Woman on a bench with two dogs

Tips for hiring a pet sitter

Going on vacation but don’t know what to do with your pets? Consider a pet sitter! Kelly Eades, owner and operator of Hip N Happy Pets, a pet-sitting service, offers advice on hiring a pet sitter.

What does a sitter do?   Pet sitters come to your home—some will stay in your home, too—so pets get to remain in their own environment and keep their routines.

Meet the sitter in person first.   Kelly, for example, offers a free consultation at a client’s home so they can observe how she and their pets interact. “Dogs respond favorably to someone who shows genuine interest and love to them. If the dog doesn’t trust you the owner shouldn’t either,” says Kelly.

Check references.   Ask the sitter for the names and numbers of former or current clients. Call them and ask how long they have known the sitter and how many times the sitter has been employed by them. Ask how their pets respond to the sitter and if the clients believed their pets felt loved and secure. Other questions could include the condition of the home, medications dispensed or any pet emergencies that arose.

Open communication.   Talk to the sitter about their procedures and policies and discuss your pet’s routine and needs. Special needs, medical, dietary or fears your pet may have should be discussed at this time. Provide emergency contact numbers to the veterinarian, a close friend or neighbor, the animal’s trainer, anyone familiar with the pet.

Do your part.   Leave all pet accessories, leashes, food, medication, in one location so your pet sitter does not have to hunt for anything. Let the sitter know where all cleaning products, paper towels, broom, dustpan, vacuum cleaner, are located.

Have a backup plan.   What if your sitter gets sick or has a family emergency? Make sure a neighbor or friend has a key and can take over if your sitter can’t complete the job.


One of the best compliments Kelly ever received was: “We could tell you did a great job because when we got home they weren’t even that crazy to see us.”

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