You want to ask a lot of questions when hiring a pet sitter. Your scrutiny will ensure that your animal's in capable hands. Some of the questions you need to ask are rather obvious, but others raise issues that you may not even be aware of.
The most important question to ask your pet sitter is whether or not they are bonded and insured. A professional should be able to present you with proof of coverage. This will protect you, your pet and your pet sitter.
If you're speaking with a pet sitter over the phone, ask if he or she can meet with you and your pet in advance. It's always a good idea to conduct a face-to-face interview in your home. This gives you and your pet an opportunity to familiarize yourselves with the sitter. Some sitters will charge a small fee for this initial consultation, while others include it in their services at no extra cost [source: Pet Sit].
Ask the prospective sitter what kind of experience he or she has with your particular type of pet. After all, most people are familiar with taking care of cats and dogs, but not as many know how to deal with exotic birds, reptiles or fish. A professional sitter should also be willing to provide you with references, so don't hesitate to ask.
Most professional pet sitters use a contract, so make sure you get a copy in advance and look it over in detail. When discussing the logistics of a sitter's services, ask how much time he or she spends with your pet per visit and what types of procedures are in place for medical and natural emergencies. Ask about the sitter's terms of payment while discussing rates. Some sitters require full payment up front, while others only require a deposit when you make the reservation and the balance due when you return from your trip [source: Pet Sit].
If you interview an agency rather than an individual sitter, be sure to inquire about its hiring and screening processes. Employees of larger agencies should be able to provide your animal with the highest of care. Good pet sitters will often provide you with an evaluation form.
These guidelines will help you find the best pet sitter for you. For more help, visit the links below.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Butler, Joy. "Fun Dog Facts: Interesting Facts About Our Canines." Suite 101. (accessed 01/27/2009)http://dogs.suite101.com/article.cfm/fundogfacts
- National Association for Professional Pet Sitters. "Hiring a Pet Sitter." (accessed 01/27/2009)http://www.petsitters.org/index.cfm?section=PetOwners&content=hiring
- National Association for Professional Pet Sitters. "For Pet Owners." (accessed 01/27/2009)http://www.petsitters.org/index.cfm?section=PetOwners&content=get-the-most-background
- National Association for Professional Pet Sitters. " Benefits of Using a Pet Sitter." (accessed 01/27/2009)http://www.petsitters.org/index.cfm?section=PetOwners&content=benefits#Pet
- Paw Pottery. "Paw Pottery Fun Pet Facts." (accessed 01/27/2009)http://www.pawpottery.com/Funfacts.htm
- PBS Kids Go! "Pets: Fun Pet Facts." (accessed 01/27/2009)http://pbskids.org/itsmylife/family/pets/article2.html
- Pet Sitters International. "Tips for Conducting a Professional Pet Sitter Interview." (accessed 01/27/2009)http://www.petsit.com/stuff/contentmgr/files/f969b693671add059d2333762ada5999/miscdocs/pet_sitter_questionnaire.pdf
- Sitters City. "Petsitting Rates: How (and what) to Charge." (accessed 01/27/2009)http://petsitters.sittercity.com/article/petsitters_rates.html