Welcoming a pet into a home can be a lesson in love as well as one in responsibility. Pet owners must take various steps to ensure the safety and well-being of a companion animal, including providing for that animal while on vacation.

How long pets can remain at home alone depends on the pet, age, and overall health. For example, an aquarium full of fish may be able to thrive for a week with the assistance of an automatic feeder. Dogs, however, will need daily bathroom breaks and feedings. Adult dogs may be able to
“hold it” for 10 to 12 hours, but young puppies and elderly dogs likely need more frequent breaks outside.

Feeding and cleaning up pet waste is not the only consideration. Some animals require much more socialization than others.

Pet sitters can address pets’ needs while their owners are away. But finding one that will care for a pet like he or she is a member of the family can take some time and effort. Begin the process of finding a pet sitter by making a list of needs. Considerations include whether the pet sitter should be in one’s home or if the pet is to be brought to a pet care facility or a private sitter’s residence. The pet may have particular health care requirements that also need to be addressed, such as a dog who requires insulin shots for diabetes.

While friends and family may be the first choices as pet sitters, there are benefits to using professional pet sitters. A professional sitter is properly trained in the care of many different animals. He or she may have a local business license and be insured and bonded. Professional sitters are likely to make the pet a priority more than hobbyists or well-meaning acquaintances because caring for pets is how they earn their living.

Personal recommendations can be an effective means of finding reliable pet sitters. Pet owners can interview candidates, asking questions about experience with this type of pet, how he or she handles the breed and temperament, and what the plan might be if the pet gets sick or injured while in the pet sitter’s care.

Pet sitters provide valuable services when pet owners are away from home. Vetting pet sitters takes a little time, but that effort is well worth it.