When on vacation, worry is one thing you're trying to avoid.
When you’re sitting on the beach sipping a fruity drink, miles away from home, the last thing you want is to be worried about whether your pet is okay back home. If you’re fortunate enough to have reliable family members who can take your pet while you leave town, great. If not, or they aren’t available, you may be considering options like rover.com or a friend or neighbor.
Here are some drawbacks of using “just anyone” when it comes to pet sitting.
Pet Sitting Horror Stories
It happens all the time. People come home after a few days out of town to find their pet’s water bowl dry, the carpet soiled, and the animal looking stressed. And this isn’t even the worst case scenario.
An Arizona family recently arrived home after a week-long vacation only to find two of their beloved pets dead. They had hired a student to visit their pets every day. She only showed up on the first day to collect her money, leaving four pets without food and water for a whole week. The story didn't say how the family found this particular person, but it’s clear she isn’t a reputable, professional pet sitter.
The moral of the story: never cut corners when it comes to investing in quality, professional pet care.
Drawbacks of Using Websites
Websites like Rover or DogVacay have become popular. There are lots of service options, including having your pet stay at someone’s home. Probably the most attractive thing about these sites is you can basically shop online for a pet sitter.
However tempting it may be to try and save a few bucks, you may not actually save anything in the end. You may end up spending many times more. It’s like getting super cheap dental work—you may end up having to see a professional anyway to fix a botched job. And you don’t want your pet to be the botched job!
The so-called pet sitters on these websites aren’t vetted in any way. Anyone can sign up and call themselves a “pet sitter.” You wouldn’t hire your doctor, car mechanic, or plumber that way, would you?
You do have the option to buy insurance from Rover in case your pet is hurt, but there’s a $250 deductible in order to file a claim. And you may not get a refund for poor service, because this is between you and the sitter. So you could be stuck with paying the price of poor service: vet bills, damage to your home, and the guilt of leaving your pet with someone who didn’t give them the care they deserve.
The moral of the story: most websites don’t have your back when it comes to dealing with their sitters. Make sure you do your homework if you decide to go this route.
Are Friends and Neighbors Reliable?
The main drawback of using friends or neighbors is the legal issues that could arise. For example, what if your friend slips and falls in your backyard? Or what if your pet bites them? You’re responsible for everything that happens when someone is on your property.
Of course, you may think, “my friends would never sue me.” Maybe not, but it is wise not to test their loyalty. And your friend may not be the one to come after you—it could be their spouse or parents, you just never know.
You and your furry companions deserve the best when it comes to pet care while you’re on vacation. Though you may get lucky and find a pet sitter you like and trust online or your circle of friends, be careful. It’s always best to hire a reputable pet sitter who is insured and bonded, and one that communicates regularly with you, every time you go out of town.
Read the article Expert Tips for Working with a Petsitter for advice on finding an amazing pet sitter for your pets.
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.