How to Choose a Pet Sitter in a Foreign Country
Published on: October 16, 2017 | Author: Starwood Pet Travel
Finding a pet sitter can feel like a tricky business. Not just anyone will do when it comes to watching over your beloved four-legged companion. You want someone who will show your pet a good time – someone whose personality meshes with your pet’s. But whether you’re in familiar surroundings or you’ve moved to a foreign country, the process of finding a pet sitter is the same.
With millions of pet owners around the world – a number that continues to increase – it’s easy to understand why pet sitting has become a multi-million dollar business. As a pet parent, you may certainly be concerned about the cost of hiring a pet sitter, but your #1 concern is how they will interact with your cat or dog. Ideally, you’ll want a good human relationship with them as well.
So you need to find someone you like and trust.
Why do you need a pet sitter?
Are you going away on holiday and don’t want to board your pet in a kennel? Do you need someone to stop by to walk your dog once or twice a day? Do you need someone to keep your pet company all day while you’re at work? Or just for an hour or few while you go out to shop or see a movie?
Different pet sitters provide different types and ranges of services. Some work only with cats or dogs, some are more willing than others to take on your kid’s iguana or ferret or guinea pig. Some will come to your home, others require you to deliver your pet to them. Working hours and days vary, too. Some even provide services such as pet grooming or simple household chores such as watering your plants – nice to know if you’re going on holiday.
Friends, neighbors, co-workers, your veterinarian, even local dog trainers are all good potential sources of referrals. The nice thing about a personal referral is that it comes (usually) with an automatic endorsement.
You can find anything on the internet these days, including pet sitters and doggie day care centers. For example, Pet Sitters International has an online locator you can use to find one of their members nearby. It’s a great resource if you’re in the US, Canada or the UK, but also if you’re looking for a pet sitter in far-flung places such as Singapore or Australia.
Check them out!
You’re entrusting your loved one to a stranger – at least at first. You want your pet to be safe as well as lovingly cared-for, and that requires some detective work.
- Pet sitting businesses and daycare facilities may have online reviews you can read.
- Ask for references, and talk to them – about their experience and their pet’s response to the experience, too.
- Interview the person, in person if possible. Pet Sitters International has a downloadable Pet Sitter Interview Checklist you can use as is, or at least to get an idea what questions you should ask. Among other things, what would/could they do in an emergency, or if your pet became ill or injured? At the very least, you want to learn about their training and experience.
Especially if you have language issues in your new country, expat groups can be a great help, online or in person. (Actually, they can be a tremendous resource for everything related to your new country, and you can start communicating with them before you even move.)
And speaking of foreign languages, if you’ll have to learn new words, why not start by teaching your pet some new-lingo commands? That will be fun for both of you, and it will help your pet-sitter, too.
When it comes to pet sitters, one size definitely does not fit all. If you follow these tips, though, you’ll be able to find the person or place that meets your needs and suits your pet beautifully. Even if you’re in a foreign country.
Starwood Animal Transport has rebranded to Starwood Pet Travel. We are still the same great company with the best team, just now with a slightly different name.
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