Going out of town for work or on a vacation can be difficult, especially if you have
a pet at home. You want someone you can trust and is reliable to take care of your
pets and your home while your gone. It’s natural to look to a neighbor, friend or
family. You can trust them, but it might not always be the best choice.
There are many people who use family members, co-workers, neighborhood kids,
or someone from the sites like Rover, Care.com etc. Upon doing research about
their experience from using these people, the response has been – “I don’t think my
dogs got as much attention as I’d like”. I need someone more reliable”, to flat out
horror stories. I’ll get to those later.
First Things First
Why do people use a friend, neighbor, or family member?
1. It seems easier to ask a neighbor or friend, than to go through (the hassle) of
setting up a consultation with a professional.
2. It’s less expensive and sometimes almost free! Only if everything goes well.
You might end up with a pricey vet bill, because of a lack of awareness and
We all like to save money, but at the expense of your pet, that is so a part of your
family, and your home with absolutely everything you own in it? If it were me – I
would pay the going rate to get peace of mind. Afterall, that feeling is
I’m not saying that all family members and friends aren’t good pet sitters, but they
are not in the majority.
So why you may ask don’t these family members or friends do a great job.
Sometimes they even offer to help, so you feel comfortable that they will do a
good job. People offer to care for your pets for many reasons. You could have a
neighbor volunteer her son, because she wants him to do something other than play
his video games. He really doesn’t want to do it, but his mom said he would, and
you don’t argue with your mom!
Maybe the person needs extra cash and sees this as an opportunity to do just that!
Sometimes we are the culprit and guilt people into helping because they are family
and close friends.
Here in lies the problem – this is not their JOB or main priority! They may love
pets and they really intend to do a good job, but the truth is they really don’t have
anything riding on the line. Plus, if your neighbor, family or friend has an
emergency, no one will be available to feed, walk and play with your pet. They
have other “priorities” on their mind. They may forget to lock your door, or even
worse, forget to visit at all. Believe me that has happened!
I have a friend who owns a pet sitting company in Arizona who received a call
from a young boy who said he was doing the midday visits for a client who was
currently on vacation. To save some money, this client decided to split the pet
sitting by hiring my friend for morning and evening visits and hiring the neighbor
boy for the midday walk. The boy called the pet sitter in the evening around 9:30
and said he was playing at his friends’ house and forgot all about taking the dog for
a walk. That meant that the dog hadn’t had his midday walk and had been in his
kennel for over 12 hours!
Therefore, professional pet sitting companies refuse to split visits!
At Canine To 5 Pet Services, your pets are our top priority. If your primary sitter
has an emergency, we already have trained back-ups in place to make sure that
your precious family members are well cared for. We have a scheduling tool in
place and our office manager can track visits daily to make sure that not a single
appointment is missed.
So Why Hire a Professional Pet Sitter?
There are several things that set a professional pet sitter apart from pet sitters.
1. Being Bonded and Insured – A professional pet sitter should be bonded
and insured. If something happens, everyone is covered. If a neighbor
leaves the water running and floods the house, you’re SOL!
2. Professional associations and knowledge – A professional pet sitter will
most likely belong to a professional pet sitting organizations.
3. Will do a consultation – Professional pet sitters will come to your home to
do an initial consultation where they interact with your pet and know your
pets’ routine. Never hire a pet sitter without meeting them.
4. References – A professional pet sitter will have references you can call.
5. Service Contract – A service contract should be signed in order to protect
6. Experience – Depending on their time pet sitting, he or she likely has more
experience dealing with animals and vacant homes than the neighbor does.
7. Love – Professional Pet sitters become such because they love animals. You
should be able to see that love during the initial consultation and feel assured
that your pet will be in the hands of someone who will not only provide food
and water but will go the extra mile to make sure your pet feels happy and
When choosing a pet sitter to care for your fur babies, there are many factors to
consider. Whether you choose to go with a neighbor, friend, or professional, it’s
important to be educated about the differences between pet sitters and professional
pet sitters. I’m not saying you can’t have a good experience with just anyone, it
just depends on what level of care you want for your home and pets that
determines who you choose.