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When it’s necessary to leave your pets, you should feel confident in the person you trust to care for your furry family members and home. You know you want the best for your pets, but you may not always know how to choose the option that will provide top-notch care. Gathering the right information can help you find a great pet sitter and put you at ease while you work and travel.

Choose a pet sitter that is insured because accidents can happen at anytime. If your sitter or your pet is injured while you are away, insurance can eliminate the risk of surprise medical or veterinary bills. Hiring a dog walker or pet sitter that is uninsured is a risk to avoid. Also, find out if this potential dog walker or pet sitter is pet CPR and first aid certified. This person will need to know how to recognize and respond to an emergency situation.

Another important consideration is the opinions of the sitter’s past and current clients. Ask your potential pet sitter for references, and take the time to read online reviews to learn about the sitter’s reliability, trustworthiness and professionalism. Find out if they maintain an open line of communication with their clients and if they are responsive when they receive requests, complaints or questions.

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Lindsey Holt

Using a business with multiple dog walkers and sitters can offer easier scheduling and availability. When a single person is relied upon, it's more likely that your appointment could be canceled without proper notice or that there will not be availability when needed. Also, when there are multiple sitter options, there's a greater chance that a business can accommodate your last-minute requests.

When you feel ready to contact the company that you think might be a good fit for your family, make sure they offer a free meet and greet where the sitter comes to your home to meet you and your pets. At that meet and greet, the sitter should come prepared with a list of questions that will help him or her learn about your pets. The sitter should gather at least the following information: your contact information and an emergency contact, household information including where all necessary products are located, how often you would like to receive updates, pet information including allergies and medications along with walking and feeding instructions, and your vet information.

The sitter should also review his or her policy regarding vet care. Some businesses give the option to leave payment information with them in case of an emergency. The sitter should also inform you of any other policies, including cancellation and holiday fees. If hired, the sitter should request security system information and two forms of entry into the home (regular hard key, electronic key, garage key pad, etc.) and test both forms of entry. He or she should then answer any questions that you have.

Use this time to see how the sitter interacts with your pets. If you don’t feel comfortable and confident with the sitter you meet, try again! A good pet sitting company’s main goal will be to ensure you have peace of mind that while you are gone, your pets are receiving proper care, attention, and of course, plenty of love.

Lindsey Holt is the owner of Love and a Leash, LLC.