FAQ about choosing a pet sitter

pet sitter and dog

Q. What will a pet sitter do during visits with my pets?

Visits will usually consist of providing fresh water, feeding, playtime, outdoor time, and plenty of attention for your pet. Your pet sitter may also turn lights off/on, open or close drapery, collect the mail, take the trash out, etc.

Q. Are pet sitters ever available for times other than when I go on vacation?

Absolutely, pet sitters and dog walkers provide services such as walking your dog or checking on an old or ill pet while you’re at work, taking your pets to grooming and veterinary appointments.

Q. Will a pet sitter take my pets to their home or come visit them in mine?

Some pet sitters will offer to care for your pets in their home, but most will come to your house. This way your pets are able to stay where they are comfortable; in their usual surroundings.

Q. When I go out of town how many times per day should a pet sitter visit my pets?

For dogs, most pet sitters will recommend at least two visits per day. For indoor dogs, three times a day would be best. For healthy cats, one visit per day is usually sufficient.

Q. How long will the pet sitter visit with my pets?

Each pet sitter sets their own time frame for visits, but 20 minutes to an hour seems to be standard. However, some pet sitters also offer short potty visits for dogs. These are specially designed for pets to have a chance to go outside for a potty break while their people are working long hours.

Q. Do pet sitters require that my pets have their vaccinations?

Many pet sitters do require that your pets be vaccinated, and on some sort of flea prevention. However, because of changing laws and medical research on the benefits of vaccination, some pet sitters do not. Be sure to ask your pet care professional about their requirements.

Q. If my pet becomes ill while I’m away, how will that be handled?

Your pet sitter should get information from you in advance on how to handle such emergencies. You may be asked to complete a form detailing the name of your vet, how much money you authorize to be spent on your pet’s behalf, and contact names of people who may help with decision making should you not be reachable.

Q. What if the pet sitter has an emergency and can’t get to my pets?

Normally, pet sitters will have a backup plan in case an emergency arises.

Q. Do pet sitters ever spend the night at clients’ homes?

Some pet sitters do offer overnight stays.

Q. What days of the week are pet sitters available?

Most pet sitters work every day of the week.

Q. If I’m going to be gone during a holiday, will a pet sitter still care for my pets?

Yes, but be aware of the fact that most will charge extra for the holiday.

Q. I’d like to have my neighbor come visit my pets part of the time and have the pet sitter come part of the time. Is that an ok thing to do?

Many, if not most, pet sitting companies will not share pet or home care responsibilities with someone else due to problems that may arise as a result. If someone will be in your home while you’re away, be sure to discuss it with your pet sitter and ask what their policy is on this.

Q. Should I call before I leave to confirm my trip?

Definitely! Just before you leave, call your pet sitter to confirm that the trip is going as scheduled and then again when you return home. In fact, most pet sitters will request that you call just before you leave and then again when you return home.

Q. How are my keys handled?

In order to make it easier for you and your pet sitter, many pet sitters will offer to keep your key, in a secure place, for future pet sitting engagements.

Q. What about insurance and bonding?

It’s in your best interest to require that the pet sitter be insured. This protects you should there be an incident that involves either your pet or your property. Bonding is most appropriate for businesses that employee individual pet sitters. Your pet care professional should be able to show you proof of insurance and/or bonding.

Q. What about references?

Definitely ask you pet sitter for references, and check on them.

Q. What should I expect to pay for a pet sitter?

Rates vary across the country but the average seems to be about $12-$20 per visit.