pet sitterWhen we have to leave our pets, finding a place for them to stay is downright difficult. There are wonderful facilities out there, but for some, a pet sitter who comes to your house is the way to go. But how to find the perfect person for this important job?

Oakland Veterinary Referral Service offers a pet sitter checklist along with a few tips to help you find the perfect match.

Explore Your Options

Start looking for a pet sitter early so you can take your time finding the right person for your pet. Check with your veterinarian, friends, and co-workers for word-of-mouth recommendations. There are many websites out there, but first-hand referrals from people you trust is always helpful.

If you need an alternative to personal recommendations, there are two national organizations that certify and train pet sitters. The National Association of Professional Pet Sitters and Pet Sitters International are great places to start your search online.

Professional pet sitters might offer other services, such as grooming, training, watering plants, or bringing in the mail. Most offer live-in care which can give your home a lived-in feel while you’re away (also a deterrent for burglars). Professional pet sitters should be licensed and bonded since they’ll have full access to your home and personal belongings.

Ask the Right Questions

It may sound funny, but owners should approach hiring a pet sitter the same way you would a babysitter or nanny. It’s important to ask the right questions, listen to and record their answers, and watch carefully for how they might interact with you and your pets. Here are a few questions to ask:

  • Why do you like pet sitting?
  • What does your service include? How many visits per day, and what do you do during each visit?
  • What’s your experience with animals outside of pet sitting?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to handle a pet emergency while pet sitting. What did you do?
  • Do you have a written contract? What does it include?
  • How many other pets are you currently sitting for? What references may I call?

Special Needs Pets

If your pet has special needs, such as medications or behavioral issues, ask people about their experience in these areas. We can also provide some specific tips about how to set your pet up for success with a new pet sitter.


We see it all too often. Pet emergencies always seem to occur when you’re out of town or, better yet, out of the country and unreachable. They seem to plan it that way! For this reason, we created our pet sitter checklist, and we invite you to fill it out and use it to ensure your pet sitter is prepared for an emergency. Better safe than sorry!

Last But Not Least

There’s one member of the family who should definitely be involved in the interview process – your pet! Any pet sitter worth their salt should be happy to come and meet your pet so you can watch them interact and let your pet get to know them.

We hope you find these tips useful as you begin your search for a pet sitter. If you need any help or more guidance, please contact us. We’re happy to help!