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Your bags are packed and you’re ready to go! But wait, who’s going to take care of your dog when you’re traveling? If you can’t lasso a friend or relative to pet sit your pup, you can either hire a pet sitter or board your dog. Which option works best for you depends upon your dog’s temperament, health, personality, and of course your budget.
In-Depth Overview on How to Board Your Dog or Hire a Pet Sitter
If you’re going to board your dog, check to see if the pet hotel or kennel is a member of these professional organizations: PACCC (Professional Animal Care Certification Council), OPCLC (Outstanding Pet Care Learning Center formerly American Boarding Kennel Association), or IBSPA (International Boarding & Pet Services Association). These organizations offer classes and certifications in pet care. Ask the organizations what vaccinations they require for boarding. Specifically ask if they require kennel cough (Bordetella) inoculations, if they don’t, move on. You don’t need your dog to pick up a cold when you’re gone.
Ask the pet hotel, boarding facility, kennel or doggy daycare if you can bring your dog’s pet bed and toys to make your dog feel comfortable. Check out the boarding facility and kennels indoor and outdoor play areas. Ask them about ventilation and how often are the play areas cleaned.
Pet Sitting in Your Home
You may decide that dragging dog, dog food, pet bed and toys is too much work, do the pet sitter route instead. Pet sitting has two options: scheduled drop-in visits, or a pet sitter who temporarily lives in your home. If you’re nervous about hosting a stranger in your home, you may want to have them drop in for walks and feeding. Dogs that don’t need a lot of attention—elderly dogs, calm, placid dogs who don’t get into mischief, i.e. destroying property or barking incessantly when alone can handle being alone for long periods of time. Having a pet sitter in your home ensures that your dog has company during the day and night, your house is safer because there’s someone watching over it, and if there’s an emergency; either with your pet or your home, the pet sitter can become your superhero taking care of it in seconds.
How to Choose a Pet Sitter
You might be lulled into thinking that getting a pet sitter’s as easy as ordering delivery. After all, when you open an app or check out a website (Rover, Wag!), there’s tons of sitters looking like they’re saying, “Pick me! Pick me!” You do want the perfect fit for your pup, so take time to interview and meet sitters before you click that “Book Now” button. After all, you’re entrusting your furbaby into someone’s care. You want to make sure that your pet, and you like and trust your pet sitter. A bad pick is like an extended bad blind date, and no one wants that!
Agencies and apps/sites have insurance. Rover has the Rover Guarantee. If you’re booking an individual, find out if they have insurance and/or bonded.
Here’s a list of dos and don’ts to follow when interviewing a pet sitter:
If you’ll be gone from home for two weeks or longer, or if you’re using the same sitter for a series of trips, tip them. Agencies, apps, and websites take a cut, anywhere from 20% on up for pet sitting bookings. If you appreciate your sitter, show them. The kinder you are to them, the kinder they’ll be with you, and will happily work with you on last-minute emergencies.
After You’re Back From Your Trip:
If you were happy with your pet sitter, leave a review. Reviews are currency in this industry. If your pet sitter did a great job, let the world know!
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