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Monday, April 11, 2016

How To Find The "Right" Pet Sitter/Dog Walker

By:  Laurie Brzostowski, President, Snaggle Foot Dog Walks and Pet Care-Round Lake, IL

This is a topic I am well versed in.  I have owned Snaggle Foot Dog Walks & Pet Care in Round Lake Illinois for almost 7 years.

But, I remember when my dog (Sebastian) was just a puppy and I had to drive home every day at lunch to let him out because we all know in order to potty train a puppy they have to stay on a consistent schedule.  It was really hard.

I was working full time in Gurnee so every day I drove to Round Lake Beach to let my puppy out. Back then there really weren't a lot of "pet sitters" or "dog walkers" but if there were I would have jumped all over that service.

If you are in a situation where you need pet care there are now a lot of pet sitters, dog walkers, house sitters, out there that can help you.  Whether it be a daily dog walk, puppy care, senior pet care, overnight pet sitting, vacation sitting, etc.  Which is a good thing because as pet parents we may need help on occasion or every day.

If you are in this situation and are looking for a pet sitter or dog walker, there are a few things you should be looking at.

First, decide what type of you care you need.  If you need a daily dog walk or puppy care or vacation visits or cat care, you want to try and find a pet sitter who does all of the above.  This will make it easier if you have multiple species of animals and you may need all the services.  If the pet sitter can do it all you won't have to go searching for separate pet sitters who do separate activities.

Do an internet search in your town.  You will find there a lot of pet sitters like me out there.  Once you find a couple give them call or email them and ask them the following questions:

  • Are they bonded and insured?  This is very important, it protects you and it protects the pet sitter.
  • Do they have a backup system, this means are they the only pet sitter or do they have a staff. This is also very important in case the primary sitter/walker goes on vacation, falls ill, etc., you can then have the backup put into place.
  • If they do have a staff do they run background checks on the staff?  Also very important since these sitters will be entering your home.
  • If they do have staff, are they Independent Contractors or actual Employees (Snaggle Foot Round Lake hires "employees").
  • How do they schedule the visits and what is included in the visit.
  • Cost.
You notice I put cost last that is because there are so many other things that are important in choosing a pet sitter "besides" the cost of hiring one.  For your peace of mine just don't look at who is the cheapest.

Once you decide on the sitter make sure they conduct a inhome consult. This is where you get meet the pet sitter and they can meet you and the animals they will be taking care of.  The logistics of the visit are also usually explained during this inhome consult (where are the food and water bowls, pet food, leashes, litter box etc.).  You may even ask if they provide other services, like bringing in your mail and newspapers and watering plants.

Once you are all done with that you now have your very own pet sitter/walker. Usually once you become a client they are there for you for however long you need them which is a wonderful service to have.  

So go ahead and do what you normally do during the day, it's okay because you now have someone to help you with your pets.

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