7 Things To Look For When Hiring a Pet Sitter

Regular reader Brigette Mayer is the owner and operator of Calli Co. Pet Services, a pet sitting service based in New Westminster. Since it’s vacation season for so many people, we asked Brigette to give us some tips on how to hire a professional pet sitter.

Barkley and Koshi, Photo by Eric Jung, used with permission

Your pets are your fur babies, an important part of your family. Are you going to trust their care to any old hack that posts an ad for cheap pet care on Craigslist? Here are seven crucial things to look for when hiring a professional pet sitter.

  1. Is the pet sitter insured and bonded? A professional pet sitter carries a minimum of $1 million general liability insurance, including an additional rider for care, custody and control of your pets. The insurance may also cover lost key coverage – in the event your pet sitter misplaces your house key, this coverage pays for your locks to be re-keyed. For bonding, a minimum $10,000 dishonesty bond is standard.
  2. Can the pet sitter provide references? You should ask for both written testimonials, if they are not already posted on the pet sitter’s web site, and references from current or past clients that you can call and speak to directly.
  3. Does the pet sitter provide a free, no-obligation initial consultation? You are trusting this individual with a key to your home and your pets. You need to have a chance to meet with him or her to decide for yourself if this person is the right fit for you and your family. An initial consultation should last around 45 to 60 minutes.
  4. Does the pet sitter provide you with a written contract, including details of services to be provided, rates and terms and conditions? If not, run far, far away! Your relationship with a pet sitter is legally binding and you should ensure that you and your pets are protected.
  5. Does the pet sitter know pet first aid? While not strictly necessary, it certainly provides an additional level of comfort to know that your pet sitter is knowledgeable enough to provide emergent care to your pet if something unexpected were to happen.
  6. Does the pet sitter check in to ensure that you’ve made it home at the end of your trip? A conscientious professional will want to know if your travel plans have been delayed for any reason, so that (s)he can continue to care for your pets until you return home safely.
  7. Does your pet sitter give you the warm fuzzies? Remember, as much as pet sitters have to enjoy working with animals, you are the one doing the hiring. If the pet sitter doesn’t make you feel safe, comfortable and happy with their services and level of experience, then find one that will!

2 Replies to “7 Things To Look For When Hiring a Pet Sitter”

  1. Great post, especially about the importance of valid insurance! I heard a horror story of a dog who was being cared for by someone hired by her regular dogsitter… who wasn't covered by her insurance. When an accident caused the dogs tail to be amputated, it meant a long and lengthy legal battle to recover the extensive vet bills.

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