Should I trust a pet sitter?

There are many reasons why people might choose to trust a pet sitter to care for their pet. Some people may be away on vacation or work travel and need someone to look after their pet while they're away. Others may have regular work or life obligations that prevent them from being able to take their pet with them, and they need someone to care for their pet while they're not home.

When choosing a pet sitter, it is important to do your research. Make sure to ask the sitter about their experience caring for pets, and ask for references. Also, be sure to ask the sitter about their policies and procedures for caring for your pet. For example, will the sitter be home during the day or will they leave the pet with a trusted friend or family member? What type of care will the pet be receiving while the sitter is away? Will the pet be left in a kennel or will the sitter take care of the pet's food, water, and litterOverall, it is important to trust your gut when choosing a pet sitter. If you have any doubts about the sitter, don't hesitate to ask for references or check out their policies and procedures.

We asked two experts for advice: Beth Stultz-Hairston, president of Pet Sitters International (PSI) and editor of Pet Sitter's World magazine, and Cathleen Delaney, administrative director of the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS).

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Is a Pet Sitter Really Necessary?

There is a time limit for leaving your pet alone, regardless of the reason, and if you're a dog parent, you should always have someone check in on them if you're going to be gone for more than four hours, our experts agree.Cat parents can go up to 24 hours without a pet sitter if their cat has access to food, water, and a litter box, but they will need a pet sitter for longer periods of time.

But does that person have to be a professional pet sitter rather than a friend or family member? Not necessarily—but professional pet sitters can provide advantages that friends and family do not, such as:

  • Experience caring for pets
  • Knowledge of specialized pet health and behavior
  • In-home service (rather than leaving your pet at the home of a friend or family member)
  • Maintaining your pet’s daily routine

Plus, when you hire a pet sitter, you don't have to feel like you're invading your friends' and family members' time. (Not that they'd ever admit it, of course!)

How to Find a Reliable Pet Sitter

Finding a pet sitter you trust is important because they'll work closely with your pet, have access to your home, and need to communicate with you while you're away.Follow this step-by-step guide to finding a reliable pet sitter.

1 Use a Service or Get Referrals Use a Service or Get Recommendations

When looking for a pet sitter, a referral from someone you already trust is a great place to start. For example, you can ask your veterinarian or get a recommendation from a family member or friend.You can also hire a professional pet sitter through a network like:

  • NAPPS (National Association of Professional Pet Sitters)
  • Pet Sitters International (PSI)

These networks typically conduct background checks on their members and provide credentialing and certification courses to help them improve their knowledge and professionalism.

2 Do Some Preliminary Vetting Do Some Preliminary Vetting

Once you've narrowed your list down to a few potential pet sitters, do some background research on them. Visit their websites to review their rates, services, and service areas, and make sure they can provide the type of service you require, whether it's daily afternoon walks, medication administration, or overnight stays in your home.If you found your candidates through a network such as NAPPS,, or PSI, you can also read reviews on those websites.

3 Prepare questions and conduct an interview with the pet sitter Draft Questions and Interview the Pet Sitter

This is your chance to ensure that the professional pet sitter is a good fit for your family by asking the following questions:

  • What kind of pet care training and certifications do they have, such as the Certified Professional Pet Sitters (CPPS) designation, which is awarded to PSI members who successfully demonstrate their knowledge and professionalism? Are they experienced dealing with specific breeds, medical issues, senior pets, and young pets?
  • What will a routine visit to my house look like? This will give you an idea of what to expect when they come to care for your pets.
  • How do you communicate? Will they send you pictures, notes, or updates?
  • Do you have a backup plan in case you are unable to come to my house? Life happens, even to the most professional pet sitter, so your pet sitter should have a backup plan in place to ensure your pets are cared for no matter what.
  • Do you offer any extra services? Some pet sitters provide grooming, walking, training, or playtime.
  • Are you insured? Professional pet sitters should be insured and bonded to protect you, your pets, and themselves.
  • How do you handle pet emergencies? Determine how your pet sitter would handle unexpected problems, and inquire about previous experiences they've had and how they handled them.
  • Can you handle my pet's specific medical needs? Can the pet sitter administer medication or accommodate my pet's disabilities?
  • What are your payment expectations? Discuss whether payments will be made in advance or later, as well as your sitter's preferred method of payment.
  • Can you provide a recent background check that has been cleared? This is a common request for anyone who will have access to your home.
  • Can you provide me with a few references from other pet parents? Speaking with others who have worked with your sitter can help you better understand their personality.

Don't be afraid to ask a lot of questions during the interview process—it's your responsibility to find the best care for your pet, and a responsible pet sitter will understand that.

"Professional pet sitters are happy to answer your questions," Delaney says, adding that they want you to be comfortable with their services.

4 Introduce the Sitter to Your Pet Have the Sitter Meet Your Pet

If you're pleased with the interview, invite the pet sitter into your home to meet your pet. These initial consultations, or "meet and greets," are an important part of the process of finding a pet sitter, according to Stulz-Hairston, because it's the first opportunity you'll have to see how this potential pet sitter and your pet interact.

