Start by asking around. As far as pet sitters go, word of mouth can be extremely helpful in linking you up with the right people for the job. Ask family, friends, or neighbours if they have heard of or ever hired a good, reliable pet sitter.
If you are unable to come across any satisfactory options this way, try browsing sites such as petsitters.org (the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters website), or petsit.com (Pet Sitters International), both of which will help you find reliable sitters within your area. It is of the utmost importance to ensure that the pet-sitters you hire are licensed and bonded, in addition to being insured in case any damage or theft takes place while you are absent.
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Narrow down your options, and invite the pet sitters you are considering over for an interview, so you can gauge them better. Observe how the potential pet sitter interacts with your pets – she/he should be comfortable, and able to handle them with ease. Grill them about their training, background, and experience, to determine whether they are qualified enough to take care of your pets. Ask them how they will administer medication or special care in case of an emergency, and ask if they have a back-up who can take over if they are unable to make it on any given day.
Before the interview ends, ask the potential pet sitter for at least three references – this will help you assess their dependability and give you further insight into how much experience they have. Contact the clients who provided the references to get their feedback on the pet sitter’s performance, qualifications, and character.
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Finally, if you decide that you have found a reliable, trustworthy and qualified pet sitter, seal the deal by signing a contract. This should list the services that will be exacted, and their fees – make sure you keep copies of the contract in case. Having found a good pet sitter, you can now be assured that you will be leaving your pets in expert hands during your absence.