Every pet owner plans to spend daily, quality time with their pet; however sometimes the challenges of life make it difficult. Work responsibilities, sickness in the family, or an out-of town-vacation can leave many pets and their owners without adequate time to ensure the best care is given to these beloved members of the family. For many, pet sitters and pet sitting services are the best solution to a difficult and challenging problem. If you’ve struggled to find time to walk your pets throughout the day, or are leaving on a trip and would rather someone tended to your pets needs in your home, rather than boarding your pets, then a pet sitter may be the perfect choice.
What does a Pet Sitter Do?
Pet sitters provide a number of different services related to the care and needs of the animal they are tending. Some pet sitters are hired as dog walkers and do little else than ensure your dog gets time in the fresh outdoors. Other services may be more extensive. Pet sitters generally ensure that animals have access to fresh food and water and plenty of love, attention and affection for pets during the day, on holidays or during times of vacation.
It is beneficial for pet sitters to interact and care for pets in their home as this maintains their level of comfort and stability. Some pet sitters will agree for pets to be brought to their home; however, this is not the norm. The time a pet sitter visits with an animal varies and is negotiated between the pet sitter and owner before services are contracted. Anywhere between 20 minutes to an hour is typical.
Pet sitters must be trustworthy as they have access to some of your most prized possessions: your home and your pets. Ensure that you select a pet sitter who has verifiable references, is bonded and insured and is someone you and your pets feel comfortable with.
Some pet sitters will provide a few additional services, such as collect mail or empty trash. When choosing the best pet sitter for your animal, make certain to determine any prerequisites the sitter or pet sitting service requires. Some services require pets have updated vaccinations and proof of flea or worm treatments. Determine these beforehand to avoid any complications down the road.
How to Find a Pet Sitter
Many prefer to find a pet sitter through word-of-mouth referral. If you have friends or family members that use a pet sitter, ask for references and referrals. This type of networking often provides the best results. While there are multiple ways to find a pet sitter or pet sitting service, referrals from friends and family members are one of the preferred methods used to find a quality service.
For those who don’t have access to trustworthy, word-of-mouth pet sitter referrals, try contacting a professional organization. Two well-known and respected organizations include the National Association of Pet Sitters and Pet Sitters International. Always take time to introduce your pet to the sitter before you sign a contract. Make certain your pet and pet sitter have a pleasant relationship before negotiating the terms of your arrangement. Check references, call numbers and research your pet sitter or pet sitting agency for past complaints.
Pet Sitting 101: In Case of Emergency
Thoroughly discuss, negotiate and contract terms and conditions for handling emergencies and veterinarian care should the need arise. This is extremely crucial for pet owners who will be away for an extended length of time. Never leave your pet in a situation where his or her emergency needs have not been decided and a clear plan of action established.
As pets aren’t the only ones to have an emergency, ensure there is a back-up plan should something cause your pet sitter to be delayed or miss an appointment. Make certain your contract addresses the possibility of a pet sitter becoming injured while on your property as well.
You may find it is extremely beneficial to have your pet sitter sign a waiver, should they fall or become injured while in your home, caring for your pet. Homeowners may find it is wise to ensure their homeowner’s insurance policy addresses these unfortunate, but realistic situations. Read over the pet sitters contract to determine emergencies are addressed. Do not sign a contract if you disagree with the terms.
Dogs often require more one-on-one time with pet sitters than cats. If pet owners will be away for an extended period, it isn’t uncommon for a pet sitter to make two regular visits for an outside dog and three visits for an inside dog. Healthy cats often require fewer visits than dogs.
A dog walker is hired to provide pets with activity and interaction while the pet owner is at work. Dog walking often consists of picking a dog up from his or her home, walking the dog for approximately one hour or less, then returning the dog home. A pet owner may choose to hire a dog walker several times per week, or throughout the week as needed.
As cats are generally more self-sufficient by nature than dogs, a pet sitter caring for a cat whose owner is away for an extended length of time may find that one visit per day is all that is required. Cat sitting often consists of providing fresh food and water, ensuring that a litter box is cleaned, maintaining a cats bedding area, toys, scratch pads and playing with the cat. Cats that are older, or have health problems may require more visits per day than otherwise healthy cats.
How much does a Pet Sitter Cost?
While finding a pet sitter that provides ample love, attention and affection for your pets is crucial, one can’t neglect the importance of finding a pet sitting service that is affordable. Pet sitter rates vary and must be negotiated before services are rendered. It is not uncommon to find basic, pet sitting services in the range of $30 per hour. The services required and amount of pets in the home often determines the final rate.
By taking the time to choose a pet sitter you and your pet approve of, you can ensure that your pet receives the love, care and attention needed to thrive in your absence.
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