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How to Find a Sitter for your Dog
by: Katie Brandt
Whether your dog is old or a just a puppy, there will come a time when you have to out of town for business or a vacation where dogs aren't allowed. Therefore, you will need to leave your prized pet in the care of a pet sitter. Where can you find a pet sitter? What types of pet sitter services are available? How much will it cost to hire a pet sitter? These are some of the many questions that you need to answer before you hire a pet sitter.

You have two main options of where to leave your pet when you are away. You can take them to a boarding kennel or you can hire a pet sitter. By hiring a pet sitter it means that your dog will stay at your home and a pet sitter will visit your home several times per day to take care of your dog. The following questions and answers are geared toward those pet owners that decide to hire a pet sitter to take care of their dog.

Question #1: Where do I find a pet sitter? You can find a pet sitter through a number of means. Consult your veterinarian, groomer, and breeder for recommendations. Often times they know of a reliable pet sitter in your area or they can point you in the direction of pet sitter services. You can also check with your friends and family to see if they can refer you to a pet sitter. Word of mouth referral is a common way to find a pet sitter.

You can also take a trip to your local pet store or a chain pet store such as PETCO. Many pet sitters advertise their services at these places so you can find their contact information. The pet store owners and staff may know of a great pet sitter as well.

Another option is to call Pet Sitters International at (800) 268-SITS or check out their website at Pet Sitters International is the world's largest organization of pet sitters. Pet Sitters International is highly respected organization. They offer a multitude of services including finding a pet sitter based on your zip and giving advice on how to prepare your home for the pet sitter.

Also spend time researching information about the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters by calling them at (800) 296-PETS. You can peruse their website at Not only can you find a pet sitter based on your zip code, but you can find a "certified" pet sitter. They offer a certification program that ensures a pet sitter is knowledgeable about business management, animal care, and animal health issues. This type of certification can be a comfort in the event that your dog has a health problem.

Question #2: What type of tasks does a pet sitter do for you and your pet? A pet sitter is there to provide comfort, help, and care for your dog while you are away. They will visit your home on a daily basis to feed your dog, take them for walks, and let them out to go the bathroom. They can help your dog with any health ailments or continuing care such as medicines while you are away.

A pet sitter needs to be informed if your dog has any special needs. For example, your dog may be elderly and blind or deaf. Your pet sitter must know this so they can properly help your dog. Or your dog may be just a puppy and require more exercise then most dogs. Let your pet sitter know and they can increase the frequency of visits each day. The pet sitter should be able to work with your needs.

Your pet sitter will also take the responsibility of taking your dog to the vet if an accident occurs or the need arises. You need to let your pet sitter know how you want them to handle these types of situations and how to contact you in the event that this happens.

Question #3: How do I find the “best” pet sitter for my dog? Only you can determine the best pet sitter for your dog. Follow the same procedures you would as if you were hiring a babysitter for your children. Check out their references, interview them, and inquire about past work history. How do they interact with your dog? Speak to former or current clients to determine if they are right for you.

Also make sure the pet sitter has been certified and/or bonded and insured. Your dog's life is priceless so you definitely want a serious professional pet sitter to take care of your pooch.

Question #4: How much does a pet sitter cost? The cost of a pet sitter varies based on their experience, your location, the number of dogs you are leaving, and the level of care you need for the dogs. Some pet sitters charge on a per visit basis while others can work with you to determine a reasonable price. Make sure to have their scope of services and fees in writing. This will safeguard you against any miscommunication.

Question #5: How should I prepare my home and dog for the pet sitter? First of all, your dog needs to meet and get to know the pet sitter before you leave town. Have the pet sitter visit a few times until your dog is comfortable with their presence. You don't want to leave and suddenly have a new person show up to take care of your dog. Your dog may confuse the pet sitter for an unwanted stranger.

Provide emergency numbers of your veterinarian and also a number at which they can reach you. You want to make yourself available by phone in case an emergency pops up. Make sure your home is clean and the dog food bowls are clean. Speak with your pet sitter about feeding, walking and other pet care procedures first, but also leave all the directions in writing. Verify that this is plenty of dog food for the length of time you will be gone.

If you following these tips you will find the best pet sitter for your dog and have a comfortable time on your trip knowing your dog is in good hands.

About the author:
Katie, a lifelong dog lover, owns is the ultimate dog lover's resource. Research dog breeds & get free tips on dog training, dog supplies, dog health, dog grooming, dog books & dog products.

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