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Top ten tips on finding a qualified and professional pet sitter

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I have owned a pet sitting company in Seattle for the past 13 years. Most of the suggestions in this article are excellent. I would even take it further and say not only to ask for references, but be sure to call them! Many people go on their gut instinct, and that is likely to be right, but I still urge people to call references and ask if they’re still using the sitter, and if not, why not. I also ask if there is anything they would have liked done differently. That way, they don’t have to bad-mouth their sitter, but you can get an idea if something important is being overlooked. In my experience, most pet sitters are good, responsible, ethical people, but for your peace of mind, better to be safe than sorry.

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I do warn against putting too much emphasis on the certification. I have been active on national pet sitting forums for all my years in business, and of the hundreds of pet sitters I’ve gotten to know, both locally and online, only a tiny fraction have taken a certification course. Life-long experience with a variety of pets, and a strong sense of responsibility and common sense are key to good pet care. I do recommend looking for sitters who are trained in pet first aid.

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The second recommendation here that I’d modify a little is #5 that suggests picking a sitter with an established relationship with a boarding facility. A solid back-up plan in general is the important thing to have. For example, I have a large network of pet sitters in Seattle whom I could call on for help if something happened to me. These are people I know and trust. I also require the name of a client’s neighbor or nearby friend who has a key to the client’s house and can step in if weather or natural disaster should prevent me from getting to the home. I have the client’s vet and nearby emergency clinics mapped out. And I have a written procedure on where to find schedules, files, keys and their codes, etc., so that if I should die or be unconscious, my sister or friend who have the procedures could step in and avoid animals being left unattended.

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