During this visit, the pet sitter will observe how your pet behaves in their home environment and become acquainted with their routine, and you will be able to share any additional information about your pet that was not discussed during the initial interview.You'll also get to see how your pet reacts when he or she meets the sitter for the first time.

Essentially, both you and the pet sitter are evaluating each other during this meeting to see if you're a good fit. At this point, you should feel confident that your pet will be in good hands with this candidate, and that they are open to your questions, feedback, and concerns.A red flag is if the pet sitter appears dismissive, disinterested, or difficult to work with.

5 Hire Them and Make a Plan Hire Them and Set Up a Schedule

Have you found the one? Book them! According to Stulz-Hairston, the hiring process varies from pet sitter to pet sitter, but professional pet sitters should ask you to sign a pet sitting contract at the time of hiring, as well as fill out a pet profile sheet with important information like:

  • Care instructions
  • Your contact information
  • The veterinarian's contact information for your pet
  • An emergency contact in case you are unable to be reached.

Though finding a good pet sitter takes time, the peace of mind is well worth the effort!

Other Tips and Tricks

Consider the following as you go through the steps of how to find a dog sitter or cat sitter:

  • Check that they are comfortable with your pet. Not every pet sitter is a cat, dog, bird, or lizard person.Check that they are compatible with your pet's breed and type.
  • Be open about your pet's quirks. As amazing as they are, all pets come with some "baggage." Make sure your pet sitter is aware of any unusual habits, medical issues, or behavioral issues.Potty issues, tummy troubles, barking, and separation anxiety are all possibilities.
  • Pet sitters should be provided with detailed information about your pet's diet and exercise routine, as well as emergency contact information.
  • Hire your pet sitter as soon as your travel plans are confirmed; after that, your next call should be to secure pet-sitting services.While some pet sitters can accommodate last-minute requests (with one to two weeks' notice), many book up weeks or months in advance, which is especially important during busy times of year, such as summer or holiday travel periods.

Frequently Asked Questions About Finding a Pet Sitter


What do you pay a pet sitter?

According to, hourly pet sitter rates can range from $12 to $17 per hour. Keep in mind that services and fees can vary greatly from pet sitter to pet sitter, and may depend on the type of pet, number of pets, any extra care required, and your personal arrangement.Hourly pet sitter rates may range from $12 to $17 per hour, according to Remember that services and fees can vary widely from pet sitter to pet sitter, and may depend on the type of pet, number of pets, any extra care required and your personal arrangement.


Is hiring a pet sitter safe?

A:Hiring a pet sitter is safe as long as you take precautions to ensure your sitter is qualified and trustworthy; in fact, hiring a professional is often more beneficial for both you and your pets because they are well-versed in pet caretaking.It is safe to hire a pet sitter, as long as you have taken steps to ensure your sitter is qualified and trustworthy. In fact, hiring a professional is often more advantageous for both you and your pets since they’re well-versed in pet caretaking.


How do I find a reliable pet sitter?

A:To find a reliable pet sitter, follow these steps:To find a trustworthy pet sitter:

  1. Begin by requesting references or utilizing a professional network.
  2. Conduct a cursory background check and narrow your list to a few viable candidates.
  3. Make an appointment to interview your top candidates.
  4. Set up a "meet and greet" with your sitter to introduce them to your pet.
  5. Hire a pet sitter if you are confident in their abilities to care for your pet.

Now that you've learned the ins and outs of finding a pet sitter, it's time to take action. Having someone you completely trust with your pet and home can mean the difference between feeling uneasy or relaxed while away.

How do you feel about a dog sitter?

How to Find a Reliable Pet Sitter..
1 Use a Service or Get Recommendations When looking for a pet sitter, a referral from someone you already trust is a great place to start.... .
2 Perform Some Preliminary Vetting...
3 Prepare questions and conduct an interview with the pet sitter..
4 Introduce the Sitter to Your Pet....
5 Hire them and make a schedule for them.

Is it a good idea to hire a pet sitter?

One of the best things about pet sitters is that they keep your pets in the comfort of their own home while providing the best care and attention possible; you don't have to worry about your pets being around other animals or in a new environment with a pet sitter in charge.. You do not have to worry about your pets being around other animals or in a new environment with a pet sitter in control.

How do pet sitters keep themselves safe?

What You Should Know About Pet Sitting Safety Before You Go..
Make sure your pet sitter knows how to reach you in the event of an emergency.
Itinerary: Provide your pet sitter with a trip itinerary..
Provide the name(s) of a person or people you trust in case you are unable to contact them.

Are cat sitters trustworthy?

Cat sitting is a safe, dependable, and trustworthy service that provides love and care for your cat while you're away, and it's an excellent substitute for cat boarding or a cattery.How long should a cat sitter stay? If a cat sitter comes once or twice a day, they should stay for approximately 20-40 minutes per visit. providing love and care for your cat while you're away. It's a great alternative to cat boarding or a cattery. How long should a cat sitter stay? If a cat sitter is visiting once or twice a day, they should stay for around 20-40minutes per visit.