A good professional pet sitter is a true find. Instead of relying on a friend to feed your dog, walk him and spend an hour or so playing with him, you can relax while you’re away, knowing that your dog is in capable hands.
     A knowledgeable sitter should be able to spot medical problems and handle emergencies – and make your absence less stressful all around. In fact, in some instances, animals tend to get a bit spoiled by their pet sitters when their owners are away. The pet sitters may spend ½ to 1 hour with your pet, but that time is 100% about the pet and its needs. So, when you get home, they may expect the same from you!

Choosing a Sitter:
Make sure you’re making the right choice in deciding to leave an animal at home alone for most of your time away. If your pet has medical or behavioral problems and needs close supervision, a kennel might be the best option.

Ask fellow pet owners or your vet, groomer or pet-supply store for referrals or look in the yellow pages. National Assoc. of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS) referral line is (800) 296-PETS.

Know your price range. Sitters charge an average of $12. per half hour visit.

Ask questions. What is the sitter’s training background? How extensive is his or her knowledge of medical problems? Have they had any training through a pet sitter’s group, humane society or other organization?

Expect questions. The best sitters will want to know all about your animal, its eating habits, toilet habits, grooming needs, exercise routines, medications, etc. The sitter should also ask for important telephone numbers.

Have the sitter meet your pet in advance and watch how the sitter interacts with your pet.

Always leave a telephone number where you can be reached and the number of your veterinarian. Call the sitter if you plan to return early or late.

Make reservations – the earlier the better – and confirm a day or two before you’re planning to leave.

Have your own plan, especially during the winter in colder climates. Provide the sitter with the name of someone, maybe a neighbor, who can take care of your pet should bad weather or other unexpected circumstances prevent the sitter from getting to your house.

Have plenty of supplies on hand.

Inform the sitter of your pet’s special habits, favorite toys, hiding places, and what might startle or frighten him.

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