In this article I am going to offer some honest advice to anyone looking for a pet sitter who will treat their pet well and keep their home safe and secure.  After spending years studying best practices, building up a business from scratch, attending business seminars and experiencing setbacks I feel that I have learned a few things along the way.

There are many horror stories about things that can go wrong in a pet visit.  Often times, this is because a person decides one day to call them self a pet sitter without any idea of what it entails and no training other than a love of pets.   I hope to help you avoid those scary experiences.  By describing exactly what a professional pet care company should offer you will be better equipped to pick the right one for your family.

What to avoid in a potential pet sitter:

  • When you are shopping around, be sure to choose a company that is dedicated to pets – there are several in the Tri-City area.  A company that also does yard work and runs a delivery service is not going to be focused on your pet care needs.  We do not recommend asking a friend or family member.  Many times we get asked to step in after that friend becomes ill or gets too busy – and this is a confusing situation for the pets. 
  • As much as you may want to help a teenager out with a job, a young person (under age 18) is not equipped to handle all the challenges that can come up when working with pets.  We always recommend that teenagers volunteer with a rescue group to gain animal experience.
  • Are you considering hiring a person who says they “recently worked for” a local boarding facility, pet sitter, groomer or vet?  We HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you call the business they worked for and make sure that this person left on good terms.  I cannot stress this enough:  there may be a good reason this person is no longer working there!  
  • Is the person you are considering hiring “just starting out”?  As a minimum requirement, they should still have liability insurance that is specific to the pet industry (homeowners insurance will not cover pet sitting accidents).  Ask to see proof!
  • Does the person you are considering have a back-up plan for if they become ill or have a family emergency?  If they cannot complete a visit will your dog be stuck in their crate until you can locate someone to check on her?  Will this back-up person have a key to enter your house?  Always ask about their “Back-up Plan”.

What to expect from a Professional Pet Care Company:

Rescue Pets:

Many pets have had a rough start in life.  Perhaps they were in a shelter before joining your family and are especially anxious when they need to go to a kennel for boarding.  Some rescue pets are also extremely nervous around strangers; especially when they walk into your home. A professional pet sitters is trained and has many hours of experience working with pets with special needs.  Are you considering adopting a Rescue pet? Some organizations will even ask you what you plan to do for pet care.


Are your kids asking for a puppy?  Are you reluctant because you don’t want that fluffy cuteness to spend long days in his crate?  Did you know that dogs are often destructive until age two?  Consider having your pet sitter do two shorter visits (mid-morning and mid-afternoon) until their pet is 1 – 2 years old and then go to one walk a day after it is more mature.   A mid-day walk can provide enough mental stimulation to take the place of destructive activities (and save your pillows)!  A tired dog is a GOOD dog!

[Read more…]