Pet sitter and dog watching pet parent from window

Finding The Perfect Pet Sitter

Jeanne Blandford | February 25, 2021

When looking for a pet sitter, whether for daytime care or overnight stays, demand the same qualities and experience you would for the care of any family member.

  • Experience
  • Reliability
  • Compassion
  • Good Communicative Skills
  • Flexibility

Where to begin? Seek references.  Ask family, neighbors, friends and your vet for recommendations. Word of mouth is the best source since this will provide you with personal insight.

Phone interview.  Begin with a call to get a feel for the applicant’s experience. Ask fundamental questions that will determine if they are a viable candidate.

  • Do they currently have any pets?
  • What pets have they cared for?
  • How long have they been sitting for others?
  • Can they provide references?
  • Do they carry insurance?

Insist on a meet and greet.  Pets, like people, will have different reactions to different people. A great sign is if the candidate insists on an in-person meeting first!

Is it love at first sight? What is their initial reaction to meeting your pet? What does their face and body language say to you? Are they at ease or do they appear tense?

What questions do they ask?  This is telling. Do they have enough foresight to ask questions that will address issues that might occur? Do they ask about your vet? Are their any nearby friends or relatives that they contact in case of emergency? Is the pet on medications? Do they have any food or toy aggressions? Questions like these will show experience as well as responsibility.

Medical needs. If you have a senior pet or one with medical needs are they comfortable administrating medications?

Communicative Skills. You might not want to appear needy but let’s face it, leaving a family member for even a few days can be traumatic. Having a sitter that can send an occasional picture or image will help put your mind (and heart) at ease.

Are they flexible enough to honor your pet’s timetable?  Pets, like children have routines. Up between 6:30 – 7:00am. Potty Run. Breakfast. Potty breaks every 2-3 hours. Reward treats disbursed. 1:00pm Walk.  5:00 Dinner… A good sitter will be able to honor established schedules.

Not afraid to get dirty – pet sitting is a hands-on business.  Rain, Snow, Sleet and Mud! Will they keep your pet and home clean?

Your home or theirs?  If you and the sitter prefer they care for your pet at their home be sure to check out their residence in person. If they live in a complex, make sure that the HOA or rental property allows pets!

Trust – remember that you are leaving them with your pets as well as your home, your valuables, your possessions.

Woman with mixed breed dog


A sure sign. When you return home and your fur-baby excitedly runs to you.

So happy! Tail wagging!

And then, if they run back to the sitter looking for hugs too…

Don’t feel betrayed.

Feel like you’ve left them in good hands.