The bags are packed and your family has all your emergency contact information. But who’ll be taking care of yourCat Looking Out Windowprecious pet while you’re away?  Finding that one trusted person to care for your beloved animal companion may seem simple, but think again. Whether it’s a relative, friend or professional, a pet sitter should have the experience and compassion to do whatever it takes to care for your pet with love and diligence. Before you automatically call up your sister or neighbor, consider these suggestions from Easton Animal Hospital when looking for a pet sitter:

Feed Your Needs
What if Fluffy likes to cough up hairballs regularly on your rug, or Rocky has a penchant for chewing on your furniture if he feels lonely? Aside from the obvious responsibilities like feeding and clean-up, a pet sitter should be prepared to handle the unique needs your pet demands. A puppy will need lots of exercise and visits, while reptiles require live insect feedings. Make a list of all the special care you want and need from your sitter – from daily hugs and exercise to medication and grooming – before you begin your search.

Bark Up their Background
A love for animals is not the only prerequisite needed to make a good, qualified pet sitter. Taking care of a pet also means taking on less pleasant tasks like cleaning up vomit or urine. Look for experience, request references and ask important questions like: Are they trained in providing medications and know how to recognize illness? What kinds of pets have they cared for? What kind of time do they have to devote to the job? Also make sure your sitter is flexible to take on any unplanned situations that might arise, like a sudden illness or additional visits should your flight be delayed.

Go for a Walk-Through
Before your scheduled trip, coordinate a meeting with your sitter. This allows you time to walk through a care plan and most importantly, meet your pet.  Plan on reviewing basic things such as routines, medication, and schedules and leave a detailed list with your veterinarian’s contact information. Be sure that your sitter is accessible to take daily calls from you to check in on your pet, and confirm their fees.

Sniff Out the Right Person
Trust and an educated decision will help you feel at peace when you leave your pet in the hands of a sitter. If you don’t have a close friend or relative you can trust for the job, take the time to find someone you can. Ask friends and family members, and contact your local veterinarian office for sources. Many times vet technicians or assistants offer pet-sitting services or can offer recommendations of people they know will be best suited to care for your pet.  — Laura Newman

Helpful Resources:

Central Ohio Professional Pet Sitters Network

National Association of Professional Pet Sitters