Finding the right pet sitter

For peace of mind when you’re away from home, read our advice on finding the perfect sitter for your pet.

How to find a pet sitter

Finding the right pet sitter can give you peace of mind on your holiday.  You can relax and enjoy your break knowing your pet is in safe hands while you’re away. But many pet owners are unsure of what to look for in a prospective pet sitter, and without proper industry regulation, it can be difficult to know who to trust. We’ve put together advice for helping you find the right pet sitter for your pet.

Don’t leave it too late

One of the first mistakes many pet owners make when finding a pet sitter is to leave it until the last minute before the holiday. It’s important not to rush the selection process, as taking extra time to find the right sitter for you and your pet can save time and stress in the future. It's never too early to start thinking about this, once the holiday is booked you should start to research your options.

Insurance

Many professional pet sitters have specialist insurance that covers them in a range of circumstances, including public liability, accidents and injuries and loss of keys. Find out if your potential sitter has insurance, and if so, what’s covered.

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checked?

One of the best ways to validate a potential pet sitter is to ask if they’re DBS checked. This is a government check that details aspects of their criminal record, including any previous convictions or warnings. It flags up any issues straight away, which is particularly important since you’re giving them access to your house and belongings.

Reviews and recommendations

The best way to find out exactly what a pet sitter is like is by talking to their previous clients. See if you can track down any reviews from their website or social media profiles, or alternatively, you can ask them for at least three references.

Suitable for your pet

Whether you have a dog, cat or rabbit, you’ll need to make sure your pet sitter is comfortable with the species and breed you own. For example, cat sitters may not feel comfortable looking after dogs, and vice versa.

Rabbits, in particular, need a sitter that understands their behaviour since they can hide illness and injury very well. Your sitter will need to check up on them often so that any issues are cared for quickly.

Quality over price

As with most services, the cheapest option isn’t always the best. Be sure to choose a pet sitter on their merits, references and how well they suit your pet’s needs, rather than price.

Check your pet likes them

As they're going to be spending a lot of time together, it's crucial that they get on.  Once you’ve found somebody you like, introduce them to your pet and see how they get on. If your pet seems tense or aggressive, it’s probably not the right fit.

Before you go...

Check off our list of last-minute preparations before you leave your pet with their pet sitter:

  • Stock up on dog/cat food, or rabbit hay/pellets.
  • Stock up on plenty of waste bags/cat litter/rabbit bedding.
  • Write down details of your local vet for the pet sitter, plus your nearest 24-hour emergency centre.
  • Thoroughly clean out rabbit hutches before you go.
  • Discuss your expected schedule of care with your pet sitter.
  • Ensure your sitter knows where the essentials are kept (toys, pet-friendly cleaning products, extra food/bedding, leads etc.).
  • Give your pet a final check for illness or injury.

Hand over your keys, plus a spare for emergencies. Don’t forget back door/garage/shed keys, if necessary.

For more advice on finding your perfect pet sitter, or to hear about local kennels, catteries and rabbit boarding, speak to your local Medivet practice.

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