These days, more and more people are living hectic lives -- juggling family, career(s), and other activities. Often, it isn't always feasible for pet owners to take time out during their busy day for taking their pets for a walk or much needed exercise and play time. Animal owners often struggle to find someone to care for their pets while they are away on vacation, as well. Busy pet owners need a reliable source to find care for their loved ones while they are away. That is where a good pet sitter can come to the rescue!
There are many resources in the Columbus area (and all of Central OH) to help you locate a professional pet sitter that you can rely on. One such resource is a very helpful website that assists owners in locating pet sitters in our area: The Pet Sitter Portal. This site offers listings of qualified pet sitters in your particular part of the city; pet sitters that are willing and able to help you lovingly care for your pet(s) while you must be away.
Some important considerations:
Before hiring a pet sitter to look after your loved ones, there are several things you will need to consider. Some of the qualifications to look for in a petsitter are:
- References -- Ask for personal references of prior (and/or current) clients, and verify them! It only takes a few minutes of your time to ensure that your beloved pet will be in good, reliable hands.
- Experience -- Ask the potential sitter how long they have been pet sitting, and which types of pets they are experienced in caring for. If you have a pet with special needs, is the sitter equipped to accomodate the pet as needed (i.e., administer medications, IV fluids, shots, etc.)?
- Certification -- Some petsitters do their work as a "side job," (which is OK!), but others have been certified by pet sitting organizations, such as Pet Sitters International (PSI) and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS). Ask the potential sitter about such certifications, if applicable. These 2 major pet sitting organizations ensure that their members are held to high quality standards. Certification shows that the pet sitter is a serious professional, who has obtained a high level of expertise by completing a course of study in pet care, health, nutrition and behavior, business development and management, and a complete pet first aid course.
- Cost -- The cost for reliable, qualified pet care can vary; shop around and weigh your options, being sure to consider quality and reputation vs. cost.
- Availability -- Be sure to find a pet sitter that is available to your pet when he/she needs them. A good pet sitter will stop by your home 2-3 times per day (for dogs, especially), to allow him/her some exercise and socialization, as well as to relieve him/herself, not just put them in the backyard for a few minutes.
- Trust -- Be sure to select a sitter that you trust in your home; the pet sitter will need to have keys to your home in order to care for your pets; your first instincts are always best to follow.
- Relations with your pet -- How does your pet respond to the potential pet sitter? Is the pet welcoming/friendly, or are they a bit uncomfortable with the sitter's presence? It is normal for pets to have a little apprehension when meeting a new person, as they are often protective of their owners, but are they unusually uncomfortable? It is important to find a sitter that your pet is compatible with, as they will be spending time with them while you are away.
- Outline your expectations -- You are hiring a pet sitter to care for your pet. This means you "call the shots" as far as how often the pet sitter visits, whether or not you wish to have your mail or newspaper retrieved for you, phone answered, lights turned on/off, etc. Be sure to outline your expections and requests. Most pet sitters will be happy to provide more than just your average pet care. Don't be afraid to ask!
- Outline any special instructions -- Does your pet need special care? Are they on a restricted diet? Do you wish to have the pet sitter clean the litter box(es) and/or cages, if applicable?
- Leave emergency instructions/directives -- In the unlikely event of an emergency, the pet sitter will need to be able to contact you for instructions on how to handle the crisis. Leave at least 2 phone numbers for your sitter to be able to reach you (or a trusted family member). If desired, you can give the pet sitter permission to transport your pet to a veterinarian if needed in an emergency in the event that they are unable to reach you. In this case, be sure to leave the number of your pet's vet(s) as well as your own. Pet sitters can also transport your pet for a scheduled vet appointment as well. Outline what level of care you wish for your pet to receive.
For information about the certification of professional pet sitters, visit Pet Sitters International (PSI), or National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS). These sites are also great resources in locating qualified pet sitters.