The recent increase in pet-friendly lodging options has made vacationing with furry family members easier than ever.
But what if your destination doesn’t accept pets?
It’s stressful to think about leaving your pet with someone else — let alone someone you barely know — but hiring a pet sitter to come to your house has its perks. “When you leave your pet at home, they’re in a place that is comfortable,” says Amy Sparrow, president of the nonprofit National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS). “Their sights are there. Their smells are there.”
You can also tailor the visits to your needs and pet’s routine including extra visits, playtime and walks, and some pet sitters will perform household tasks such as checking the mailbox.
Sparrow notes that not all pet sitters offer the same level of care. Pet sitters who belong to a professional association like NAPPS are typically bonded, licensed (if required locally) and insured. Sitters who are NAPPS certified have animal first aid training including CPR.
The best way to find a professional pet sitter is to ask your veterinarian for a recommendation or search for one in your area through websites like NAPPS or Pet Sitters International (PSI). Both associations have a search feature to connect pet parents to members so you can see the services and rates before moving forward.
Once you’ve selected possible options, Sparrow suggests setting up an in-person interview for more information. PSI and NAPPS post sample questions online, including what a routine visit entails and how the pet sitter handles emergencies. Ask for references, and discuss rates and accepted payment methods. Other sample questions may include:
- Do you have a license (if required by your city or state)?
- What are your qualifications and experience?
- Do you have a plan for inclement weather and other emergencies?
- Are you insured?
- Do you have first aid training?