With the holidays around the corner, you have most likely found a solution for your pet care needs. Sometimes, however, last minute issues arise, and below are some tips for finding a reputable and responsible dog care provider. Remember, the sweet old lady next door may offer a safe home and three squares to your canine companion, but she might not be equipped to fulfill the needs of Violet the Vizsla or Jamison the Jack Russell.
The most important considerations for finding a pet sitter are:
- Experience: How long has the person been working in the field? Do they have experience with dogs like yours?
- Credentials: Do they have pet first aid/CPR training? Do they have any type of professional certification? Do they operate through another business (ex. Rover), or do they operate their own business? If they operate their own business, do they have liability insurance?
- Customer Reviews: Ask beforehand where you could go to find reviews by previous customers. In addition, consider asking for a couple of references from current clients, and give them a call prior to meeting with the sitter.
- Policies: The person should offer a meet and greet before scheduling a board or other overnight arrangement. This shows that the sitter takes the individual dog’s needs and that of their owner seriously, and wants to have the tools to provide the best care for the dog.
- Your Dog’s Needs: Is their experience relevant to your dog’s individual needs? For example, working with separation anxiety, leash reactivity, etc. If you are working with a trainer, this might be a good time to bring them into the equation, as they may be able to set up a consultation to help you and your pup prepare for the overnight, and to give the sitter some tools to help them work with your dog.
Also remember to make sure the sitter is familiar with any special medical issues your dog has, and has the skill set to address them.
- Gut Feeling: Always follow your own instincts! Even if the sitter appears to have all the boxes checked, if you don’t feel they are the right fit for any reason, move on to someone else.
For a dog walker, these considerations still hold true, although obviously the overnights would be less of an issue. In particular, make sure the walker has experience working with any behavioral issues on-leash that your dog might display.
Dog Care Recommendations:
- Trailblazing Tails for dog runs, walks, and sitting
- Jasmine Casimir for dog walks and sitting (booked for the holidays)
- Jo Meskel for dog walking
- Tom Robinson for dog sitting