By Emsie Martin
It’s bad for an animal lover to plan a holiday while you know your beloved pet cannot go along. And then, when the holiday arrives, they look at you with those big, sad eyes as if they know that you are going to leave them alone. Start looking for a pet sitter for your next holiday right away so that your pet can stay in the comfort of its own house and you can have peace of mind while on holiday.
There are various options
- Traditional options include a kennel or a house sitter. It is extremely important that you must trust the person in whose care you are going to leave your dog.
- Do your homework on kennels. Read online reviews (see what people complain about) and visit the place to make sure that your dog will have enough food, space for running around and a warm place to sleep.
- Discuss any special needs with the owner of the place, especially if your dog likes a lot of interaction, needs an isolated area, or eats special food. Be sure to read the fine print.
- Some pet sitters offer resident and/or overnight services. Resident caretaking by day is limited and less common because most sitters take care of other animals too or have clients whose animals they take for a daily walk.
- There are day walkers too who take your dog for a daily walk; make sure they know how to handle your dog.
Holiday caretaking services
If a pet sitter offers this service, it means that they are available to take care of your pet while you are away on holiday. During this period the sitter will usually visit your house at scheduled times. At the interview you need to discuss your requirements and wishes and you must decide together how often these visits should take place. Most clients prefer one visit a day, or twice a day for cats. Sometimes one is lucky enough to find an animal lover who will live in for the time you are gone.
Is it safe to have a stranger in my house?
It can be quite nerve-wracking having a pet sitter in your house for the first time. Here are a few hints to help you find a reliable sitter who will form a good relationship with your family.
- Ask for references and first make a few calls to find out from previous families whether they were satisfied with how their pets were taken care of.
- Talk to veterinarians, carers, pet shops and pet businesses in other areas to learn more about the sitter’s reputation.
- Make sure that you fully understand how the service fee works and what services are included in the quotation.
Other factors to keep in mind
- Does the sitter know animal first aid?
- Does the sitter have your veterinarian’s telephone number?
- Did the sitter ask many questions during the interview and write down the answers?
- Does the sitter have a stand-in or alternative plan in the event of a personal emergency?
- Is it a full-time sitter or is his or her time limited because of other work or studies?
- Does the sitter speak positively of other sitters in the neighbourhood?
- Will the same sitter be minding your house and animals?
- May the sitter bring along somebody else to your home?
- Does the sitter bring any children along during visits?
- How often will the sitter bring you up to date on what is going on at home?
- Do the times the sitter is available fit in with your pet’s needs?
- How will the key of your house be kept and returned?
- Has the sitter previously taken care of a pet like yours?
Pets are like children in your home; make sure you leave them well taken care of when you go on leave.