If you are heading out on vacation, you may want to hire a pet sitter to take care of your cats, dogs, or other pets while you are away.
But, there are so many pet sitting companies showing up in a Google search, It can be difficult to know if the company you are hiring is reputable, reliable and high quality. In this article we will share a few simple tips the search can be a breeze.
Why Hire A Pet Sitter?
You may be looking for a pet sitter because you don’t want to impose on family or friends, or maybe you just moved to a new town and you rather not impose on your new co-workers.
In most cases, a professional pet sitter can provide better care than your friends or neighbors because these companies have proven emergency procedures, understand the basics of animal behavior, and have systems in place to make sure no details are missed.
1. Look For a Local Company That Has A Team
The best kind of professional pet sitting companies are local companies that specialize in pet sitting as their main service and have a team. When you hire a local company, It’s likely there will an owner or a manager that you can call if you have any questions or concerns while you are away.
Local companies will have solid procedures and processes in place that keep everything running smoothly. If this doesn’t seem to be the case I would look elsewhere, because that could be a red flag.
A solo sitter that does not have a team, is pretty close to a Hobby Sitter. You can read more about the differences between the types of sitters in our article, How Much Does A Pet Sitter Cost.
You can find great Hobby Sitters, but I recommend that you find a company with a team because you are more likely to be covered in an emergency or on short notice.
2. Member Of A Pet Sitting Organization
Look for one or more of these logos somewhere on their website. A few of the best pet sitting organizations are:
Pet sitting organizations bring pet sitting companies into a community of other pet sitters.
Often they have member forms that pet sitters will use to learn about best practices and to keep up with trends in the industry.
Associations even have annual conferences that some pet sitting company owners will attend. Finding a company that is a member of at least one organization shows that they are committed to the industry and making an effort to learn from other sitters.
3. Look For Pet Sitting Specific Certifications.
The most qualified pet sitters and dog walkers will have a certification from:
Pet Sitting certifications cover a broad body of knowledge that pet sitters need to know to keep your pets safe and in good care.
Completing one shows the sitter is interested in being at the top of the pack and committed to the industry. We maintain a NAPPS certification. You can read more about what a NAPPS Certification means.
Certified Pet Expert.com is our sister company. We are very happy to provide an online course that covers hands, need to know, info about pet sitting and dog walking. We offer better information, at a lower price and in a way that is more conducive to learning and teaching. This combination allows companies to certify all of their sitters, not just the owner.
4. Pet Sitters Should Be Trained in First Aid
At minimum, your sitter should have enough experience to know when it’s time to bring your pets to the vet.
A first aid certification will cover:
- Emergency Prevention
- Preparation – What to keep in a first aid kit
- How to calmly handle an emergency
- How to asses a pets health
- Knowing what normal vital signs look like in Cats and Dogs
- Signs of poisoning
- Signs of electrocution
- Signs of blockage
- Pet Heimlich Maneuver
- Pet CPR
There are a few pet sitter First Aid courses available. A couple of the most popular ones are Pet Tech and Pet Pro Hero
5. Bonded, Insured, Background Checked
At a minimum, your sitter should be bonded, insured, and background checked. Hiring a sitter that is bonded insured protects you from loss and liability. having business insurance is step one for a pet sitting company and if a sitter does not carry it – that’s a big red flag for me, and I would look elsewhere.
Background Checked Sitters
Most sitters will advertise that they on their website if they do background checks. Anyone that is coming into your home to care for your pets should be checked to make sure they have do not have a history of animal abuse, theft, or any history of violence.
We use a pet care specific background check offered by Acutraq.
6. Find a sitter that sends daily updates
A sitter should at least give an update every day, if not at every visit. Your sitter should be in regular communication with you while you are away. It is a bit rare for companies to advertise how often they will send an update. So, you might have to ask.
The best sitters send a picture message update at every visit. Picture updates are solid reassurance that everything is going well back home. and you will love getting cute pictures of their pets.
7. Find A Sitter With An Online System
An Online pet sitting system will handle all of the scheduling, pet profiles and updates, invoicing and billing, and more. A good online system built for pet sitters will keep everything organized and working smoothly.
You can tell if at pet sitting company has an online system by looking for a menu item at the top of their website that says Login or Schedule.
A few common online systems are:
It can be a bit scary hiring someone to come into your home. Be sure to trust your instincts. You can also get a camera system so you can check in on your pets and home while you are away. The Furbo is awesome for pets. The Arlo camera system is easy to set up.
If you start with a sitter that has all of the credentials listed above, you are off to a great start.
7 thoughts on “How To Find A Trustworthy Pet Sitter | 7 Tips”
I like how the article explains that you should find a pet sitter that will be able to give updates while they are with your pet so you can know how your pet is doing. I have a cute dog that has some health problems that I like to be constantly aware of how they are doing. Hiring a pet sitter that will keep me constantly updated will help me to not worry about my dog while I’m at work.
Thanks for the comment Mia! I absolutely agree. Open, clear, and accessible communication between you and your sitter makes the entire experience so much better 🙂 We built our entire company around this concept.
All the best!
Owner & Pet Sitter – Paws At Home
Good touch with looking for the professional teams and companies first! They aren’t available everywhere, but whenever possible definitely go with those. They will have the most academic training and more certifications than those who are doing it as a side gig. Well put!
Absolutely. Knowing what’s going on with your pet at home while with your sitter is a huge peace of mind update that shouldn’t be missed. Good article!
Lots of good information in here! Good job! And as the other commenter noted, active updates are a huge thing for a lot of people. Making sure they contact you if something goes wrong or just to let you know what’s going on gives huge peace of mind to the out of town owners.
Good advice, for trying to find a local team then spreading to online searches. Very helpful.
This is EXCELLENT advice for local pet sitters and pet owners, especially if some kind of corporate connection feels more comfortable.
As a full-time international pet sitter since 2012, I would add that if you hire a pet sitter directly, have a real-time chat with them via Zoom and do the same thing with a couple of the pet sitters references. Any pet sitter who is truly trustworthy will have enthusiastic references who are eager to share.
The other tip I would add is if you have a conversation with a potential pet sitter and they show little or no interest in the pets, beware. Your pet’s comfort, safety, and happiness may not be their primary concern and they may have motivations for being in your home which don’t have anything to do with furry friends.