When hiring a pet sitter or dog walker, there are common pitfalls that a casual customer can easily fall into. The good news is that with a little scrutiny and pre-planning, these can easily be avoided. It’s in both our best interest and that of our clients to make sure anyone new to the world of pet sitting can identify potential problem with hiring a sitter or walker–and quickly find solutions.

Here we’ve compiled the top 5 mistakes that people make with hiring a pet sitter or dog walker, and a little good advice on how to avoid them:

  1. Hiring friends or neighbors. While sometimes this can be an ideal emergency solution for last minute pet sitting or dog walking, friends and neighbors are a poor solution for consistent, quality pet care. Professional pet sitters not only have a much greater depth of experience for pet care, they also must be insured. In the event of a mishap involving one of your pets, a friend or neighbor will not have the insurance to cover any costs associated with damaged property or veterinary bills. It can also be awkward or difficult to “fire” a friend or neighborhood kid if you find their care less than satisfactory.
  2. Evaluating solely on price. There can be a wide range of prices for pet sitting services in your area. It can be tempting to hire the least expensive sitter option you find, especially if it is your first time hiring a pet sitter. Try to avoid this knee-jerk reaction. Although the services of different pet sitters can seem like a commodity, the devil is in the details. It is worth taking the time to evaluate beyond the length of the visits offered to see what services are included. Read reviews  as well to make sure clients have had a great experience with the service.
  3. Using an app for hiring on an “as needed” basis. There are a few popular pet sitting and dog walking apps around today, but their drawbacks can erode any convenience in the hiring process. Pet sitters who can be found via these apps are often light on training, and have only taken the job for some extra income. When their situation changes, you will be forced to find a new sitter and upset your pet’s care routine. Develop a relationship with a local sitter for quality, consistent care.
  4. Not meeting the sitter ahead of your first appointment. When schedules are tight, it can be tough to find time to have an in person consultation with your sitter before the date of your first appointment–but you shouldn’t forgo this critical step. Giving your pets the chance to acclimate to a new person, and giving yourself the opportunity to see how your sitter interacts with your pets–is crucial. This helps you ensure your pets and sitter will get along and even be friends!
  5. Not leaving detailed instructions. When someone is coming to stay in your home, there are a ton of different factors to account for.  Do you have a security system that needs to be turned on and off? A lock that needs to be turned a certain way? Special medication for your aging Labradoodle? You can save yourself the headache of fielding panicked calls from a sitter by leaving typed, detailed instructions that you also cover during an in-person consultation.

Take a lookhere for our top ten tips for making your pet sitting experience run as smoothly as possible.