While we adore our pets and often take them with us on errands and the occasional road trip, sometimes we have to leave our furry friends behind. If you’re a parent, you understand the importance of choosing the right babysitter to care for your children. Well, pets are no different – they need the same supervision, love and care as our children do – especially since our pets cannot communicate their specific needs with us or let us know if they’ve been hurt.

Our pets rely on us for their overall health and well-being. Choosing the right pet sitter requires research and discernment to ensure that our furry friends receive optimal care.

Finding the right pet sitter doesn’t have to be stressful. In fact, there are now more options for pet sitting services than ever before. Once you find a suitable sitter for your precious pet, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your pet is in good hands while you’re miles away.

Pet Sitter

Choosing a professional pet sitter to care for your pet while you’re away on vacation has never been easier. You can review background information and customer feedback on numerous, reliable pet sitting companies online prior to selecting their services. Having a seasoned pet sitter come into your home can be an ideal choice for pets that do not travel well or simply are more relaxed at home. Most charge per visit and will be happy to grab the mail, water plants, and manage light household duties, to give your home a more lived-in appearance while you’re on vacation.

Organizations such as the well-known Pet Sitters International (PSI) offer insightful tips and best practices for selecting the right sitter. PSI advises pet parents to follow the three R’s when searching for the perfect pet sitter.

  • References – Friends who have pets are like friends who have kids; they understand the importance of making sure that the right person is watching your loved ones, so ask around.
  • Rapport – PSI recommends having in-your-home meetings, so you can see how a potential pet sitter will behave around your beloved fur baby.1
  • Reliability – A pet sitter should be someone you can count on. It’s important that you choose someone who isn’t going to flake on you at the last minute. Ask about cancellation policies, lead time on requests for them to sit, and contingency plans in the case of inclement weather or emergencies.1

In-home Pet Boarding

In-home pet boarding is similar to having a pet sitter come to your home – except you don’t have to give up your house keys. With this option, you’ll bring your dog to the pet sitter’s home. Your dog will spend his time in a comfortable home environment, usually with a few pre-screened other dogs for companionship. This type of pet sitting is typically less expensive as the pet sitter is not commuting back and forth to your home multiple times a day. To find a PSI-certified pet sitter in your area, check out petsit.com.

Did you know that in-home pet boarding is rapidly growing across the nation as an alternative to traditional boarding? According to American Pet Products Association, the number of the insured pet-sitter business is already at 10K nationally, and from 2010 to 2020 the number of animal care and service workers is expected to grow by 23%.1

Traditional Boarding

There are many different types of boarding facilities to choose from. Dr. Marty Becker, “America’s Veterinarian”, shares some insights on whether traditional boarding or pet sitting is the right choice for your furry friend. You’ll need to research the various boarding facilities in your area as most typically offer the basic kennel with indoor/outdoor access, playtime, and additional walks every day. The higher-end boarding facilities (pet hotels and spas) offer flat-screen TVs, private rooms, playgroups, special meals/treats, such as doggie ice cream, as well as baths, and personal grooming for your pampered pooch. Remember to bring some comfort items with your pet; most facilities allow and encourage you to do so. A favorite toy or blanket helps your pet to feel more secure when they’re away from home.

Neighbors, Family & Friends

While neighbors, family members, and friends will happily agree to watch our pets, as responsible pet parents we’re solely accountable for our pet’s well-being. Pet parents must make sure that these potential caregivers know the basics of caring for a pet, especially if they do not have any pets of their own. What may seem natural to us is completely new information to a non-pet person! To ensure that your beloved pet is left in good hands, disclose any pertinent information, including applicable medications, feeding schedule, and anything else that a caregiver would need to know. The more information you share the happier your pet and pet sitter will be while you’re away.

Also, be sure to do a walkthrough of your house with the new caregiver, showing them where your pet’s toys, food, collar and leash, bowls, medications, and such are stored. Always remember to leave vet contact information as well so that in case of any emergency, your pet sitter knows where to take your beloved pet for medical treatment.

Experience peace of mind knowing that your pet is in good hands while you’re away on that dream vacation. Bon, voyage!


  1. 1 “Benefits of In-home Pet Boarding”

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