How to choose a reliable dog sitter

10 Nov, 2021

How to choose a reliable dog sitter

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Dog owners always worry about going away and leaving their beloved pets. Many pet owners find live in pet sitters to care for their pets in their own home. But how do you choose a reliable dog sitter? Here are some top tips on how to go about the process, what to look for and the questions to ask.

How to choose a reliable dog sitter?

reliable dog sitter
A reliable dog sitter will have good references

Photo by Ron Lach

There are times that people don’t have any choice but to leave their dogs behind because no one can watch after them. In this case, it’s better if pet owners find someone who can come over and take care of their pets in a day care center where professionals properly supervise pets.

Owners should always make sure that their pups are under proper guidance before leaving them alone at home. Also, make sure that the sitter knows the routine of the dog.

Pet owners shouldn’t worry too much about their pets even if they are at a day care center because dogs have been domesticated over time and can adjust quickly to any changes in their environment. It is, however, still a must for pet owners to choose a reliable and trustworthy sitter who can take good care of their furry friends. Pet parents should check out the following tips on how to find a perfect dog sitter:

Find a reliable dog sitter who is experienced and has references

Dog owners might be very busy; therefore, it may not make sense to care for your canine friend yourself. You can always hire a pet sitter for this job. Before hiring a dog sitter, ask potential candidates about their experience and any Doggy references from former employers or customers.

If you have a particular need, ask about it, and if the candidate can provide this service, check what kind of experience they have with the specific task.

Choose a reliable dog sitter who has flexible hours

Dog owners might not be available for picking up or dropping off their pets during their regular office hours, but these times are often convenient for pet sitters. Some people might also want to drop off or pick up their pets in the late evening or early morning when public transportation is much less crowded.

Reliable dog sitters may charge extra fees for occasional late pick-ups and drop-offs; therefore, make sure that your budget can accommodate that before taking any decision.

Many sitters are happy to take the dog with them when they go out

Photo by Ron Lachs

You might want a dog sitter who has insurance

It is common for pet sitters to be insured against any damages they might cause while taking care of their furry friend. There are many different kinds of insurances; so, ask about the company’s policy before agreeing on anything. It should cover all activities that may happen while looking after your four-legged friends, like trips in the car (crashes or falling objects), injuries (scratches or bites), and property damage.

A reliable dog sitter will have considered pet insurance and will have pet care experience.

Furthermore, make sure that this insurance covers you because it will be your responsibility to cover any damages until the insurance company comes up with a solution. The idea behind insurance is that if something bad happens while under one’s care, insurance should cover these unfortunate consequences.

A reliable dog sitter knows how to take care of pets

A trained dog sitter is well familiar with the needs of your pup. He knows how to give a bath, put on pup clothes, and fulfil other hygiene needs. He keeps track of the eating habits of your dog and takes him out on a walk regularly. In short, he knows how to handle man’s best friend.

Furthermore, it is essential to know how much potential candidates genuinely love animals and their general attitude towards this profession. Choose only those people who understand that pet sitting requires patience, commitment, and compassion; otherwise, leave your dogs in the capable hands of professionals such as veterinarians.

Check if the sitter communicates well

Communication is essential in every type of relationship, and the same goes for business relationships as well. It is important to know if potential candidates are open-minded and ready to discuss all problems that might arise while looking after your pets. If necessary, spend some time talking to them face-to-face or over the phone; that way, both parties will feel more comfortable with each other at the beginning of their cooperation.

Choose someone who has good communication skills because they will have plenty of opportunities to show what kind of communicator they are day after day. Furthermore, you do not want your pet sitters to be boring, so choosing someone interesting may also help you reduce any tension that might arise while spending time together.

Choose a dog sitter who is willing and able to take your pets anywhere

Some people might not be comfortable with the idea of leaving their animals alone in their houses or apartments; therefore, they prefer staying at home when no one else is there to take care of them. Others may want to go for a vacation and leave their pets behind because they do not know any trustworthy pet sitters.

Try finding someone to take your pets when you plan a holiday. Moreover, make sure that the person is reliable enough to watch over them for long periods. If you are simply going to the grocery store for a couple of hours, leaving your dog sitters alone with your pets should not be a problem.

reliable dog sitter
You need to be able to depend on your sitter

Photo by Megan (Markham) Bucknall

Check references to see if the sitter is dependable and trustworthy

One can be reliable but not trustworthy (a person who always comes on time to pick up and drop off) and vice versa (a person who cannot be trusted with keys). Therefore, keep this point in mind before making any decision as it will help you narrow down the list of potential candidates.

