Ten Questions to Ask a Potential Orlando Pet Sitter
Are you looking for someone to watch your best friend while you are gone? It seems like it should be easy, right? I mean, all pet sitters must be animal-loving, good people that will treat your “baby” as if she was her own, right? WRONG. There are stories all the time about neglectful pet sitters, even cases where the dogs have died. Regardless of whether you hire Orlando Pet Connections or another professional pet sitter, here are 10 questions you should ask any potential pet sitter to help make sure they will take great care of your best friend while you are away
- What do you like about being a pet sitter? It’s an open-ended question that can help you get to know this person that you are entrusting with the well-being of your pet. It’s important to know a little bit about her so that you feel comfortable with her interacting with your pets and coming to your house. Does she seem to enjoy the hard work that this job entails? Or does she seem to view the job as a quick way to make some cash? At Orlando Pet Connections, we have been in business for 10 years so it goes well beyond a ‘quick way to make some cash’.
- Can you provide references? Online reviews are great, but being able to speak with a former/current client goes even further when deciding on a pet sitter. Ask what their experience was like and if they wish that anything had been different. Orlando Pet Connections is always able to provide references.
- Are you bonded and insured? Pet sitting is an unregulated field – anyone can say that they are a “pet sitter,” but there is a difference between someone that watches the neighbor’s dog once in a while and someone that dedicates their career to caring for other people’s pets. While it’s not a 100% guarantee, the fact that someone took the time and money to have their business bonded and insured can indicate that they are more professional and they are taking the appropriate steps to make sure that everyone is covered in case of an accident, theft, etc. At Orlando Pet Connections, we are bonded and insured. We also have workers comp insurance for all our employees.
- What Qualifications Do You Have? The importance of this question may depend on your pets. If your pet is older or has medical needs, consider trying to find a pet sitter that has some veterinary experience and will have the skill to administer medications or recognize subtle signs of a problem. If your pet has behavioral issues, consider trying to find a pet sitter that has experience in training or behavioral modification. They don’t necessarily have to train your pet while you’re away, but they will have a better understanding of how to manage and care for dogs that guard items or space or have fear and aggression issues. At Orlando Pet Connections, all of our sitters are Pet CPR certified.
- What Services are Included in Your Price? It’s important to know for sure what you’re paying for. How much time will the pet sitter be spending with your dog? Will she be staying at your house, or just checking in throughout the day? Will she play with your dog? Feed him? Change the water bowl? Is she going to be walking your dog? Is she willing to groom your dog? Are there additional fees for additional pets? Are there any types of animals that she doesn’t care for? Try making a list of all of your pet’s daily needs – is your potential pet sitter able to address them all, and how much does it cost?
- Will You Be the One Handling My Pet While I’m Away? There are some companies that hire contractors to handle clients during busy seasons. Other companies hire employees. Make sure to ask who will be the one checking on your pet while you’re away. You will want it to be the same person the whole time, if possible. Although if the company has employees, there is a lot less risk than contractors.
- What Is Your Protocol In Case of Emergency? We all hate to think of this, but it can help put your mind at ease if you know what the general procedure is should the worst case scenario become a reality. If it’s a medical emergency, will she take your dog to your vet or hers? Will she call you to tell you when something happens, or just leave a note for you to find when you return? What happens if you can’t be reached? Will she call a friend or family member that’s local and is able to make decisions on your behalf? If your pet sitter has a plan that you’re comfortable with, then that’s great! If not, spend some time thinking about what you would be comfortable with and see if she’s willing to follow that plan.
- How Do You Handle a Misbehaving Pet? Of course, we all think that our dog is perfect, but what if his mischievous side comes out with a new person in the house? How would you like your pet sitter to handle this? Everyone’s responses to naughty pets can be a little bit different. Make sure that her response is one that you find appropriate. If it’s not, ask if she’s willing following your training or management plan to prevent unwanted behavior next time. If she doesn’t seem willing to try it your way, move on and find someone that will. At Orlando Pet Connections we only believe in positive reinforcement. There is never a reason to yell at or strike a pet.
- Will Other People or Pets Be Around My Pet? Don’t assume that your pet will not be exposed to other animals or people while you’re away. At Orlando Pet Connections, we do not allow our sitters to bring other people with them including children or spouses and we don’t allow them to bring other dogs. We believe that the sitter should be 100% focused on your pet(s) while they are at your house.
- What Are You Contingency Plans If You Are Unable to Care for My Pet While I’m Away? None of want to think about what we would do if our pet sitter gets hurt or injured, but it happens. Pet sitters, like everyone else, get sick or end up in the emergency room or get injured. Be sure your pet sitter has a backup plan. At Orlando Pet Connections, we have backup sitters for every client. We give one key to the primary sitter and the other key is kept in a lockbox should the need arise to use it. The prevents us from having to track down the first sitter to get a key and also ensures you will always have coverage.