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How to find a trustworthy pet-sitter or doggy day care

Virginia Chavez is a Phoenix-based freelance writer covering pets and lifestyle in the Southwest. In addition to regular contributions both online and in-print, Virginia locally owns and operates two pet care and supply businesses. For t...

What to ask potential pet care providers

Finding a responsible pet care provider while you travel can be a challenging and nerve-wracking experience. When it comes to your furry "babies," don’t settle for anything less than the best. Whether you decide to hire a pet-sitter or take Fido to doggy day care, asking the right questions will help ensure your pet's safety while you're away.

Dog sitter visiting client

How do you choose between a pet-sitter and doggy day care?

Pet-sitters are best suited for dogs that enjoy being at home and feel most comfortable in their regular surroundings. Households with multiple pets might consider hiring a pet-sitter as a cost-effective option since many pet-sitters charge minimal to no fees for multiple pets. Pet-sitters can also take care of simple home maintenance needs such as picking up your mail and watering plants. An added bonus: Having a visitor in your home can help deter potential intruders.

How to find a trustworthy pet-sitter

Make sure your pet-sitter is licensed and bonded

Networks such as Pet Sitters International allow you to search for licensed and bonded pet-sitters based on where you live.

Ask for references

Any dependable pet-sitter should be able to provide you with at least three references. Make sure to contact each reference and ask them to provide their feedback.

Does your pet-sitter have a back-up?

Be sure to ask your pet-sitter how your pet will be tended to in case the assigned pet-sitter is unable to make it due to an emergency.

Is a meet-and-greet included free of charge?

Most pet-sitters will include a free consultation to get comfortable with your pet. Once you find a pet-sitter that fits the bill, it's Fido's turn to make the final decision.

If your pet suffers from separation anxiety or is destructive when you leave the home, a doggy day care may be a better option. Doggy day care facilities allow you to prevent your pet from finding any opportunities to act out, by providing a safe and supervised environment. Most even allow a variety of sleeping accommodations to ensure your pet's comfort.

How to find a trustworthy doggy day care

Visit the facility

Don't be afraid to be nosy, ask for a tour and get to know the staff. This gives you a chance to see how the staff interacts with other pets and if it is a well-organized establishment.

Ask for a trial run

Ask the facility of you can drop off your dog for a half-day trial run and see how your pet reacts after spending some time at day care. Some doggy day cares make this a requirement, to make sure your pet plays well with others. If Fido has a bad experience, you'll be the first to know.

Do they require proof of current vaccinations?

The last thing you want to come home to is a sick dog and vet bills. Make sure your facility makes this a requirement to reduce the chance of your puppy catching any germs.

Do they have an emergency plan?

Find out how the facility handles emergencies including fires, break-ins or anything else that may be a threat to your pet. Some locations may provide overnight security to ensure your pets are secure 24/7.

More tips for pet owners

Grooming tips for stylish dogs and cats
Pet separation anxiety: 4 Tips to help cope
How to introduce pets to your children

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