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To the Rescue: How-To Interview a Pet Sitter

Choosing someone to come into your home and care for your precious pal is not an easy process! While I have friends who've sent their dogs to a pet sitter's home for a short trip, most times it's cat owners that use these professionals. Regardless of your situation, I've gathered some key questions to ask when you're interviewing a potential sitter. It's up to you to do your homework and look for referrals and references in addition to setting up guidelines and arranging the length of time for each visit and the total trip. Check out some key questions and tips when you


  • Are there established, published lists of fees for the most common pet-care requests? You'll want to be able to figure out (and guarantee) consistent, reasonable rates for your budget beforehand.
  • Is the pet sitter bonded and insured? In addition to seeing proof of coverage, make sure there is an emergency plan pertaining to natural disasters and medical emergencies – you should make sure there is a plan in place and information about emergency facilities nearby as well as other contacts.
  • Can you schedule an in-person, home visit beforehand? While there, make sure she is comfortable and competent around your pet with a positive attitude. This is a great opportunity to watch them interact and show her where everything is located.
  • Is everything laid out in a contract? Make sure everything you've agreed on is spelled out in addition to payment terms and length of visit.

Feel free to add more advice in your comments below!

Join The Conversation
ufshutterbabe ufshutterbabe 9 years is a good place to start your search for a pet sitter. Most serious pet sitters will be have a membership with Pet Sitters International.
snickerdoodle66 snickerdoodle66 9 years
Try out Totally reliable.
Renees3 Renees3 9 years
We just moved to a new town and I HATE trying to find a sitter. My dog is used to being with someone all day long (I work from home) so what most sitters do (come and visit a couple times a day) doesn't work for me. I'm taking a day trip this weekend (we'll be gone like 18 hours) and I haven't found someone to watch him. I'm kind of freaking out. I contacted 2 people, but both can't do it and I don't know anyone is this town!! Hey, anyone in the Coachella Valley?? haha thought I'd ask! :-)
LVC LVC 9 years
Are there any recommended nation wide sites that have reputable sitters? Who would you contact to find insured and bonded ones if you dont have a referral from someone?
UrbanBohemian UrbanBohemian 9 years
Sorry guys, I didn't mean to write such a downer of a post. I just wanted to share a cautionary tale. But the best pet-sitters will appreciate the pets that they're watching and give them the attention and TLC that they should always get, even in the owners' absence!
UrbanBohemian UrbanBohemian 9 years
I know hurts to think about it! But at least neither of our dogs are in pain any more.
UrbanBohemian UrbanBohemian 9 years
That lady didn't have any pets! I think she just saw it as a casual way of making extra money. Maybe we should have trusted someone with better credentials, considering we had a dog with health problems. Don't worry emg, you seem so considerate over the lab that you're sitting....I would probably pick you to take care of our pets any day!
ALSW ALSW 9 years
Luckily, I've never had to go the pet-sitting route, other than family. And most of my family members have pets and they're all well-treated, so I trust them. UrbanBohemian - That has to be so hard. I wasn't there when my dog died and it always makes me feel a little guilty to think of it.
emg2114 emg2114 9 years
By the way Urban Bohemian, I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your dog. That's really tough. Did that woman have any dogs of her own? I think that can often serve as an indicator as to whether or not the person even understands dogs enough to care for them.
emg2114 emg2114 9 years
I'm actually pet-sitting right now! Well just for the people in the apartment above me. The last post is totally freaking me out though b/c I'm looking a 12-year-old black lab (along with a kitty.) I was already nervous about having to go into someone else's apartment... I kinda wish I could keep them with me in my apt. Well, so far the only thing I may have done wrong (I hope!) is overindulge the dog with a couple of extra treats... she's like a big goofy pup and I'm sucker for dogs...
UrbanBohemian UrbanBohemian 9 years
Ebony, our family black lab, died in the hands of our pet-sitter. My sister was attending college as a sophomore, and my parents had come down to visit me for Parents Weekend during my freshman year at college. At age 11 with diabetes, arthritis and cataracts, she got to live a long life, but I have to live with the fact that she died alone. I think the pet-sitting job was just a side-gig for the lady because she did it with her young daughter and she mainly worked as a house cleaner. Because she also cleaned our house, we have our beliefs that she our dog wasn't given enough water, so she drank out of the toilet bowl which had cleaning detergent in it. As soon as my parents came home, we fired her. She still runs her 'pet-sitting' business with her daughter. I don't believe she has ever taken the job seriously, and with a death on her hands, she should terminate it.
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