How to Find a Pet Sitter

Written by | Updated May 14, 2019

Your pets are part of the family, and unfortunately, work and travel can cut into quality time with your critter. Neighbors and friends are helpful, but professional pet sitters offer better, more reliable care. The pros don’t just stop in and refill your pup’s kibble and water. They can also watch your home, walk your dog, take in the mail, water plants, and even provide regular doggy day care. Here’s how to find the perfect sitter for your pet.

Establish What You Need

Before you start your search, consider what kind of services you need. If you’re going out of town for a couple of weeks, you may need a pet sitter for afternoon walks or drop-in visits. It all depends on how much care your pet needs. If you aren’t comfortable with someone visiting your home, you can find sitters to board your pets while you’re gone. Like any service, you’ll need to spend a little, but it’s all worth it to know your pet is getting belly rubs from good hands.

Use Reliable Sources 

People often turn to friends and neighbors first when they need a sitter. While they may be available and happy to help, they might not know how to handle an emergency or serious situation. Start “vetting” your search through animal care professionals in your area. Ask your veterinarian, groomer, or trainer if they have any reliable contacts to recommend.

You can also check professional organizations like the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters and Pet Sitters International. These organizations have chapters across the US and Canada that can connect you with certified sitters in your area. If you go through these sources, you’re more likely to find a professional with medical training and insurance.

Sit! Speak!

Once you find a potential pet sitter, reach out to set your schedule and expectations. Now is your chance to tell your sitter about any special medications, dietary requirements, or routines your pet needs to be happy. Many professionals come with experience and emergency training that’s perfect for animals that need extra care.

Enjoy Your New Sitter

The best sitters send regular updates while you’re out of town, take in mail and packages, water plants, and go that extra mile to ensure your home and pets are safe and happy when you return. Whether you’re gone for two weeks or only two hours, a great pet sitter can provide care for both you and your pets.

Pro Tips:

Look to apps and websites like Rover and Care.com when you start your search. Both of these services connect you to experienced, often insured professionals nearby. You can read reviews, see pictures, compare rates, and see qualifications in one fell swoop.

Rover web search results

Pet cameras are another good solution if you’re gone often. You can also use a pet cam to keep an eye on your house or your pet sitter.

Pet Sitter FAQs

Why should I choose a professional pet sitter?

Friends and neighbors are a great resource when you go out of town, but professional pet sitters are often experienced, insured, and certified in emergency and medical situations. While they may cost a little more, hiring a pet sitter is worth the peace of mind.

I found a few good pet sitting candidates. How do I choose?

They don’t have to be a full fledged veterinarian to be a good sitter, but certifications in animal emergencies or CPR are a huge plus. If you found your candidates online, look through pictures and reviews from previous clients to learn more about them. In the end, if you still can’t choose, let your pets decide by meeting the candidates.

How much should I pay a pet sitter?

Like any job, pet sitting pay can vary with experience and levels of service. Rover and Care.com allow sitters to name their own price, so you can work within your budget and comfort level.

How do I find a cat sitter?

The same way you’d find a dog sitter! While cats don’t need the same careful attention as dogs, there are plenty of options for cat lovers online as well. When in doubt, ask your veterinarian if they know any reliable sitters in the area.

I have exotic pets—can I still find a sitter?

Sure as turtles have shells and birds have wings, there’s someone in your area qualified to watch your exotic pets. Just be sure to chat with your potential sitter about special care requirements, handling, feeding routines, or medicine.

Can I call a pet sitter to walk my dog?

You bet. Apps and online services like Rover and Wag! specialize in connecting busy pet owners with professional walkers. Think of it as calling an Uber for your dog while you’re away. These services can also help if your pooch needs things like drop-in visits or doggy daycare.

What kind of insurance do pet sitters have?

There are several companies that offer insurance for pet care professionals. Just like groomers, professional boarders, and trainers, pet sitters need to be responsible for anything that could happen under their watch. Most pet sitter insurance companies cover liabilities, medical visits, and serious accidents. Don’t be afraid to ask a potential pet sitter if they have insurance.

 

Nobody likes leaving their pet behind—but a professional pet sitter can make sure your babies are happy and well cared for. If you want someone with experience, training, or liability insurance, resources like Rover and Care.com can help you fetch a great sitter faster than you can say “good boy.”

Written by Katie McEntire

Since 2013, Katie has written marketing copy, long-form posts, reviews, and blogs. She began her career as a writer and reviewer with the mission to recommend only the best products for her readers. She’s designed tests, evaluated products, and written reviews on a range of subjects such as appliances, power tools, and software. Today, she applies these research and writing skills on the SafeWise team to explore the world of home, auto, and internet security. Learn more

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