As much as we wish we could bring our pets on our vacations with us, often times it’s not the best option for the pet nor owner to drag Fido along the trip. Many pet owners opt for boarding at kennels or with the vet. When there is limited availability and our furry friends suffer from anxiety and other special needs, inviting a pet sitter in your home can be a great option for keeping your pets comfortable during your time away. If you opt for a pet sitter know the steps for confidently leaving your best friend in the best care:

Picking a pet  sitter

Start looking for a pet sitter as soon as you know you are going to need one. “As a professional, our calendar is sometimes booked a year in advance,” says Tonda Benge of Professional Dog Mom. Once you have found a prospective sitter know the right questions to ask. “Are they licensed, insured, certified, or bonded? This filters out the professionals from the non-professionals.” Discovering sitters on apps are certainly convenient options but may not leave you with a peace of mind when it comes to training or emergency preparedness.

Choosing the right service for your pet

Pet needs are not one size fits all. “Put yourself in your dog’s shoes,” says Tonda. Consider your pet’s activity levels and social needs. If your pet is independent and can be left peacefully alone for extended periods of time daily drop-in visits may be enough to keep your pet happy and safe while you're away. For dogs suffering with anxiety, having the sitter take a few introduction walks and booking overnight stays is likely the best option.

Preparing for your time away

Once you have your services scheduled leave emergency contact information of both you and your pet’s veterinarian. Leave plenty of instructions to enable your sitter to do the best job possible. “Be very specific with details; feeding, potty breaks, walks, behaviors, triggers, medications/supplements, timings, and etc,” says Tonda. Make sure you leave detailed information for your pet sitter. Set expectations for not only the care of your pet but the care of your property. “Don't be afraid to use cameras and tell the sitter about the cameras.  It will encourage them to do their jobs.”  

At the end of the day, nobody knows a pet more than their owner. Finding a trusted pet sitter can be a process.  “Don't ignore your intuition, if you feel uncomfortable about anything, keep shopping.” Just as with any other member of the family, don’t settle when it comes to the care of your pet.