Pet Portrait Artist Julie Palmer

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Choosing a good pet sitter

 

If you travel, then you have probably run into troubles with leaving your pet behind. Whether you’ve worn out your welcome with your neighbors or spent tons of money at a local kennel, you may be looking for a new way to house your pet. Pet sitting is becoming more and more popular in the United States, and more than likely there’s a professional sitter in your area.

Pet sitting should be approached with care. You shouldn’t hire anyone who just says they can do the job. There are a number of organizations that certify and guarantee their sitters, while protecting you and your pet in the process. These organizations are a great place to start. If there isn’t one in your area, then ask for recommendations from your veterinarian.

Once you have chosen a pet sitter, it’s important to setup an initial meeting with him or her. Bring your pet into the meeting to make sure the two personalities mesh. During the appointment, don’t be afraid to talk to the sitter about specifics. Maybe your pet needs to be fed twice a day instead of once, or maybe he requires medication at a specific time of day. Whatever messages you pass on, make sure you write them down. The pet sitter won’t remember everything in the initial meeting.

Prior to your departure, let your neighbors know that someone will be stopping by your house daily. It may be a good idea to give your neighbor an extra key to your home (if you trust them enough) in case the pet sitter gets locked out while you’re away. Also, ask if your neighbor minds if you give the sitter his or her information. That way, the sitter knows who to go to if needed.

As mentioned, it’s important that you write down any and all instructions. You should state how many times you feed your pet, how much food is given at those time, what types of exercise he needs, explicit instructions for medications, etc. If this is the sitter’s first time in your home, then he or she will have no understanding of the house rules that you’ve established with your pet. So, make sure you add those to the instructions. For instance, “he can sit on the recliner, but not on the couch” or “the doors to the office need to stay closed at all times.” If it’s important to you, then pass it on. Don’t forget to leave your emergency contact information and the contact information for your veterinarian.

Hiring a pet sitter may be the answer to your travel problems. Pet sitters are wonderful, because they will work based off your instructions and your pet’s schedule. If you are looking for a sitter, start with an organization that employs certified animal caregivers. Before you leave on your trip, make sure your sitter has any and all information he or she needs in order to make the experience a good one for you and your pet.

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All images are copyright 2001 to 2017 Julie Palmer. Portrait images must not be reproduced in any form without the express permission of the copyright holder.

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