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How to Find a Dog Sitter

How to Find a Dog Sitter

While you wish you could spend every moment with your dog, chances are there will be times when you’ll have to leave them home with a sitter. Finding a sitter who’s reputable, affordable, and gets along with your dog isn’t impossible. Just follow these tips and you’re well on your way.

Where to find a dog sitter

Your first option is to reach out to family and friends. If they have pets, they may have a recommendation for you to reach out to. Don’t be afraid to ask neighbors or coworkers for their recommendations as well—it’s likely if they’re a dog owner, they may know a great pet sitter.

Next, check with your veterinarian. They can often make solid recommendations for experienced pet sitters. Additionally, many have staffed boarding facilities attached to their animal hospital or clinic, if you choose to go that route.

Lastly, check online. There are a variety of website and apps that connect pet owners with dog sitters, like Pet Sitters International, Rover, and DogVacay.

Questions to ask your dog sitter candidates

Whether it’s on the phone or in-person, ask your potential dog sitter the following questions to see if they’re a good fit.

  • What’s their pet-sitting experience?
  • Do they know animal CPR?
  • Are they licensed and insured?
  • If your dog is staying at the sitter’s home, will other pets be there, too?
  • Will the sitter stick to your dog’s feeding schedule? Walk times?
  • If your dog requires any medications, is the sitter able and willing to give them on the correct schedule?
  • What other services do they offer (brushing, park visits, sending you photos of your pup)?
  • What are their fees?
  • Do they have a service contract?
  • Can they provide references from other clients?

Always talk to the dog sitter about what to do in case of an accident or medical emergency. They should have your vet’s contact info and know where the closest Animal ER is.

Meeting your dog sitter

Set up a meet-and-greet with your sitter and your dog before you head out on your trip. Does your dog seem comfortable? Does the sitter seem to “get” your dog?

What to pack for your dog sitter

These leave-behinds will help make the sitter’s job much easier:

  • A goody bag with your dog’s favorite treats and toys
  • Items that smell like you (like a T-shirt or a towel) to remind your dog that you’re still around
  • A list of your dog’s favorite pastimes and games
  • Info on likes, dislikes, and quirks
  • Copies of your pet's medical history, including vaccinations and medications
  • Signed copies of your consent for emergency and other agreed upon treatments in your absence (in case the unexpected should arise and you cannot be reached immediately).

Boarding options for dogs

You can always bring your dog to a boarding facility if a pet sitter just isn’t working out. Many veterinarian offices offer boarding at the same location, so inquire about that during your next visit.

Here are the key questions to ask:

  • Will they let you check out the facility in person? (If they don’t, that’s a red flag.)
  • Is the facility licensed, bonded and insured?
  • What kind of training does their staff get?
  • What kind of space will your dog be in? Is there a communal area?
  • How and where do the dogs get exercise?
  • What kind of services do they offer (one-on-one playtime, grooming, training, etc.)?
  • Is there a vet in-house or on-call in the event of an emergency?
  • What’s their vaccination policy? You want to be certain your dog is appropriately protected against diseases and parasites — knowing the policy will help insure the other boarders are too! You don't want your dog to pick up a nasty bug like Bordetella bronchiseptica or other respiratory infections, often referred to as kennel cough. And of course, your dog should be up to date on their shots and be taking a flea and tick preventative regularly.
  • Can you bring your dog’s own food?
  • If your dog requires any medications, can the facility give them on the correct schedule?
  • What do they charge? What’s included and what costs extra?

Now that your dog’s ready for their staycation — and you’re ready to hit the road — you can both sit back and relax!


The Zoetis Petcare Team

The Zoetis Petcare Team

As the world’s largest animal health company, Zoetis develops and creates innovative products that improve the health of your pets. The full line of Zoetis Petcare products are so trusted and effective, they’re in almost every veterinary practice in the country.