As more and more families welcome dogs into their households, dog ownership is on the rise now more than ever. After all, there’s a reason dogs are called man’s best friend.
Dogs are known to fill the homes and hearts of anyone and everyone that they cross paths with. That is, until you need to be away from them for a while when you have other things to tend to. At this point, it’s just a tugging sensation when you think of being apart.
Adding on to this heartache are swarms of questions in your mind about where you’ll be leaving your dog during this time apart.
‘Do I leave them home alone? At a boarding facility? Or have a sitter come over when I’m out and about?’
When we say trustable and reliable, we mean it. Finding a pet sitter doesn’t just mean going to the nearest pet sitting company and signing your dog up for their services. While this approach does guarantee you’ll get a dog sitter, it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get a reliable dog sitter who takes care of your dog properly.
To find trustable, reliable, and flexible dog sitters, you need to conduct a thorough search. With so many dog sitting companies, and pet sitting companies that offer dog sitting services out there, the options are endless.
It all comes down to finding only the best for your dog.
In this blog, we’ll discuss the recommended approach to finding the right dog sitter for you, and your dog! Although it consumes a bit of time, it’s definitely worth it when it comes to ensuring your dog’s safety while you’re away.
Get Clear on Your Requirements
The first thing you’ve got to do is take out a pen and paper to write down the specifics of the service you’re looking for. Considering how vast the world of dog sitting is, different dog sitters come with different backgrounds, expertise, and levels of training when it comes to handling dogs.
To make things easier for you, we’ve put together a list of what you need to think about when choosing a dog sitter.
- How long the dog sitting service is needed for
- What your dog sitter will have to take care of
- Your dog’s food and special dietary requirements
- Your dog’s breed, type, size, and weight
- How often your dog will have to be walked
- How many potty breaks your dog will require in a day (For instance, smaller dogs generally require more)
- How much playtime and exercise your dog requires
- Any specific grooming requirements your dog may have
- Your dog’s special needs, behavioural issues, and medical history (vaccinations, immunizations, etc)
- How many dogs you will be leaving with the dog sitter
- Whether the dog sitter has prior experience in handling dogs
- Whether the dog sitter will come over to your place, or if your dog will stay with the dog sitter (in-home dog boarding)
You may wonder how all of this is relevant. If they’re a dog sitter, they should take care of it all, right? Although this is partially true, each dog sitter is unique in how they handle dogs, their experience levels, as well as the services they are willing to provide.
Opting for dog sitting services from a pet sitting company will help you streamline the process as they’ll work with you to understand your requirements. They’ll then recommend services and sitters that are right for you and your dog!
For more on this, check out our blog on ‘Things to Consider Before Choosing a Pet Sitter’.
Start Scouting for Dog Sitters
Now that you know about all the things that have to be considered before hiring a dog sitter, here are a few different ways you can source for one:
- Through first-hand recommendations from friends, families, or neighbours who have availed dog sitting services from a company
- Through suggestions from your vet about trusted pet sitting companies and dog sitting services near you
- Through online searches and reviews on trusted dog sitting companies near you
The ways to find dog sitting services are many, but the ones we’ve listed above are effective in identifying trusted dog sitting services.
Interview Dog Sitters
If you’ve done what we’ve recommended above, by now you should have a few potential dog sitting service providers on hand. From this list, you can begin to get in touch with the companies and enquire about the services their dog sitters offer, as well as if you can discuss with potential dog sitters in their pool beforehand.
Once you have the go ahead, it’s time to begin interviewing potential dog sitters! When doing so, consider the points you’ve compiled in your checklist. This will serve as your guiding light when deciding if they’re the right dog sitter for you.
From this point forward, it’s all about asking the right questions to get the answers you’re looking for.
Ask the Right Questions
When interviewing potential pet sitters, the following are some questions you can ask them:
- How many years of experience do you have as a professional dog sitter?
- Which breeds of dogs have you handled before?
- What will you do if my pet dog has an emergency situation when I’m away?
- My dog has special needs/behavioural conditions/special medical requirements. Do you think you will be able to provide the necessary care?
