dog boarding facility? How long have they been pet sitting? How old are they? Do they know dog CPR? These are just a few of the things you should check before taking the time to schedule a meet and greet.
If you feel this is excessive, think about it this way. If you have children or know someone with children, you know that parents do everything in their power to make sure the most qualified people are teaching, babysitting, and healing their kids. So why shouldn’t it be the same for your fur-baby?
Do a Meet and Greet
A meet and greet is the best way to determine if there’s chemistry between your dog and the sitter. Right away you can watch for nonverbal communication; look at how your pup reacts to their entry, and look at how the potential sitter reacts to your pup. A good pet sitter will have the confidence to deal with all dogs. If either your pup or the sitter seems scared, unsure, or aggressive, you may want to reevaluate whether it’s a good match.
*Note: If your dog is aggressive towards people in general, take this into consideration before blaming the dog sitter for hesitation.
A meet and greet also gives you the chance to ask questions in person and get to know the pet sitter. If the meet and greet is at their house or their facility, it gives you a chance to check the place out and see where your dog will be boarding. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about their routine, how often the dogs are walked/let outside or anything else that comes to mind.
Ask for References – and Check Them!
While asking for references from a sitter is pretty routine, it’s important that you’re actually checking them. Give each reference a call and ask questions regarding how they felt about the sitter, how their dogs reacted to the sitter, and anything else that could give you an idea of how this person has performed in the past. If they don’t have any references, this could be a red flag.
Do a Background Check
A background check is not only beneficial for the safety of your pup, but also for your own safety. This is especially important if the sitter will be staying at your house while you’re away or coming to your house to take care of your dog. You want to make sure this person is not secretly a criminal or has been arrested for anything related to animal cruelty.
If a dog sitter refuses a background check, find someone else. This should be a huge red flag, as it might indicate that they have something to hide.
Do They Have Insurance?
Not many pet sitters think to have insurance, but the most experienced ones will. Ask to see proof of insurance. It will not only protect the pet sitter but will protect you as well. If you’re hiring a pet sitter through a facility, the entire facility should be insured, and if it’s not, you should find someplace else.
Are They a Pet Owner?
One of the last things to do is see if the sitter is a pet owner. Not every dog sitter needs to own a dog, but typically this shows that they have hands-on experience and understand how hard it is for you to trust someone to watch your fur-baby.
Before hiring a dog sitter you should do a thorough check on them to ensure they are the perfect fit for you and your dog. At the Everyday Helper, we understand how hard it can be to find the perfect person to take care of your fur-baby while you’re away. We have years of experience in pet sitting and treat each pet as we would our own.