This woman with a Christmas jumper on patting a fluffy white cat is reading about how to find a good pet sitter

How to Find a Good Pet Sitter for the Holidays


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With Christmas holidays only one month away and your fur baby unable to join the family vacay, making sure they’re well looked after will help you relax. If your fur child loves the comfort of his home and routine then a pet sitter may be the perfect holiday pet care option. Read on for expert tips on how to find a good pet sitter.

There’s been a spike in the demand for pet sitters since the easing of Covid-19 restrictions. As things return to normal pets may feel a tinge of separation anxiety. Hiring a pet sitter as a holiday pet care option means your furry companion will be in familiar surroundings – their home – and will have company.

Separation anxiety in pets can be caused by various factors. Common triggers include being left alone for the first time or way too often, a change in the family’s routine or the loss of a family member. Symptoms of separation anxiety can differ between dogs and cats. If your fur baby suffers with anxiety it’s important to choose a good pet sitter with experience in dealing with this.

Pet sitters are also a great choice for fur babies who like being around people yet prefer to follow their usual routine. For example, cat owners usually prefer pet sitters because felines tend to be far more comfortable in their home environment. Cats can be left alone for longer than dogs, too – read our article on leaving your cat home alone, to know how long is too long.

Pet sitters can also be a helpful holiday pet care option for animals such as birds, rabbits, fish, or guinea pigs who don’t have a variety of options with external boarding.

Here a big brown dog is being walked by a lady after its owner found out how to find a good pet sitter.

Tips on how to find a good pet sitter

To find a good pet sitter ask neighbours and friends for referrals. Your local vet may also be able to refer you to some good, reliable pet sitters. A quick Google search for ‘how to find a good pet sitter?’ will give you options of several professional pet sitting companies.

Be sure to ask for multiple references because what works for one person may not work for everyone else. It is also good practice for professional pet sitters to have a police background check. You don’t want anyone coming into your home if they have a criminal background, do you?

Questions to ask a potential pet sitter about their holiday care

To help decide if someone is a good pet sitter meet in person with your pet present. Take your time to find the most qualified and best suited person for the job. Here are some questions to take to the interview:

  • What kind of pet sitting experience do you have?
  • How long have you been pet sitting? 
  • What types of pets can you care for?
  • Is this a part-time or full-time job for you?
  • Are you educated in pet behaviour and health? 
  • Tell me about a challenge you’ve had as a pet sitter and how you handled it.
  • How will you make sure my pet is comfortable, happy and healthy while you’re taking care of them?

Other important factors on how to find a good pet sitter

Researching for the best pet sitter could stretch on forever as so many factors can be taken into account. However, these are three key additional requirements you should strongly consider as crucial:

  1. A business licence (if required where you live). Pet sitter-specific liability insurance also shows professionalism.
  2. Pet first aid and CPR. This type of training could come in handy during an emergency or unexpected situation. Find out more about this in our animal CPR article.
  3. References. It may be worth contacting past employers to get information about reliability or any issues.
How to find a good pet sitter for added peace of mind. A ginger and white cat licks its paw while wondering how to find a good pet sitter for added peace of mind.

Ensure they know what you need

When you find the right pet sitter set up a longer visit so they can spend more time with your pet and get to know the house. You can explain where things are, how your pet’s routine works and whether there are any behavioural details they should know (e.g. if they have separation anxiety).

This will help eliminate stress for everyone while you’re away.

Before you jet off, don’t forget to leave the pet sitter a list of important information confirming the above plus what in case of an emergency. This list should include:

  • The number to contact you on.
  • The details of the place/places you’ll be staying at.
  • Your vet’s contact number in case of a medical emergency.
  • What you’ve already discussed with them about your pet’s routine, health, medication, food, etc, plus anything you may have forgotten.
  • The contact details of a trusted family member or friends in case you can’t be reached.
  • Information in case of a plumbing or electrical emergency relating to the house.

Still wondering whether a pet sitter is the right holiday pet care option for you? Read our article on ‘kennels vs pet sitters’ in case a more formal pet boarding approach will work better.

Keeping your dog safe, on holidays or not

The spike in dog theft in NZ is another important reason to vet your pet sitter. The thriving black market for stolen dogs has been reported to be fuelled by economic instability and higher living costs. This has forced people to turn to desperate measures to make ends meet.

Some dogs such as purebred dogs or hybrid dog breeds are more likely to be more profitable than other breeds. But this doesn’t mean that other breeds are safe from thieves. Some dogs are also stolen to be used for illegal dog fighting. Read our article to get more tips and information on stolen dogs.

Once you’ve figured out how to find a good pet sitter you’ll still need to ensure your pet is safeguarded well. What’s another way to help keep your fur kid safe, whether you’re at home or away? Pet insurance. It can help cushion your financial fall in a medical emergency, giving you added peace of mind.

PD Insurance will give you one or more months free when you sign up online. Why not give us a try?

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