Many of us take time off and travel for the holidays to visit family and friends. But what happens if you can't take Fido along on your journey? In this Angie's List report, how a pet sitter can help.
For Peter and Erin Rusthoven, hiring a pet sitter to come into their home and check on their three dogs daily gives them peace of mind that their pets are being well-cared for while they are away.
"In addition to her obviously caring for the dogs, she's also checking the house, bringing in our mail, watering plants, those types of things," says Peter: "Plus, they love her," adds Erin.
"We do a quick walk around outside the house," says pet sitter Becki Bradford. "We make sure gates are closed if we have yard play scheduled with the dogs. We check and make sure windows and doors look secure. Part of our training program is teaching our staff what to look for that something might be out of place."
"In a recent Angie's List poll 80 percent of the respondents have pets in their family and it can be a big decision who is going to care for your pet when you are traveling," says Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List. "Are you going to board your pet or have a pet sitter? The nice thing about a pet sitter is that your pet gets to stay in their own environment. Also, you get someone who is checking in on your house for security reasons and in case something goes wrong like a busted pipe."
Most professional sitters charge between $15 and $50 per visit, depending on the distance traveled, length of the visit, and duties required.
Visits can range from as little as 20 or 30 minutes to staying in the house overnight.
"When hiring a pet sitter, first and foremost you want to know how they get along with your pet," says Hicks. "Have them over to your home. Watch them interact with your pet and see how they do. Also, because they are going to be in your home and you're trusting your pet with them, you want to make sure they are reputable so be sure you are interviewing the person that is going to be taking care of your pet and also be sure they are insured and bonded."
"I think cats especially do much better at home in their environment where they are definitely going to be most comfortable," adds Bradford. "Cats tend to bond very closely to their territories and can be stressed quite a bit when they have to leave home, even for routine visits, so taking them out of their environment can be difficult for cats."
Angie's List says before hiring understand the services the provider will provide, including frequency of visits and clearly communicate your pet's needs.
A professional sitter should have an emergency protocol in case of an emergency with your home or pet.