The right pet sitter will do more for your pets than just giving them food and water. They should be spending quality time with your pet. This should include giving your pet exercise and looking for red flags to see if they need medical attention. As they are operating in your home, they must be trustworthy in every way. When it comes to pet sitters, it is better to hire a trained professional. Benefits of Hiring a Professional Forget about having to take your dog to the local kennel. Depending on your neighbor isn’t the best solution either. Keeping your pet at home allows them to stay in a familiar place with their regular routine and diet. Hiring a pet sitter allows you to have peace of mind in knowing that your pet will be getting plenty of attention while you are away. Some pet sitters will even take care of the little extras for you such as watering your plants, getting your mail and bringing your newspaper in. Others may offer additional pet grooming services as well. How to Locate a Professional Pet Sitter If you are lucky enough to find someone who has been recommended by a friend or neighbor, you have a great start. You can also look for referrals from veterinarians, the Humane Society or a local dog trainer. Looking in the local yellow pages under pet sitting services is another way, although maybe not the best option. A better way is to check online with the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters or Pet Sitters International. The Interview Process You will need to interview potential candidates on the phone or in person. Here are some things you need to find out before hiring them. Ask them what type of training they have completed and for a minimum of 3 references you can call. They should be able to provide you with written proof that they carry commercial liability insurance to cover any accidents they may have. They should also be bonded to protect your home against theft. Confirm that they have undergone a criminal background check, if you feel it to be necessary. Make sure that the sitter has some type of backup help in place should they become sick or unable to make it to your home. Find out if they will provide you with a written contract that includes their services and fees. Checklist If you are leaving around the holidays, be sure to reserve a spot with the sitter, as early as possible. Discuss the specific times of day that they agree to be with your pet and how that time will be divided up. Let them know how much time you would like for them to devote to activities like walking, playing and cleaning. Provide them with the phone number of your veterinarian. Make sure that you can reach the sitter by phone or email 7 days a week. Let them know if you would like for them to take notes about how your pet is doing each day. Make sure your pet has an ID collar in place, just in case they happen to get out. Leave all of your different supplies such as food, vitamins and treats in one designated place for easy access to the sitter. Give your neighbor a key to your home, just in case something falls through with the sitter. Show the pet sitter how to work your alarm on your home if you have one and show them where the circuit box is located. Conclusion Leaving your pets with a sitter can be a successful way to be able to relax and enjoy your time away. By asking enough questions, you are sure to be ensure the happiness of your pets and be prepared in case an emergency situation occurs.