As we return to the workplace and travel becomes more frequent, many of us will be faced with the dilemma of pet care. If you are considering one of our St. Louis homes for sale, you are probably looking at a new community. You might not know your neighbors well enough to ask them to look after your dog. A kennel may work once in a while, and pet daycare could be an option. But our real estate agents suggest you consider another solution: a pet sitter who can come to your home. But where do you begin? These simple tips can get you started:
- Use Reputable Resources
Some of the trade associations that can help you initiate your search are The National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS), Pet Sitters International, and Fetch! Pet Care. Each offers a locator listing professionals in your area. Once you have located sitters you want to interview, check their references and reviews. When reviewing comments, make sure there is a "verified stay" indicator to ensure they were written by actual customers.
- Select Bonded and Insured Sitters
These designations don't just mean that you are protected in case of loss. They mean that the sitter has invested in a layer of trust between them and their customers, assuring quality and the integrity of the person entering your home when you are not present. Consider also a criminal background check and proof of sufficient training to perform services well.
- Arrange for Introductions
It's important that you feel confident in the person that will be providing care. You'll want to watch the sitter interact with your pet. Dogs and cats are automatically drawn to some people and are equally repelled by others. You'll want to make sure that your pets are comfortable with the sitter and do not exhibit fear or nervousness around them. Make sure you allow time for them to meet and greet each other appropriately so that the sitter has the opportunity to comfort the pet. If your pet is not frequently socialized, this could take a little time for them to develop a rapport.
- Thoroughly Discuss Expectations
Let the sitter know what services you expect and with what frequency. If you expect the pet to be walked, brushed, taken to dog parks or other activities or services, be sure to let the sitter know and obtain a formal agreement. It's important that they can commit the time and energy to meet your expectations. Include start and end times for each session. If there are activities you don't want them to do, be clear in your instructions. Make sure the sitter is aware of any dietary restrictions such as treats versus no treats or specific brands that should be avoided.
- Plan for Emergencies
Prominently display contact information for you, emergency veterinary services, pet insurance information, and a secondary contact. Maintain a medical history for the pet in case the sitter must seek vet care in your absence. Make sure that you are able to reach the sitter via phone or email every day you are away. Agree upon a backup plan for any emergency that could arise, including a substitute sitter in case the regular sitter is unable to fulfill the agreement.
If a new neighborhood is in your future, contact us. Our real estate professionals will be happy to help you find the perfect home for you and your family, including the furry members.