Pet Sitters 101

You can leave your furry friends in the capable hands of a pet sitter while you’re out of town.­ See more pet pictures.
Alfred Gescheidt/The Image Bank/Getty Images

­Are you heading out of town and can't f­igure out a way to bring your pet along? Would you prefer to simply leave it at home? Unfortunately, you can't just decide to leave it behind and run out the door. Very few pets, if any, are independent enough to spend an extended amount of time at home alo­ne. Fortunately, you can hire a pet sitter to solve all your pet care problems.

Hiring a pet sitter benefits you and your pet in several ways. Your pet can stay at home in a safe and familiar environment, eliminating travel-related trauma and allowing your pet to maintain its regular medical care. In addition, you know that your pet is in capable hands without having to impose on family, friends or neighbors.

­You'll want to interview a few different candidates before you hire a pet sitter. Put together a set of questions for the interview and make sure to ask for references. Professional pet sitters should be able to provide both proof of bondin­g and liability insurance coverage. Most importantly, you'll want to be sure they interact well with your pet. The cost of a sitter differs according to experience and services offered, so know what you'll need from your sitter before the interview [source: Pet Sitters].

If you decide to hire a pet sitter, you can lessen your stress by planning ahead. You should provide prospective sitters with your pet's history and routine. Make sure your sitter knows important information like your pet's medical conditions and its favorite toy. Make sure your house is similarly prepared: Your sitter should know where you keep food, leashes, cages, bowls and anything else required for the day-to-day care of your pet. This includes numbers for your vet in case of an accident or emergency [source: Pet Sitters].

Most importantly, keep the lines of communication open. You'll feel more at ease if you cultivate a good relationship with your sitter.

Read the next pages for a quick look at the day-to-day life of a professional pet sitter.