How to

A Beginner’s 101 Guide to Finding the Right Pet Sitter

Dog Sleeping at Home | Vanillapup

Finding a great pet sitter shouldn’t be left to luck. Here are 5 tips to finding the right pet sitter for you and your dog.

Our pets are important to us, which makes being away from them, especially for the first time, so hard.

The best way to put your mind at ease would be the knowledge that your furry friend is in the capable hands of an experienced pet sitter. But how do you find the right one? And how do you make sure that she is suitable for your pet?

We know it can be difficult finding “the one”, so we’ve put together a list of quick tips for you!

Here’s how to find a great pet sitter for you and your pet

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1. Plan ahead of time

Every pet sitter has their own schedule and some have regular clients who book them frequently on certain days. Hence, if you already know of the duration and period you will need a pet sitter, start your search as soon as possible!

Experienced sitters, especially the ones with good reviews and reputation, may have a lot of bookings. Searching in advance will ensure that you are able to get the sitter you want.

Planning ahead not only involves the dates you’re away but also:

Location: Would you prefer that a pet sitter stay at your home or bring your pet over to her house?

Arrangement: Is the pet sitter required to do any specific tasks? E.g. Walking your pet, taking her to the vet or groomer, etc.

Taking these factors into account will help you narrow your search.

Don’t procrastinate as you may find yourself settling for a pet sitter whom you’re not comfortable with or forced to find other alternatives that may be a hassle to arrange.

2. Check out reviews and references

If you intend to hire a pet sitter from pet community sites, such as Furwy, be sure to read through the reviews and ratings by other pet owners.

Generally, such sites will allow users to contribute their experiences and offer advice for those looking to work with the same sitter.

These reviews are not just to help you determine whether a pet sitter is good, but also to decide whether she is suitable for your pet as all sitters have their own strengths and weaknesses.

If you are hiring a pet sitter through word-of-mouth, ask them for their references. Chances are, most of them will have at least a couple of testimonials from past clients whom they have worked with.

As you read through the pet sitter’s reviews and references, take note of the details. Look out for owners whose pets were similar to yours. Was the pet sitter up to their standards? Did they encounter any issues throughout the pet sitting arrangement? What advice did they provide? Knowing all this information will allow you to understand your potential pet sitter better.

3. Interview them

To find the right pet sitter, reading the information provided on their profiles is simply not enough.

If you wish to gain a better idea of whether they are potentially a good fit, the best way is to speak with them. Most sitters understand that pet owners are cautious in their selection process. Hence, they are generally more than happy to answer your questions.

Some of the questions you can ask include:

  • Will there be other pets at home?
  • How frequent and long would you walk and play with my pet every day?
  • Does my pet get to roam free in your house?
  • How often do you clean your house and with what cleaning agents?
  • Do you have experience caring for other pets, especially those similar to mine?
  • Are you experienced in handling pets of a certain nature (e.g. reserved, hyperactive, with a disability)?
  • Do you have any experience in handling emergencies?

4. Do a trial run

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After completing points one to three, the next thing you need to do is to check with your pet.

Regardless of how much you’ve prepared, it is ultimately up to your furry friend to judge whether she is comfortable with the pet sitter – someone whom she has never met before.

Therefore, it is best to hire the pet sitter at least once before your planned trip for a day or two. Try the arrangement that you have planned – having the pet sitter stay at your home or bringing your pet over to the sitter’s house – and see whether your pet is comfortable with it.

This provides you with the opportunity to not only take note of any kinks that you need to iron out but also foresee potential problems that may occur.

During the trial run, talk to your pet sitter as much as possible to understand how she works and make sure that she is able to bond well with your pet!

5. Provide important and detailed information

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No matter how experienced the pet sitter is, she will never know your pet as well as you do.

To ensure a smooth experience, prepare a list of things your sitter needs to know and be careful of. These details may include:

  • To-do list (E.g. meal instructions, walk timings, household chores if she is staying at your home, and appointments)
  • Where are the essentials, such as food, medications, and first aid kit
  • Contact numbers (of your pet’s vet and groomer and family or friends who can make decisions if you’re uncontactable)
  • What to do in case of emergencies (who to contact and visit if your pet falls sick)

All this information will help your pet sitter understand what to do and maintain your pet’s routine, such as the same mealtimes and walks. That will help your pet feel more comfortable while you’re away!

Your first time away from your furry friend can be nerve-wracking. But with the help of the right pet sitter, it can be a fuss-free experience. Don’t forget to ask your sitter to send you updates in the form of text, photos, and videos while you’re away!


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Kevin Chang
Kevin is the founder and lead community manager at Furwy Pet Sitters - the Airbnb for pets.

Furwy offers services like dog boarding, pet sitting, and dog daycare. It has been featured on e27, Yahoo News, and more.
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