Pet Sitting Services: Choose Wisely

You don't want your dog to have to walk himself!

Although having a pet can be wonderful, it can be a problem for those that have to travel often, or must be away from their pet for extended periods of time. Most people will have a family member or friend care for their pet while they are away. For those who do not have family members to rely on; pet sitting services is another option. Although most professional pet sitting companies provide excellent service, using compassionate, well-trained people, it is a good idea to make sure you have chosen the best for you and your pet.

Pet sitting is often touted as a great way to watch over your pet while you are traveling or if you have to be away from your pet for an extended period of time. While there are some benefits to this type of service, there are some things to consider before choosing this option. One of the most obvious concerns regarding home pet services is that your pet may not be taken care of properly. While you are away, you really have no way of knowing just how thoroughly or compassionately your pet will be cared for. When choosing a pet sitter, here are some things to consider:

  • Does the pet sitter really love animals or have they chosen this particular job as a source of income?
  • Has this person (or professional service) come highly recommended by people you know, or who are also avid pet lovers?
  • Has this person had enough experience with animals the same size or breed as your pet? (This is particularly important with larger breeds which may be more difficult to handle, and some more aggressive breeds which may need special handling)
  • Can this person provide several references from people they have previously worked for? (especially if this person is someone you do not know).
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In some cases, pet providers have been caught mistreating or neglecting pets, though this is rare. Again, make sure that you interview all caretakers thoroughly before you hire anyone to care for your pet. If possible, make time to meet with this person well before you are to actually leave your pet in this person's care. Have the potential caregiver care for your pet a couple of times before you leave; this will give you a chance to see how well your pet interacts with this person, and how well they handle your pet and his needs.

Another important thing to think about when hiring a pet sitter, is the fact that you are giving them keys to your home while you are away. Though most pet care providers are entirely professional, there is always the chance that your personal items may not be safe. If this is one of your concerns, you should spend some time doing a background check on the company/person you have chosen. You never know who you may be letting into your home.

The number one things that most pet owners complain about when choosing pet sitting services, is the cost. Often, pet care providers charge substantial fees; sometimes well over $30 per day. Costs are based on the number of animals to be cared for, the type of pet and the amount of care required per day. Unusual pets such as snakes, rare species and large animals, as well as more aggressive breeds will cost more, as specially-trained personnel may be required. Pets with special medical needs may also incur additional fees. If you look at the care you are requesting and the work required each day you are gone, these fees are usually reasonable.

While there may be some cons to using pet sitting services, as opposed to family members and friends to care for your pet, this can be a safe and beneficial option to consider. If you check thoroughly and choose wisely before you travel, you will have peace of mind while away and the reward of a happy pet when you return.

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