I have two dogs, and as much as I’d love to take them everywhere with me, sometimes it’s just not practical. If you’re traveling and can’t take your dog with you, read these tips for finding a dog sitter you can trust:
1. Use a Website With Online Reviews
Do a quick Internet search for “dog sitters,” and you’ll find dozens of sites—some free; some that require a monthly fee. I’ve personally used DogVacay.com (free) and Care.com (paid). Both sites were easy to use, had all of the information I was looking for, and included reviews from other pet parents. My recommendation: Use one of the free websites that includes reviews, such as DogVacay.com, Rover.com or Thumbtack.com.
2. Interview Potential Pet Sitters
Once you’ve found a good candidate to care for your dog, it’s time to set up an interview. I usually do an initial interview over the phone; that way, if the person isn’t available or you don’t get a good feeling, you haven’t wasted too much time. Not sure what to ask during the interview? Here are some questions to consider:
- What’s your availability?
- Do you have any professional training?
- What is your daily routine when you dog sit?
- What are your payment expectations?
- Do you have experience with large dogs? (You can substitute “large” with any particular trait your dog possesses—high energy, anxious, etc.)
- Are you insured? (Some pet sitting sites, including DogVacay.com and Rover.com, include insurance coverage when you book through them. If you use a site that doesn’t include insurance, you’ll want to make sure your sitter is covered in case something happens while you’re away.)
- Would you mind completing a criminal background check? (This is more important if the dog sitter will be staying in your home—and this is when paying for Care.com could come in handy. You can perform a background check directly from the site.)
3. Let Your Dog Interview Potential Pet Sitters
It’s important that you feel like you’re hiring a dog sitter you can trust, but it’s also important that your dog likes the sitter. He or she will be the one spending time with this person, after all. Set up a play date so you can observe how the potential dog sitter behaves around your pup and vice versa. If you and your dog agree, you can officially hire your pet sitter!
Niccole Schreck is a rental experience expert for Rent.com, a free rental site that helps you find an affordable pet-friendly apartment and provides tips on how to move with your pet. She is also the proud owner of two dogs, Bella and Wallace.