Finding someone competent and compassionate to watch your precious pet from time to time is never easy. When popular travel holidays like the fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and the new year come around, it’s even more difficult. If your regular sitter has travel plans of their own, they’ve already been booked by other clients, or this is the first time you will be leaving your furry friend behind, you may find yourself suddenly tasked with finding and hiring a reliable, qualified caregiver to watch your pet while you’re away. But don’t worry. They’re out there, and these tips will help you find them.
Start Finding a Pet Sitter Early
The sooner you start your search, the better. As time draws near, both the number and quality of candidates you have to choose from will dwindle. So, as soon as you know you’ll need care for a travel holiday, start looking. You’ll need several weeks to locate prospective sitters, interview candidates, and hire the perfect match. Ideally, you would also have time for a “trial run,” where you can leave your pet with your new sitter overnight while you’re still in town.
If you do find yourself short on time, don’t skip steps in the vetting process. If you don’t have time to check references, do an in-person interview and introduce them to your pet, or consider an alternative solution. A highly-regarded and recommended boarding facility where you know your companion will be safe and cared for is likely a better bet than an unknown individual.
Try Online Tools for finding Pet Sitters
Pet sitting sites are designed to connect you with the caregivers you need at the exact time you need them. Many sites have features that allow you to sort sitters by their availability, which can save you time and energy in your search. Depending on the site you’re using, you may be able to select the dates you need before you search, or you may need to look at individual sitters’ profiles separately. You can also search for sitters who meet other criteria. This is especially helpful if you want someone who has experience with certain breeds, sizes, or numbers of pets, or someone who has a fenced yard.
Share Caregivers with Another Person Who Needs a Holiday Pet Sitter
If your friends and family members are traveling with you and they also need pet care, consider sharing a sitter. Finding one sitter may be easier than finding several, but not every caregiver will be interested in multiple dogs for multiple clients. It may help seal the deal if every family offers to pay the normal rate, instead of splitting the cost. It doesn’t cost you any extra, and you only need to find one trustworthy, available individual in order for everyone to enjoy their trip.
Travel holidays are some of the most fun and exciting times of the year, but they are also some of the most dangerous — for people and pets. Summer is a time for fun in the sun, as well as water safety and firework preparedness. Tree-trimming season is also the time to make sure poisonous poinsettias are out of reach of your pet. And remember, emergencies can happen any time of year.
No one wants to think about an accident or other emergency happening to their pet, especially when they are away from home. That’s all the more reason to ensure you hire a knowledgeable, experienced pet sitter. Look for someone who is dog first-aid certified and who is an effective and consistent communicator. This way, you know your pet is in good hands and that if anything does go wrong, your sitter will let you know right away. Just ensure he or she has a list of your and your vet’s contact information, as well as any instructions they may need to keep your pet safe, including instructions about locking gates, securing areas of the home, food allergies, and medical conditions.
Finding a pet sitter at a time when everyone seems to be traveling can be a challenge, but the tips and tricks mentioned above — combined with the ease and convenience of online caregiver directories — can help you and your pet enjoy the holiday.