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BellaOnline's Family Travel Editor

How and Why you should Choose a Pet Sitter

One aspect of traveling that can sometimes cause concern is leaving behind the beloved family pets. One of the best ways to ease your mind about this is to find a reliable and trustworthy person to take care of your animals. If you’ve never hired a pet sitter before, you may be wondering some of the following things.

Why should I hire a pet sitter? First of all, keeping your furry friends at home (in familiar surroundings) instead of boarding them at a facility is less stressful to them. Also, a professional pet sitter can usually offer your pet more time and attention than a relative or neighbor who is trying to squeeze caring for your pet into their already busy schedule. In addition, hiring a pet sitter is a more formal process that forces you to plan for all the contingencies ahead of time.

How do I find a good pet sitter? The BEST way to find a trustworthy pet sitter is through word of mouth. Ask other pet owners in your area who they trust and what kind of experiences they’ve had. If this doesn’t yield satisfactory results, your veterinarian is a good person to ask for recommendations. Another option is to check out the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS).

What do I look for in a pet sitter? Just as with hiring any other professional, check to make sure the sitter is insured and bonded (in the unlikely event your pet becomes injured while in the sitter’s care). Also, look for a sitter who takes notes about your animal’s needs and preferences in your initial meeting. Does the sitter discuss emergency plans? Does the sitter have a back up in case he/she becomes ill while in charge of your pet?

Once you’ve settled on a pet sitter, you’re almost ready for your trip, but first arrange the following. Make sure your animal is up to date on vaccinations. Consider adding the sitter’s information to the emergency contact file at the vet’s office. Let your animal(s) become used to the sitter with shorter visits before leaving for a long trip. Discuss with your sitter the frequency and kind of communication you want about your pet(s) while you’re away.

Once everything is in order, you should be able to leave home with a greater peace of mind about your beloved animal(s).

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