Guardian’s Guide to Pet Sitters

Whether you are going out of town for a weekend or taking a weeklong getaway, a pet sitter can be an important part of your pet’s care. But, like any other time you have someone in your home while it’s unattended, there are security risks.

Why use a pet sitter, then, rather than taking your pet to a boarding facility? For one thing, your pet can receive more personalized, one-on-one care. Your pet won’t have to experience being away from home and around many other unfamiliar animals, which can cause anxiety and even increased chances of illness.  Also, having someone coming in and out of your house makes it look occupied and not an easy target for potential burglars.

Thankfully, by combining some safety tips and a smart home security system, you can be comfortable leaving your pets at home if you need to.

  • Hire a reputable sitter- Make sure whoever you hire is reputable and has good references. It’s best to go with someone who passionately cares about animals and you should be able to figure that out from an in-person interview. If you trust a friend, family member or neighbor to do your pet sitting, make sure you can rely on them to fully take care of your pet. Remember: sometimes you get what you pay for, so try to be willing to compensate your pet sitter or barter other services with him/her.
  • Establish expectations- Be clear about what you expect during the interviewing stage. If you want this person to stop by three times a day, let them know. If you don’t want them to bring other people or pets into your home, be sure to specify that. If you would like the pet sitter to send you photos of your pet, or even Skype with you, so you can check-in on your pet, talk over those possibilities and logistics.
  • Provide pet background information- Make sure that your pet sitter has contact info for your vet and an emergency vet. If your pet has any anxieties or reactions, let them know. Also make sure they are aware of your feeding methods and any medicines your pets need regularly.
  • Secure your valuables- This is a wise tip any time you leave your home for an extended period of time. Make sure any valuables you own aren’t out in the open. You can try hiding them behind locked doors, in a safe, or even at someone else’s home temporarily. At this point, you should trust the person you are hiring, but this just adds some peace of mind.
  • Set up a temporary entry code- Have a smart lock? You can set up a code just for your pet sitter and then delete it when you no longer need their services. You will also be able to set up notifications for this code so that you can know when your pet sitter enters. This allows you to know that they are coming when you expect them and that they don’t enter the house at any unusual times.
  • Adjust your security system settings- If you have video surveillance, you can adjust your camera so you can check-in on your pets and the sitter when needed. Make sure the settings on any window, cabinet and motion sensors are appropriate and that your pet sitter won’t accidentally set them off. Remember you can always make your monitoring company aware that you will be out of town just so they are aware.

Ready to start making your home safer for your whole family, pets included? Contact us.

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