Finding the Perfect Dog Sitter
Question: "I am going away for a week and am stressed about leaving my dog at a kennel. But I'm also not sure how to evaluate pet-sitters. What should I be looking for? What should I ask them? "
Pet Parents know that our pets are more than just companions; they’re family, too! Our dogs live for early morning cuddles and the squeak of the door opening when you return home at the end of the day. They love us unconditionally, and we love them back, which is why many of us stress out when it comes to dog boarding.
According to a recent Rover.com study, 81 percent of pet parents say that they consider a dog sitter just as seriously as they would a babysitter. Many of us dread the idea of a kennel, so we often revert to begging our friends or family for a big favor. It’s not always an ideal situation, and the guilt of imposing on those same people again and again starts to add up. Even when we don’t anticipate a lot of overnight needs, life happens! People go back to school, have babies, change jobs, or just need to get away for a weekend. It’s always important to have options – especially when that option is someone that your dog loves. A good dog-boarding solution can be a real lifesaver!
As a pet parent myself, I’ve spent a lot of time evaluating my options to find the perfect care for my dog. I’ve put together some tips to help you quickly and easily find your perfect sitter. You just might find your pup’s new (second) best pal for everything from sitting to walks to day care.
Steps to Finding the Perfect Sitter
1. Think about the care that your dog needs. It’s important to think about what your dog needs in order to enjoy the same loving care that you give them at home. Does your dog need a fenced back yard or someone who works from home during the day? Does your dog have any special needs, such as medication? You might even want to give your dog a chance to have new playmates, such as children or other pets. Accurately represent your dog and be specific about his or her needs and regular behaviors. The perfect sitter will be ready and willing to care for your pup just as they are!
2. Research sitters in your area. Using your criteria from number one above, select at least three sitters to meet in person. If you use a site like Rover.com, you can use technology to make the process of finding and choosing a sitter easy and stress free. Rover offers a range of sitters, from professionals, to families with dogs of their own, to doting elderly folks who will love your pup like their grandchildren. You can find sitters to take your dog into their home or to stay with your dog in your home.
3. Meet-and-greets. After you’ve contacted a few sitters and answered some basic questions, arrange to meet your favorite candidates. Allowing your dog to meet your sitter in person is the best way to evaluate whether you and your dog are comfortable with your sitter. Give the sitter a chance to be alone with your dog, and discuss your specific instructions for care to make sure that it’s a good fit for everyone. Meeting your sitter before the stay will also help your dog feel more comfortable when the stay begins, since they’ll recognize their new sitter as a friend.
4. Book your sitter! Take a look at your calendar and map out the dates when you’ll have to part with your pooch. If you’ve started the process several weeks in advance, you’ll have the best chance of booking with your first choice sitter. If your first choice is not available, that’s what your backups are for! Rover.com aims to give every dog owner a lot of options to help take great care of your pet.
5. Travel stress free, knowing that your dog is in good hands. Once you’ve found the perfect sitter, it’s time to relax and enjoy your trip! A great sitter will message you with text and photo updates so you know your dog is enjoying their vacation as much as you are!