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How To Choose A Pet Sitter & Pet Sitting FAQ

By Professional United Pet Sitters (PUPS)

What Is A Pet Sitter?. 1

What is daily/daytime dog walking?. 1

What is vacation pet sitting service?. 2

How long is a visit?. 2

How many times a day should my pet sitter visit during a vacation?. 2

Can a pet sitter stay at my home all day or overnight?. 2

Can my pets stay at the pet sitter's home instead of my home?. 2

How much does pet sitting cost?. 2

Do I meet the sitter before service?. 3

Should my pet sitter be insured?. 3

Should my pet sitter be bonded?. 3

Is it safe to have a 'stranger' in my home?. 3

Tips. 3

Other factors to consider 4

Final questions to discuss with the sitter 4

 

 

 

What Is A Pet Sitter?

A Pet Sitter is a contracted service provider who takes care of a pet in its own home.

What is daily/daytime dog walking?

Daytime dog walking is pet sitting on a weekly, ongoing basis.  A daytime dog walker is usually hired to walk or visit dogs that need a regular break during the busy work day.

A dog walker may be scheduled for daily visits or just a few days week, often once or twice a day depending on your work schedule and the needs of the animals.

The most common dog walking visits are scheduled for somewhere between 20 and 60 minutes.

What is vacation pet sitting service?

If your pet sitting service provider offers vacation service, that means that the pet sitter is available to visit your pets if you go out of town on a trip, such as on a vacation or a business trip.

During this time, a pet sitter will make scheduled visits to your home.  Often these are scheduled to start between pre-determined time slots (such as 6am-8am,   2pm-4pm, 8pm-9pm, etc) that will best fit your pets.

How long is a visit?

Each sitter determines what length of visits they will offer (such as 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour, etc).   Homes with multiple pets will often require longer visits than homes with only one animal.

How many times a day should my pet sitter visit during a vacation?

The frequency of visits is something you will negotiate with your pet sitter once the pet sitter interviews the situation and determines your needs and wishes.

Most indoor only dogs will require a minimum of 3 visits per day (at least morning, afternoon, and evening).    

Most clients choose once per day, or twice per day for cats.  Some sitters will consider every other day visits.  Every other day visits are not recommended for large male cats because of potential health problems.

Can a pet sitter stay at my home all day or overnight?

Some pet sitters do offer live-in and/or overnight care.

Live-in daytime care is less common, because most pet sitters have pet sits and daytime walks they need to do for other clients all throughout each day.  So the availability of this type of service may be very limited.

Can my pets stay at the pet sitter's home instead of my home?

Some pet sitters do offer boarding services.  Boarding availability may be limited to certain types of pets, since special licensing and additional insurance may be required of the pet sitter.

How much does pet sitting cost?

Each pet sitting business sets its own rate structure, which can vary greatly from other businesses.

Many pet sitters charge a base rate per visit.  According to U.S. nationwide polls conducted since 20010, the average per visit base rate for a 30 minute is $18 per visit.

Some sitters may have additional charges based on number of pets, mileage to your home, holidays, or tasks needed.

Do I meet the sitter before service?

Yes, for most sitters an initial consultation is required before your first service can be provided.  This consultation will give the sitter time to learn about your pets, fill out paperwork, take notes about your home and required tasks, and collect keys from you.

Many sitters offer the first consultation for free, or will credit any consultation fee to your first visit.

If you would like a follow-up consultation at a later date, be aware that there might be an addition fee for this.

Please be sure to call far enough in advance to schedule your consultation. 

Should my pet sitter be insured? 

You should definitely select a pet sitter who is insured for liability.  It is important that their coverage includes care, custody, and control of the pet.  Pet sitters can provide proof of coverage, or a phone number you can call to verify they are currently insured.

A few of the more common pet sitter insurers can be found on the Pet Sitting Insurance Comparison Chart page.

Should my pet sitter be bonded?

Bonding is different than insurance.  Bonding generally applies only if someone steals from your home, and is convicted of the crime.  At that time, the bonding company will reimburse you for the loss, and the pet sitting business will reimburse the bonding company.  Such a conviction can take years, and can be difficult to obtain.  It is also important to know that many bonds only apply to the employees of a business, and not to the business owner.  So bonding is really optional.

Some sitters have chosen to obtain actual theft insurance through a company such as PSA in order to give their clients piece of mind.

Is it safe to have a 'stranger' in my home?

We know that having a new pet sitter in your home for the first time can be nerve-racking. 

Here are some tips to help you find a reliable pet sitter that would like to build a trusting relationship with your family.

Tips

  • The pet sitter should be insured for liability, including care, custody, and control of the pet.
  • The sitter should provide contact information for references upon request.  Do be sure to contact the references.
  • Check with vets, groomers, pet stores, and other area pet businesses to learn more about the reputation of your chosen pet sitting business.
  • Be sure that the sitter provides a copy of the legal terms of your contract, including cancellation policy and other terms. 
  • Be sure that you fully understand the pricing of your service.  Ask what services are included with the rate quoted.

Other factors to consider

  • What kind of pet education and/or certification does the sitter have?
  • Does the sitter know pet first aid?
  • Did the sitter ask many questions during the consultation, and did he write down all of the answers carefully?
  • Is the sitter a member of professional organizations, such as pet sitting associations, humane organizations, or other pet care groups?
  • Does the sitter have a backup plan in case of a personal emergency?
  • Is the sitter a full time sitter, or do they have limited availability due to another job or school?
  • Does the sitter have the proper licensing for their area (in some areas a business license or kennel license for boarding may or may not be required).
  • Does the sitter talk positively about other sitters in the area, and seem informed about the industry and other pet care providers?

Final questions to discuss with the sitter

  • Will you have the same sitter serving your home the entire time you are away?
  • Will the sitter be allowed to bring anyone with them to the sits?
  • Does the sitter ever bring children to visits?
  • How often will the sitter leave a note for you logging how the trip is going?
  • Do the sitter's available time periods fit your pet needs?
  • How will your key be stored or returned?
  • Has the sitter cared for your type of pet in the past?
  • Does the sitter accept multiple payment methods (cash, check, money order, etc)
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