If you have pets you will no doubt have worried from time to time about how to find a great petsitter. Whatever your pets whether you have cats, dogs, birds, hens or larger four legged friends, choosing a sitter can sap the joy out of your holiday prep. At HouseSitMatch we do our best to offer supporting guidelines, best practice tips on choosing a petsitter. And we’re there if you need us along the way. In this blog by one of our pet owners details the steps she takes to ensure she finds a great sitter to look after her pets when she’s on holiday.
How to find a great pet sitter
These last few years we have taken long trips and have needed to find great pet sitters to care for our pets at home. This year we planned a long multi-country trip to Africa. The focus of our trip was some time volunteering through an organised charity in Uganda. We were involved in various activities that support the local communities – hoeing fields; building vital structures, using pre-made clay to build reduced smoke ovens to protect the villagers.
After our volunteering we also organised some wonderful tours to see the wildlife in the countries we visited. Some of our wildlife snaps are shown below.
Planning pet and housesitters
Some weeks before we travel we plan our trip and our housesitters. We belong to HouseSit Match.com a housesitting network. And if you are planning a trip I recommend you consider all the options and steps below to find the best selection of pet and housesitters.
1. Check your community for reputable local sitters
Most people find with new pets especially that they want to meet the petsitters in person, and to see how they and the pets get on. If your pets have specialist needs, or indeed are very young or very old they’ll need special care at home. Then you should certainly consider alternatives forms of care.
2. Join a housesitting and petsitting network
HouseSitMatch is one such network where you find a collaborative community that is all about home and pet care through friendly collaborative arrangements. For a small annual fee you can join a checked managed online community, where you can match up with housesitters wanting to visit your area. They will stay in your home and look after your property and pets for free. In exchange you offer them free accommodation and a home cooked meal on arrival.
If you join a ready network like HouseSitMatch the vetting of the sitters will be done, and any reviews they have earned for completed housesitting and petsitting assignments will be viewable via their profile. What’s more the housesitting will be for free! In exchange you offer free accommodation in a comfortable home. The sitters benefit because they are collaborating to ensure affordable travel options.
Read the reviews carefully to see if you can gain evidence of how reliable and dependable your sitters will be. Most reviews are pretty accurate, and sometimes they say more in what they don’t mention. Read carefully when choosing a sitter.
3. Make a list of priority attributes your great petsitter needs
Consider the kind of person you think might do a good job. What age might suit your pets and situation. Do you have active dogs who need several vigorous walks a day? Choosing a fit and able sitter would go a long way to ensuring everyone makes a suitable match.
Think about your pet’s personality and how the sitter needs to adapt to their behaviour. For example, are your cats super energetic? Are they indoor cats and will the sitter need to be mindful of this especially in warm weather when the temptation is to leave doors and windows open.
A good way to prepare for this is to sit down and draft a list of what happens typically during a full day and night for each pet. A timetable allows you to note feeding routines, and medical requirements and what time they need to happen.
4. Interview – Try to talk to them in person or virtually
To ensure you have made a good choice and your sitter is indeed a great petsitter make sure to make time for a chat. While it may not be possible to talk to them in person face to face, these days a virtual Facetime call, Messenger of Skype call makes it very viable to discuss the assignment, their background and experience. Ahead of the call make a list of questions you think of during the week in readiness for the call.
5. Choosing a sitter
When choosing a petsitter consider the most important things that matter to you. And then ask your interviewees why they think those items might be important to you. Their responses will be useful and will help you decide on your favourite sitter for the assignment.
6. Experience and care – Things to look for when choosing a sitter
You may meet a variety of sitters. So choosing the one that most appeals may depend on your focusing on a few key points.
- Ask what experience they’ve had in caring for a pet like yours e.g. puppy, lively indoor kittens, diebetic elder pet
- Learn a little about their history – ask for which pets have they had to care at home, before house and petsitting
- Find out if they have any pet care certificates. Some sitters take the trouble to get certified in ‘Pet First Aid’
7. Briefing the petsitter
Once you have made your choice work with them to ensure they understand the brief for when you are away. HouseSitMatch has ready made template documents that you can use to define what you would like them to do in your absence and the terms of the housesit assignment. It can make things so much easier for both the owner and the sitter if you spend a little bit of time preparing in this way.
Then you can go on holiday with full peace of mind, knowing you have a responsible, checked sitter at home cherishing your pets when you are not there.
By finding a great petsitter we were able to travel to the other side of the world to Kenya for a wildlife safari. We travelled with peace of mind knowing our lovely checked housesitter was living in our home and caring for our two lively Burmese cats. And on one occasion we couldn’t reach our housesitter by phone, we contacted Lamia at Housesitmatch and she managed to link us with the sitter in our home. The whole service has worked for us and helped us to enjoy our holiday.
We were so relaxed and able to enjoy our holiday we were able to make the most of the wildlife tours. Here are some of our holiday snaps!
To start your search for a great petsitter join a housesitting network like HouseSitMatch.com
As a homeowner you’ll benefit from ready vetted selection of petsitters and housesitters ready to apply for your assignment.
As a housesitter you’ll benefit from a vast range of housesitting assignments in a range of countries across the world.