5 Important Tips For Hiring a Dog Sitter

Amy Tokic
by Amy Tokic
Things to keep in mind if you’re looking for a reliable dog sitter

Even if you’re going out of town for one night, your dog needs someone there to look after him. They’re not like cats, who are pretty much fine on their own overnight. Dogs need to be let out, walked, fed and played with – and if it’s not you, you need to find or hire someone to take over your pet parent duties for the short term. Time to find a dog sitter!

You don’t want anyone taking care of your furry family member… so stay away from Craigslist! There are better ways to find a competent and trustworthy dog sitter who will stay in your home and ensure that your dog gets the care and attention he needs. Here are some tips that will help you find the right person when it’s time for hiring a dog sitter.

References: One of the most valuable assets a dog sitter can have is a list of glowing references. Ask other pet parents who they have used in the past or if they’ve heard of a sitter that’s gotten great reviews. A dog sitter with a website will have reviews posted, but ask for references from current clients that are willing to speak with you over the phone.

Contracts, Insurance and Bonding: The professional dog sitter you hire needs to be insured and bonded. They should have general liability insurance, which can range from $1 to $2 million limits, depending on where you live. They should also have additional coverage for care, custody or control of your dog, which is sometimes not included in the general liability insurance. The dog sitter should also have Third-Party Bonding (Protection Against Dishonesty), so that you know the belongings in your home are safe. Finally, all of this, along with rates, services provided, and terms and conditions, need to be put in a contract.

Trust Your Gut: Meet the dog sitter in person before agreeing to anything. Although you’ll be nervous about leaving your dog with a stranger, you’ll get a gut feeling about them. How does your dog react to him or her? If you don’t feel safe and comfortable with them, trust your gut and find someone else.

Doggy First Aid: Knock on wood that nothing happens to your dog while you’re away. But if it does, you want to make sure that your dog sitter has the first aid skills needed to provide or obtain emergency care and treatment. These skills can include CPR, basic first aid training and any other specialized care your dog may need.

Friends and Family: If you can’t afford a professional dog sitter and can’t find one that suits your needs, turn to your friends and family. Many of these people would jump at the chance to look after your dog for a night or two. Friends, relatives, coworkers and neighbors are just a few of the people who wouldn’t mind spending the night at your place or bringing your dog over for a visit – especially if they have pets of their own.

Have you ever hired a dog sitter before? What did you learn from the experience? Is there anything you’d add to this list? Please feel free to leave your tips in the comment section below.

Amy Tokic
Amy Tokic

Amy Tokic, Editor of PetGuide.com, is a passionate animal lover and proud pet parent of Oscar, a Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross, and Zed, a Japanese Chin. Her love of animals began in kindergarten, when she brought her stuffed dog Snoopy into class with her every day. Now, she writes about her adventures in pet ownership and tirelessly researches products, news and health related issues she can share with other animal enthusiasts. In her free time, Amy loves perusing used book and record stores, obsessing over the latest pet products available and chasing squirrels with wild abandon (a habit attributed to spending too much time with her pooches).

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