Find a Great Petsitter – By a Petowner

25 Feb, 2020

Find a Great Petsitter – By a Petowner

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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 HouseSit Match we do our best to offer supporting guidelines, best practice tips on choosing a pet sitter. 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 petsitter

great petsitter
A great pet sitter will help your pets feel relaxed at home

Great petsitter service

These last few years we have taken long trips and have needed to find great pet sitters to care for our pets at home. We’ve looked for a good pet sitter service. 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.

Sarah, Ugandan villager
Mixing clay
Minimal smoke oven




Find a pet sitter – In house pet sitting

Planning pet and housesitters

Some weeks before we travel we plan our trip and our housesitters. We belong to HouseSit 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 pet sitters 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 house sitting and pet sitting network

HouseSit Match 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 pet sitter needs

Lively dogs need a great petsitter with lots of energy

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.

housesitter, pet sitter, home owner, housesitting
Interviews are important to build a bond between owner and pet sitter

4. Interview the pet sitter – Try to talk to them in person or virtually

To ensure you have made a good choice and your sitter is indeed a great pet sitter 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, Zoom or 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 discussion.

Meet my cat Macavity – caught resting for a moment

5. Finding a great pet sitter

When looking for a great pet sitter 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 pet 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 pet sitter

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.

A final word on how to find a great pet sitter

By finding a great pet sitter 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 Housesit Match 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.

To start your search for a great pet sitter join a housesitting network like

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.

JOIN HOUSE SIT MATCH AS A HOUSESITTER – To exchange free home and pet care for free accommodation

JOIN HOUSE SIT MATCH AS A HOMEOWNER – To exchange free accommodation for free home and pet care.



Planning your holiday home and pet care

What is in home pet sitting and how much will it cost?

What are pet sitting services?

What is House Sitting?

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Founder and Director of HouseSitMatch - I'm a hands-on Admin on the site. Please ask any questions and as soon as I can I'll happily answer and assist where I can.

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