Finding a pet sitter you like and trust can be a challenge.
Once you find the right one for you and your pet, there are a few things you can do to make sure they’ll say "yes" when you call on them again in the future.
Warn the Sitter of Any Behavioral Issues
Does your pet have separation anxiety? Does he bark for hours when you’re not home? Has he ever chewed up your carpet? Let your sitter know if you’re worried about what they might walk into while you’re away so they’re prepared. A good pet sitter will send you updates regularly and let you know if anything was chewed on or any messes were left.
Getting your pet a new toy to play with or some treats to keep them busy are good ways to give your pet something to chew on besides your—or your sitter’s—shoes. Leave out paper towels and floor cleaner just in case, especially if your pets don’t have a doggie door.
Count All the Furry Heads in Your House
Your pet sitter should have an account of all your pets, whether they have fur and whiskers or scales and claws. Some pets, like turtles, may not need to be fed if you’re gone for a weekend and leave them with plenty to munch on. But other critters, like guinea pigs, will need some attention.
Pet sitters take responsibility for all pets in the house. Make sure your sitter gets acquainted with all your critters, large and small.
Provide Clear and Accurate Feeding Instructions
Do you have cats who love to eat? Leave proper instructions to ensure you don’t return to find your pets looking a bit plump. The quality of service you get depends a lot on how well you communicate with your pet sitter.
Can your pet have treats? How many does he get to have? How often? How many cups of food should each pet get? Do any of them have allergies? Be as specific as possible.
Make Waste Cleanup Easy
Do you have a pooper scooper for your dogs? If not, why not? It’s one of the easiest ways for you, and especially your sitter, to clean up your backyard. Providing plastic bags and a bucket to put waste in while scooping will save your sitter time and labor. Hauling a huge garbage can around can be rough—especially in extreme weather.
Keep plastic bags handy for the litter box, too. If you use a unique kind of litter, like pine shavings, let the sitter know to throw out the shavings that accumulate on the bottom. Not all pet sitters have experience with different types of cat litter.
You Can Leave a Treat for Your Sitter, too
Pet sitters do it all—feeding your pets, playing with them, cleaning up after them, sleeping on the bed with them. And at the end of the day, most sitters don’t do it for the money. They do it because pets are their passion. So if you’re happy with your service, giving your sitter a tip is one of the best ways to show your appreciation, aside from sending them referrals of course.
Follow these tips and everyone will have a “pawsitive” pet sitting experience.
Patty DiMaggio is a freelance copywriter specializing in social media, website, and email content for pet companies who want to generate more revenue from their marketing efforts. Patty also works as a pet sitter for Play Time Pet Care in Mesa, AZ where she lives with her two long-haired dachshunds, Daisy and Belle. When not writing for clients Patty enjoys hiking, horseback riding, and traveling to new places in Arizona and around the U.S.