Five Important Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring a Pet Sitter

Five Important Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Pet Sitter

Summer—prime vacation time—is here! For me, the worst part of traveling (worse even than sitting in traffic trying to get to the beach!) is leaving my fur kids. When I can, I take them with me. Unfortunately, I can’t always do that, and I want to make sure my pets are in good hands when I leave. One of the most important decisions I make when planning a trip is whom I choose to watch them!

There are a lot of pet care companies, but they are not all created equal. Here are five questions you should ask before entrusting your fur kids to one of them.*

1. Are they a legitimate company? Some people think pet sitting is easy—just put up a sign advertising dog walks—but there is real liability involved. Ask if they are members of Pet Sitters International or the National Association of Pet Sitters. It they are, they must meet certain criteria, e.g., that they are licensed, bonded and carry insurance. You’re hiring someone to come into your home, giving them your alarm codes and letting them take care of important family members. Make sure they are someone you trust!!

2. Does someone from the company come to your house to meet you and your pets before pairing you with a dog walker/pet sitter? Every dog is different and needs to be matched with a dog walker/pet sitter who is a good fit. Some are better with puppies while some are better with senior dogs. Some would rather cuddle with a dog or cat, while others would love to go for a long walk with a pup. Meeting with you and your fur babies first is an important step in making sure the person who cares for your pets loves them (almost) as much as you do!

3. Are they aware of different medical issues and do they know pet first aid? Do they know the signs of bloat? Do they know, for example, not to take a Pug for a long walk in hot weather? If your pet needs insulin, do they have someone who works for them who knows how to give it? If they have sitters who are certified in pet first aid, that is a plus!

4. Do they have back-up staff? If your pet sitter gets sick or has an emergency, your pets could be stuck inside for 12 hours, or even longer, if there is no one to back up the person who was supposed to take care of them. Make sure the company you hire not only has back-up staff but can easily get into your home to take care of your pets if necessary.

5. Will you get updates from your sitter after each visit and is it the same person coming each day? Not only does a daily update confirm that your pets were fed and walked, but it is a nice, personal touch, telling you what they did together. It also lets you see what time they entered and left your home.

Having the same person take care of your pets every day is ideal. Your pets are probably happier seeing the same person every day and your pet sitter is familiar with your pets. She knows what they enjoy (and dislike) as well as making her more attuned to any changes in their behavior, alerting you to any possible problems.

Whether you are hiring someone to walk your dogs every day, feed and play with your cats, or stay with your pets when you travel, knowing the answers to these questions will help give you peace of mind to know your fur kids are well taken care of!

*Information from Amy Reed, co-owner of Woofie’s, a dog walking, pet sitting and mobile pet spa in Ashburn, VA.

Ellen Zangla Photography: Pet portraits with personality!

M.Photog., Certified Professional Photographer

Professional Photographers of America: 2017 Bronze Medal Photographer of the Year

My pets, two dogs and two cats, are an integral part of the fabric of my life. I absolutely adore them. Like other family members whom we love, I feel that it is incredibly important to have portraits of them that capture the essence of who they are, whether they’re regal or goofy (or both!) or somewhere in between. If you feel the same way about your dog, cat or other fur or scaled kid, here’s how you can learn more about a pet photo shoot with me works. Or feel free to contact me. I am a pet photographer, specializing in photographs of pets and pets with their people. I serve all of Northern Virginia, including Loudoun, Fairfax, Leesburg, Ashburn and Reston, as well the DC Metro area, and I would love to create pet portraits for you that you will treasure for a lifetime.