Professional Pet Sitter vs. Neighbor/Friend

In my last Blog, I wrote about why you should hire a pet sitter.  Now I’d like to discuss why you should hire a professional pet sitter.

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 training.

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 PRICELESS!

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 both parties.
  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 secure.

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.