The Do’s and Don’ts When Hiring a Pet Sitter

Hiring the right person for the job, any job is possibly the most important factor in determining a project’s ultimate success. Hire the right people, and at least you’re giving yourself a steady platform from which you can move on to the next phase. Hire the wrong person, and irrespective of the value and worthiness of the project, its progress is unlikely to be smooth.

Applying good practices when selecting your next worker is very much like putting in place the right foundations before one actually starts to build a house. This holds true whether you want to upgrade your kitchen at home, hire a graphic designer for your website, a lawyer for your next case and so and so forth.

The above principle is true for any industry, any line of business, anywhere.  Whether it is a home help to work on a home improvement project or someone to join a multinational corporation with offices throughout the world, one of the most challenging hurdles is indeed hiring. When it comes to the process or hiring or recruiting, there is an underlining commonality between circumstances, needs and locations.  At a minimum, prospective employers rely upon such basic concepts as ensuring that:

  • a person has no criminal record,
  • is not an illegal substance abuser,
  • is legally employable etc…

But how do pet owners go about making their selection as to whom they’ll entrust their beloved animals to.  When they hire a pet sitter for example, Are there any special consideration to take on board above and beyond what other industries and situations have to content with?


  1. Make sure the person you are about to hire has common sense. This sounds like a no-brainer, but I am often amazed (and I include myself in this) at the assumptions some us have that all of us have basic common sense.How do you know if your next pet sitter has common sense? Ask questions, present scenarios and find out what steps the sitter would likely take should he or she be faced with such scenarios. Like what would you if…
  2. Make sure the pet sitter realizes that his or her job isn’t just about petting an animal whilst sitting on the couch watching TV. You’re not hiring someone to test how your TV works. You’re hiring someone to replace you as a parent to your pet and that entails responsibilities. Like taking a dog for a walk even if the weather is not as friendly as one would wish for. Per sitting is not just about playing with puppies.
  3. Make sure the person has a smartphone! Possibly the weirdest recommendation in an age where everyone and their dog(!) walks around with a smartphone, but the surprising thing is that not everyone does.
  4. Ask basic questions, like why do you want to be a dog walker. The answers you’ll get will tell you much of what you need to know about the character of your prospect.
  5. Ask for letters of recommendation.
  6. Check their Facebook and other social media profile accounts to get a sense of who they are.
  7. Do a background check.

For responsible pet owners, the issue of ensuring that our pets receive the best care we can give them is always a priority in the already long list of life’s other priorities. Picking a pet sitter is not something that one should undertake lightly.  By spending enough time hand picking the right person for the job, you will likely build a long-lasting relationship that will endure the tests of time.

Make sure that you plan ahead.  If you’re going to be away on vacation for the summer, for example, give yourself a few months to locate the person who is going to be the right fit.  Start your search early and get to know each other. When sitting down for early meetings with your prospective sitter, make sure you ask the right questions. Pay attention to their answers.

Here are some questions you might ask:

  • Are you insured and bonded?
  • What other animals do you have experience with?
  • Have you ever had to deal with an emergency while pet sitting?

As a pet parent, you are intimately familiar with the personality of your own pet, and must, therefore, plan accordingly.  Your pet might be of an anxious nature and thus require a person with a particular set of skills in order to bridge that anxiety.

Consider whether a boarding facility might be a better option for your pet. Some such facilities offer a camp-like feeling where animals can have fun and enjoy themselves in the company of other like-minded social animals.

Ensure that special arrangements are in place, should your pet require medical attention or is a special-needs pet. A clinically or chronically ill pet will need a whole different set of skills from a pet sitter than other pets for example.

Above all, use common sense. Listen to your instincts, don’t rush into a decision out of convenience and above all remember that your pets rely upon you 100 pc in ensuring that they kept healthy safe… And happy. It’s a responsibility you must not take lightly. While not the preferred option, cancelling a vacation because we are unsure as to whether our pets are going to be safe when we’re away is, without a doubt, one the best decision we will ever make.

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