The holiday season is almost upon us, and so comes the time when you are thinking about who can care for your pet with the same degree of love and attention that you do?   It’s a vexed question!  In particular if you have an older pet who is not really easy to move around – and would stress terribly in a boarding kennel.

The benefits of a pet sitter are many – including keeping your pet in familiar surroundings, their diet stays the same, they get personal attention, and they have companionship.  But before you go ahead here are some questions you may want to ask any potential candidates:

  1. Have they done this before? How often?  (Gaining an understanding of their experience)
  2. With what type of animals? (Consider the size and the needs of the pets they have worked with, and how that relates to your pet)
  3. How much time can they spend with your pet? Do they mind getting up especially early, if necessary?
  4. Any issues with cleaning up after the pet, if necessary?
  5. Do they work and socialize a lot – not much point if they are not there to provide the companionship
  6. Do they have any specialized training or experience with animals?
  7. Can they provide references? (Do check them)
  8. Do they have back up?
  9. Do they understand the basics of pet care – for example food that is toxic (ask them what they think is toxic!), brushing, walking, feeding at regular times, etc.
  10. Are they prepared to take the pet out, as needed (most dogs need at least one good walk, but preferably two a day)

And you should expect some good questions from the sitter too – for example:

  • Does your pet have allergies; is there anything he cannot eat?
  • Does your pet have a special diet?
  • Does your pet have any medical issues or require medication?
  • What is their routine (sleeping, eating, walking,etc)
  • Emergency contact information – you and your vet.

If you are choosing a minder through a web site, see if they have been vetted beforehand, as that can give you a bit of extra peace of mind, as well as the insurance that they offer. 

At the end of the day you have to trust the person and feel they are mature enough to take on the responsibility.  You will want to see how they react to your pet, and how your pet reacts to them.  You need to feel that the sitter genuinely cares about your pet. 

Good luck!

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Liz Walden

Liz has a passion for all things cat and dog, and was one of the first in Australia to bring Pet Insurance to the market. She has headed up Petsecure marketing for the past 10 years, and is committed to promoting and supporting the amazing work done by rescue groups around Australia, and those who work to promote a better life for all animals

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