How To Choose The Right Pet Sitter or Dog Walker
So the time has come for your long awaited vacation and the only thing remaining is hiring a professional pet sitter to care for your beloved dog and cat while you are gone. You may be asking yourself what you should be looking for in a quality pet care provider. Here are some insightful tools and things to consider when searching for that perfect pet care company.
Experience and References
When starting your initial research, some of the best places to refer to are Yelp.com or Google.com. Here you can gather important information on the pet sitting company such as the types of services they offer, their location, operating hours, and most importantly, customer testimonials. If you’re reading reviews on Yelp.com, make sure to click on the link labeled “other reviews not currently recommended ” which is located towards the bottom of the page. This way you can search to see if there are any hidden testimonials that Yelp filters out for unnecessary reasons.
In addition to online reviews, another great way inform yourself of the company’s reputation is to ask to speak to a couple of their current customers. If the company is staffed by multiple people, you may want to ask for references specific to your assigned pet sitter or dog walker.
Make sure to also check out the website of the pet sitting company. Does it look professional? Are there pictures of the pet sitters available? Does their love for animals and pet care experience come across? Are they Pet CPR and First Aid Certified? Are they professionally bonded and insured?
Professional Liability Insurance
It is highly recommended to only work with pet sitters who have professional liability insurance. In the case that the company has employees or independent contractors, they should also be professionally bonded. Liability insurance typically covers any accidents or injuries to your pet while in the pet sitter or dog walker’s care. It also usually covers misplaced keys and situations where your locks need re-keying.
Meet & Greet Consultation
Most pet sitting companies offer free Meet & Greet consultations. This is a great way to get a sense of the company’s professionalism and how they will act around your pet. Some of the questions to keep in mind are:
- How well do they communicate with you before, during and after the Meet & Greet?
- Do they present themselves professionally?
- Are they genuine and friendly?
- How do they greet your pet?
- Do they treat your pet in a gentle and loving manner?
Additionally, you may want to ask questions about the company’s background and find out how they operate. Some examples of questions include:
- How long have you been doing pet care professionally?
- Why do you love taking care of animals?
- How do you update clients on their pets while they are away?
- If there is an emergency and you suddenly become unavailable, what back up plan do you have in place to continue care for my pet while I am still on vacation?
The pet care provider should ask you intelligent questions during the Meet & Greet and should ask all of the details regarding your pet’s daily routine and care.
Finally, make sure to trust your gut. You will know it pretty quickly when you find the right one. First impressions make for a great indicator. If they are courteous, communicative, professional, comfortable around your pet, and overall warm and friendly, you may have found the perfect fit!