Choose a dog sitter who can provide references

People are not always honest about themselves or their abilities; therefore, you cannot go by looks or charm alone when selecting potential candidates for this task. You will indeed see how someone behaves with your pets during the interview.

Before making any decision, ask for references. It’s always advisable to take a second opinion for better decision making.

Ask if the sitter can handle challenging pets

Is it not that unlikely that you will be able to find a reliable dog sitter with the qualities mentioned above. However, many people are still out there who have no idea how to behave around certain types of animals. For example, if your pet happens to be highly aggressive, then choosing someone who does not know how to deal with these types of pets may cause severe problems for both of them.

reliable dog sitter
Dog sitters build a good relationship with your pets

Photo by PNW Production

If necessary, try looking for pet sitters in your area or online who specialize in taking care of particular types of animals because they should have enough experience by now.

Choose a reliable dog sitter who is physically active and can handle large dogs

People have different capabilities, but nothing should stop you from being honest about your desires when it comes to selecting a reliable pet sitter. Suppose a person has a problem with performing strenuous tasks.

In that case, they definitely should not be in charge of taking care of larger pets such as golden retrievers or German Shepherds because they require a certain amount of energy and physical strength from people who look after them. In addition to these requirements, if your pet is very active, you should choose someone who can keep up with it.

Housesitter background check

There is nowhere in the whole wide world quite like home. It’s a place where you can always return to recharge, seek solace, and spend quality time with the ones you love. When you’re home, you’re safe from the rest of the world. And when you are away it is possible that you will need trusted house sitters. But how do you make sure that you have the ideal petsitter or housesitter for you? The first step is to make sure you do a housesitter background check.

The police and background check for trusted housesitters

If you’re leaving home for some time and want to ensure it is taken care of while you’re away, hiring a live in housesitter is an excellent option. If you have pets then a live in pet sitter is a great kennel alternative.

That said, going this route can raise other concerns especially if they are unknown to you. Is the live in pet and house sitter trustworthy? Are they who they say they are? To get answers to these questions, many homeowners turn to an ID and Police check for housesitting.

Not sure if a background check is the right option for your housesitter search? Here are a few key points to consider when deciding if you should run background checks on housesitting candidates before making your final selection.

Choose a dog sitter through a pet and house sitting website

Your selection of one or two housesitting websites is important both as homeowner and house sitter. It would be better and more affordable than searching for dog sitter near me and paying the fee. Whether you like a free housesitting website or a paid for site, it is worth taking a moment to consider the benefits and challenges of both.

Paying websites

Some people are happy with the house sitter as a free non paying guest in their home, but they want the security of knowing the sitter has been checked for their safety. Housesitting websites like HouseSit will check the ID of the sitter before they are allowed to apply for housesits.

In addition most sitters have a background check so criminal record checks have been shared with the site management. This keeps the website, the network and all involved as safe as can be.

Benefits of paying pet and housesitting websites

  • Sitters are checked for safety before they can apply for sits advertised
  • The checks display on the sitter profiles
  • There is usually a small annual fee which is cheaper than the per visit cost of a professional house and pet sitter
  • There are funds to pay professionals to run the website
  • The security systems are managed by paid specialists and security is of paramount importance
  • Both parties pay to be members, homeowners and housesitters for equity in the housesitting arrangement

Free websites

Other people want a real bargain and don’t want to pay for the housesitting website service either. Yes it might seem like a real bargain, but take some precautionary steps. There is a lot to be said for taking time out to vet your housesitters. Do they have background checks already? Do you even know who they are for sure?

Benefits of free pet and house sitting websites

  • There is usually a small annual fee which is cheaper than the per visit cost of a professional house and pet sitter
  • Homeowners do not pay to be members of this type of site
  • Housesitters usually pay a small annual fee to have access to the housesitting assignment advertisements.

Take time to choose a reliable dog sitter

There are many ways to find a good dog sitter. Take time to consider all your options and the ones that work best for you. Look for a pet sitter with experience, with checks and references. If they come through a pet sitting and housesitting network all the better, you will know their experience is verified by other owners. And try to get time with dog sitter in a pet meet and greet. It is a great idea for you to assess their reliability and communications skills.


Further reading about dog sitting and housesitters

At we like to share useful blogs and practical advice about housesitters, housesitting and pet sitting. We hope you find this small selection of our blogs on house sitters useful.

Housesitters keep pets safe at home and save money

What a housesitter does – Top 10 responsibilities

Top 10 tips for catsitting

Top dogsitting tips for beginners

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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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