- Do you know how to administer medicines prescribed by the vet?
- Will you take my dog on walks and be able to handle them outdoors?
- Do you know how to perform basic grooming procedures on my dog?
- Can you train dogs?
- I have multiple dogs at home that need to be looked after when I’m away. Do you think you can take care of and handle them all?
- If the weather is bad, do you know how to engage dogs indoors?
- Will you be able to identify any abnormal signs or behaviours in my dog that require attention?
- As a dog sitter, how do you generally work?
- Have you had any negative experiences with dogs in the past?
- Do you know how to provide first-aid care?
- Do you have anything you’d like to ask me before the service begins?
Yes, this list of questions is large but each one is essential to get you one step closer to narrowing in on the ideal dog sitter for your dog.
Some dog sitting companies allow such interviews in person, while others are willing to arrange a video/voice call for the dog sitter and dog parent to discuss.
Consider it a job interview between your dog and the sitter! So, ask all the questions that your heart desires.
Request for a Meet & Greet Session
After putting your finger on the right dog sitter for your dog, you can go ahead and request for a Meet & Greet session.
You can use this session to observe how the dog sitter engages with your dog.
Be upfront about your dog’s routine, any special instructions that need to be followed, and the schedule that you have your dog on. Make sure that your pet sitter is well aware of this so that they stick closely to it when you’re away.
Also, if your dog has any special needs or specific healthcare requirements, you should discuss the same with your dog sitter.
Considering that the dog sitter will be staying over at your house, get them up to speed about where things are placed in your house, the potty and walking schedules to be followed, and any other specifics.
Give your dog sitter space to ask any questions that they may have from their end. You’ll be surprised to know that the most professional dog sitters are always one step ahead of you and ask questions that you may not have even thought of!
Professional pet sitting companies understand that dog sitting is more than just a service.
If you still have questions on how to choose a dog sitter, then check out our FAQ section below!
Frequently Asked Questions
Leaving your dog with a dog sitter is a very safe option provided the dog sitter is from a trustable and reputable pet sitting company. These pet care professionals will know the ins and outs of taking care of your dog. They’ll also be equipped to handle emergency situations should they arise.
While it depends on the dog sitting services offered, there’s a good chance that your dog sitter will take your dog on walks. This is because walks are a vital part of ensuring good health in dogs. However, it is important to scope out a dog sitter that knows how to handle dogs outdoors, as well as engage with them in parks during walks.
Most dog sitters know how to administer oral medications. This is something that you should check on when discussing with the dog sitter. It is common for dog sitters from reputable dog sitting companies to have the expertise and training required to safely administer medications for dogs on a regular basis.
Yes! Dog sitters everywhere know how eager dog parents are to receive photo/video updates about the well-being of their pets. Dog sitting services keep parents informed on food habits, potty breaks, walks, and other essential happenings during the service.
If an emergency situation occurs, trained dog sitters will know what to do next. They’ll be prompt in contacting you or your emergency contact, and if required, they’ll even make a decision on their own to get your dog to the nearest veterinary clinic.
Dog sitters also know how to administer basic first-aid care to dogs if the situation comes up. This is also something that you can discuss with your dog sitter during the Meet & Greet session. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Dog sitters will take care of what you need them to do during the service. Some of their main responsibilities include:
- Changing food/water bowls
- Providing food and water on time
- Playing, exercising, and walking dog
- Grooming dog when required
- Administering medicines
- Taking dog to the vet, if required
- Giving treats, if required
- Cleaning play area
- Using pet-friendly products around cats
From your end, you must provide the dog sitter with all necessary information such as:
- Location of keys, dog’s food and products
- Information regarding nearest vet
- Medical history and medication information
- Food specifications
- Regular dog walk path taken
- Regular schedule/routine to be followed
- Pet-friendly cleaning products used
During the service, your dog will only be mingled with other dogs when on walks. This is only in the case that your dog is comfortable with being around other dogs. If you specify that your dog is not to be socialised with other dogs, dog sitters will ensure they keep your dog safe and away.