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@RoverDotCom | Tips to Help You Find the Right Pet Sitter for You

Disclosure: I am bringing this post to you through my paid partnership with, 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. 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 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 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?


  1. This is great list of questions. However, all the professional pet sitters I know (which is, granted, only a bakers dozen) will not do any amount of pop-in home visits during vacations because it is not healthy for a (very social animal like a) dog to be alone so long. Pop-in visits are great for people who work long days but should not be used while on vacation. Either board your dogs or have a pet sitter that will stay in your home. I would worry that any pet sitters who don’t also have this policy are just in the business for the money and not for the best interest if the animal.

    • I completely agree! This arrangement will work for cats, but, is NOT good for dogs.

      • Thanks for stopping by, Debbie

        I think there was a misunderstanding about what our (me, my boyfriend and our dogs and cats) need from a pet sitter.

        Since we work full time, we think that someone who is able to stop by a couple of times during the day to check on our dogs is a fantastic idea – they keep each other company when we’re home (not on vacation). As I shared with Bethany, since this is new to them, having someone pop in to make sure they’re okay without us will give us peace of mind.

        Thanks for stopping by!

    • Thanks, Bethany

      In my experience, some pet sitters may have other jobs, especially during the holidays. We have three dogs and we work during the day, so someone stopping by a few times during the day is a dream for me – then they’ll stay over night as well.

      This schedule allows them to take care of any errands or other obligations during the day, while giving us the comfort of knowing that our dogs are being regularly checked on since we’re away and their schedule is different.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      • Oh! Sorry for misunderstanding. I thought the answer to question 5 meant the pet sitter was not spending the night. Of course, expecting someone to be with your pets FULL TIME is a bit much. Three to four pop-ins AND overnights is great.

        • Ohhhh, no worries. I’m thankful for the misunderstandings, because it allowed me to clarify myself. How often do we get that opportunity? :) You ROCK!!!

  2. The best way to find a good dog sitter, in my experience, is to ask for recommendations from other dog owners who you know feel the same way about their dogs as you do about yours. Before we found a neighbor with whom to trade dog sitting, we left or dog with a husband and wife who would have our dog move in with their two dogs and usually one other dog. They had a large fenced in yard and did walks. They had our dog’s bed in their bedroom, but let him sleep in their bed. They sent me updates and photos while we were away. He was happy to see me, but cried a little when we drove away. Needless to say, I was very happy with the arrangement. They stopped boarding dogs when they had twins. Fortunately, we had our other dog family lined up by then.

    • Great tip, Suzanne – thank you so much. This is definitely something that is important to us. I would hate to have someone watching our pets and home who was just in it for the money. We would be much more comfortable knowing that we had an animal lover staying with our pets, because they’ll make sure the pets are a priority in the time that we’re away and understand how important our pets are to us.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing this!

  3. I agree with Bethany. The nights can get awful long without someone around for most dogs.

    I use a pop-in sitter during the day since we work/commute long hours and, if nothing else, it gives me peace of mind.

    • Oops, I guess I need to re-read my blog post. I thought it was obvious that we were using an in-home pet sitter – thanks so much for stopping by and prompting me to clarify myself.

  4. I have a pop-in pet sitter that comes in twice a day to check on Beamer and let him out in the backyard for a few minutes, because of our long work days. She changes out the pee pads if necessary and checks water and food. Then on her way out gives him a prepared Kong from the fridge. If anything, it gives me peace of mind.

    I wouldn’t consider having just that amount of care if we were away overnight. Just wouldn’t be enough security.

    • oops! sorry for the double post, Kimberly. Thought the first one was lost. AAcK!

      • No worries – LOL – I was confused for a moment, but then I saw this one. hee hee

        Thanks for giving me a few extra comments.

  5. Really great! And great Q&A!

    • Thanks!

  6. I own an independent pet sitting business. All of the suggestions in the post are good. I think the most important part is finding someone you feel comfortable with. Take some time to talk over the phone briefly, and then use the meet and greet to go over all your concerns and questions. The pet sitter should be able to adjust to meet your dogs’ specific needs.

    I’ve found that most people actually prefer drop-in visits three times per day while they are on vacation. They don’t want someone to necessarily stay in their home. Others really do want someone to be there coming and going more often and staying overnight with the pets. As a pet sitter, it’s about being flexible and providing different options to meet different needs.

    • Thanks for sharing, Lindsay :)

  7. Thanks Kim for mentioning me. And yes, I was going to say basically the same thing that Lindsay said.

    As a pet sitter I always needed to be flex. Some clients didn’t want someone to stay over night but wanted visits throughout the day. And it’s a good rule of thumb to not leave a dog more than 12 hours overnight.

    As pet sitters, we provide what the client wants for the most part.

    Also, I didn’t do a lot of pop-in visits at all. My visits were 30 minutes each. I didn’t generally time them to the second and you get a feel for the timing and the routine of the pet anyway. And there are the times that you go over because something comes up. Like a dog vomits or has an accident of some sort.

    And yes, when a sitter is scheduled to visit your dog, s/he will have other charges to tend to, but your dog/s will be on the schedule and get their visits too.

    I think I noticed too that you mentioned something about making sure the sitter knows who your vet is too?

    And make sure arrangements are made to get the vet paid.

    Thanks again Kim, for using my ideas for your article. Glad you found someone.

    • Thanks so much for helping me understand. Having three dogs who are very affectionate, I love that someone will be around to make sure they’re taking the change in their routine okay. It would give us peace of mind and help us enjoy our vacation more.

      Thanks for stopping by! :)

  8. These are great advice tips! To me, it can be difficult to find the right sitter out there for our “children”, but with these questions, it should help make the process a little easier. I will have to keep these questions in mind for next time. Thanks so much for sharing!


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