Some pet owners like to choose more unusual pets. Perhaps it is the rarity of the animal, perhaps their exotic nature that appeals. But how do you find an exotic pet sitter when you need one? And how do you prepare them? Read on to learn our Housesitmatch top tips.
To find an exotic pet sitter can be a challenge
How can you ensure they’ll succeed?
37% of dog owners have actually skipped traveling for vacation in order to stay with their pup, according to one report from pet sitter/dog walker network Rover. However, for those who own an exotic pet, finding the right pet sitter before a holiday can be a challenge. Many pet sitters lack this experience. And your exotic pet is unlikely to travel well.
There are various factors that go into finding the right pet sitter. From the knowledge they need to care for an exotic pet to unwanted situations that might arise (eg pet snake escaping an enclosure). Regardless as to whether you own a pet spider or snake, or how long you’ll be away, here’s what to consider before choosing a sitter.
Experience with exotic pets
When considering how to find an exotic pet sitter, aiming for a candidate with experience is ideal. This means they will likely be better equipped and comfortable in caring for yours. Yet, years of experience doesn’t necessarily translate to how well a person will care for your animal. So, conducting a face to face interview before choosing is always the best idea. In an interview, you’ll have the chance to ask important questions — such as what they’d do in certain situations How might they feed a snake, or how they’d go about cleaning a reptile habitat ?
Asking about what they’d do in an emergency situation or in the event your pet escapes from their enclosure, and whether or not they enjoy pet sitting are just a few other great questions to ask that will aid in gauging a person’s true experience. Depending on your exotic pet you might also choose someone who has a real interest in your animal, and has some knowledge but little experience. They can be guided.
Do they need species-specific knowledge ?
Aside from experience and how they might handle an unexpected situation, ensuring they’re equipped is key. You will likely need to give them comprehensive knowledge on how to care for your specific pet. This is essential. That said, while looking for someone with experience with your animal’s species is preferable, the nature of a rare breed pet means it is less likely. And responsibilities and requirements can vary greatly from pet to pet. So help them build their general knowledge. Help them learn how often your pet requires feeding. Show them how a habitat or enclosure should be cleaned and how often. And help them to appreciate the use and importance of heat lamps for the well being of your pet.
However, it’s equally important that they know when something isn’t right. They must identify when to call the vet. Ensuring that your pet sitter is educated and refreshed on all aspects of animal care can be done by sharing comprehensive and reputable resources of information. These resources will outline special requirements and signs to look out for regarding certain animals as well as proper feeding/handling techniques.
Help your pet sitter succeed with exotic pets
In addition to ensuring you’re hiring an educated and experienced pet sitter you can go one step further. You can aid in their success by providing valuable resources while you’re away. While briefing your pet sitter on care instructions before you leave is standard for any pet sitter, leaving behind digital and paper instructions will help. At HouseSitMatch we provide members with a housesit and petsit template document for you to complete. It prompts you on all the elements of a house and pet sit to consider when briefing your sitter. Include your pet’s habits and any other specific instructions (in regard to medications, etc.). This can be just as essential.
If you have a pet snake or other exotic pet that seldom needs to be fed on a timeline, leave a feeding schedule. Write down the date that you last fed them and when the next feed is due. It will help your pet sitter to get it right. Additionally, ensuring you leave behind updated contact information will ensure that your pet sitter can reach you if any questions arise during your absence. Essentially you should also leave the contact details of your exotic pet veterinarian. This is always a great idea in the unlikely event an emergency situation occurs.
Final thoughts on how to find an exotic pet sitter
Exotic pets don’t’ travel as easily as say a pet dog or cat. So leaving them behind requires a pet sitter. So finding a specialist exotic pet sitter with experience and knowledge to care for your pet is important. Yet you can help your pet sitter learn about your animal to ensure they’re well taken care of in your absence. Conduct an interview and leave behind the right instructions and any detailed information they might need for your pet care. Ensure the pet sitter is equipped with the right foods. Share with them any information they need about signs of illness to look for and what to do. Then you’ll be able to leave your pet in the good hands.