What qualities should I look for in hiring a professional pet sitter?

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Pet sitters come into your home to take care of your pet when you are at work or traveling. This individual can be a friend, family member or someone from a professional service.

Any pet sitter must have a genuine love of animals. If the potential sitter seems fearful or nervous around them, safely assume it’s just not a good fit.

In addition, they should possess:

• Caring attitude: Any prospective pet sitter must be truly concerned about your pet’s well being and be committed to keeping your pet safe and happy until your return.When you first meet he should be eager to learn about your pet and be friendly and cheerful with the pet—and watch to see how YOUR pet reacts to him. If the pet sitter is constantly looking at his watch or seems otherwise preoccupied, or is short with you or the pet, look for someone else
NOTE: Never hire someone who is afraid of your pet and don’t be afraid to interview multiple potential sitters. You need to find the right “fit” for your pet.
• Professionalism: If the potential sitter shows up late for the initial meeting, it may be an indication that he is not responsible or capable of looking after pets properly. A good pet sitter should arrive to meetings on time, be easily reachable by phone, clearly explain the terms of payment and exhibit a professional, positive attitude. The sitter should be willing to provide character references upon request. Consider a professional pet sitter who is licensed and bonded and who belongs to a national professional pet sitting organization.
• Experience: He should have experience in your particular species of pet. For example, don’t hire a sitter who specializes in dogs to watch over your cat. The ideal pet sitter will plan ahead for potential emergencies. Ask your prospective sitter if he has an on-call veterinarian and where he would take your pet during a natural disaster or similar event.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Leave your contact information and travel itinerary with the sitter, as well as the phone number of your veterinarian and instructions. Perhaps include the phone number of a neighbor or family member who knows the pet in case the sitter needs any assistance with something.

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