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Disclosure: I am bringing this post to you through my paid partnership with Rover.com, their dog boarding and pet sitting website, and sharing the news about their campaign.

Australian Cattle Dog

With the holiday season coming up, many of us will be hiring a pet sitter while we travel to visit family and friends.  Rover.com is offering a $25 discount coupon for your first registration through their site.  But before you rush over, I wanted to arm you with some tips from reader and experienced East Coast pet sitter, Laura, who was kind enough to share a long list of ideas that will help you find the right pet sitter for you.

Rover logo w_ no dog picture

If you haven’t been to Rover.com yet, what you’ll find is a list of your neighbors’ listings, offering pet sitting services or in home (their home) pet boarding.  What struck me immediately was that this was a list of regular people so it’s important that we vet our potential pet sitter to make sure that our dogs get the best experience while we’re away.

Are they insured and bonded?  Not only is this important should something happen to your precious pooch, but Laura let me know that this will also show us if the pet sitter is serious about their business.

How long have they been pet sitting?  For me, experience is key, because I need to know that someone has a great history with multiple dog personalities (we have three).  And with experience, comes patience.

What are their professional affiliations?  There are professional organizations for pet sitters – the NAPPS (National Association of Professional Pet Sitters) and PSI (Pet Sitters International).

Are they involved in other activities involving pets?  Rescue, volunteer work, adoption fairs.  The more involved they try to be in animal welfare and rescue, the more compassionate they are about animals and the more committed they’ll be to your pets while in their care.  Fingers crossed.

If you plan on having someone stay at your home, find out if they’ll be there full time or if they’ll be visiting periodically during the day.  If its daily visits, how many visits?  Do these visits also include dog walks?  Laura recommends “4 times a day, but some people don’t want to pay for 4 visits a day. That would be morning, mid-day, dinner and bed-time. Three visits is pretty sufficient though.”

To clarify the above statement – in our experience, we’re having someone stay at our home.  Some pet sitters have other obligations during the day, so Laura is advising to find out if the sitter will be at the house all day (and night) or if they’ll be leaving during the day (maybe for a job or other pet sitting gigs) and if this is the case, how often they’ll be returning to our home to check on our dogs and cats.

And finally, “go for someone who has a slew of references not just a few,” Laura shared.  Because Rover.com allows us to connect with people in our own town, we should try to find friends and connections in common to check those references.

Give yourself plenty of time to do your homework.  Sometimes last minute arrangements can’t be helped, but since we know that the holidays are right around the corner, it’s a great idea to start making connections now in preparation – because no only do we have a lot of questions to ask (Thanks, Laura), but our perfect pet sitter’s calendar is filling up fast.

What additional tips would you offer?

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