May 18, 2015
Choosing the Purrfect Petsitter
Our good friends at Pet-Friendly Accommodation Guidebook have some fabulous holiday suggestions to share with your pets, but what if worse comes to worse and a last minute work trip pops up, or your accommodation falls through?
Pet kennels can be great, but aren’t always the best option for everyone, particularly if money is an issue or time is limited to secure a booking. Your pet might be a bit of a home-body and fret if they are away from their familiar space. If this is the case then not to worry – a pet-sitter could be just the solution for you and your furry friend!
Online pet-sitting communities are popular in Australia, with companies such as Pawshake providing an user-friendly website to track down local, affordable and insured pet-sitters. When choosing your sitter from a community-based website, there are a few things I suggest to first-timers –
- Think about the services that would suit your pet’s personality best. Is your fur-baby in need of a little extra TLC in their own home? Then perhaps request a pet-sitter to stay the night (which scores you a house-sitter as well!). Maybe your cat is happy alone in their familiar environment? Then arrange for a few drop-in visits for food, cuddles and litter changing each day. Maybe your pet adores adventures and making new friends? Then an overnight stay at a sitter’s house would be a big holiday treat. Every pet is different!
- Three is the magic number – I often reach out to three sitters when starting my search just to open up the odds of finding a good match with the right availability.
- Location, location, location. It makes things easier for everyone if your sitter is in your neighbourhood and you can arrange an easy meet-up (although it’s worth keeping an eye out in case you spot a fantastic sitter who is a little further afield and happy to travel if you throw in a bit of petrol or PT money).
- On that note, meet-ups are highly recommended so you can get to know your sitter and their services, and they can meet you and your beloved pet. Give your sitter a chance to have some playtime with your pet’s favourite toys and they will soon learn to trust their new, fun human pal. If staying with other animals, this can be a good get-to-know-you play date.
- If you can’t fit in a meet-up, go with a sitter who has a few solid reviews from other users under their belt. You will know you are onto a good thing if they have proven experience and feedback.
- Communication is key! If your sitter is prompt and reliable at getting back to you now, then you can rest assured they will do the right thing if they need to get in touch with you or a family member for any reason.
- Be really clear about your pet’s needs, and any medications or special dietary requirements they may require. It always helps when pet owners leave a list of instructions and phone numbers in the unlikely case of emergency!
- Check out your pet insurance policy (or the policy of your sitting company) before heading away just to familiarise yourself with the process should anything arise.
And finally – sit back and relax knowing that your fur baby is being loved, entertained and cared for in a warm home environment!
Jessica is a petsitter, actor, writer, Pawshake blogger and crazy cat lady residing in Melbourne. She lives in Carlton with her partner John and her beloved black cat Benjamin.