Cute pic of puppy

Fido or Fluffy, I’d love to take you along with me, but… Have you ever considered taking your pet on a trip, but hesitated because you imagined having to eat from the room service menu for days because a fickle Mother Nature won’t let you dine outdoors? Or perhaps you were planning to visit a destination with a fantastic museum you’d love to see, an exciting casino you’d like to visit, or maybe you just want to enjoy a relaxing day sampling the local public beaches and parks or go sightseeing but your pet isn’t allowed inside many of the facilities or public parks along the way. Maybe your trip was to visit a friend or family member staying at a local hospital, getting married, or perhaps attending the funeral of a loved one.

Most motels, hotels, condos, vacation rental properties and many campgrounds discourage leaving your pet alone in your room unattended. But don’t worry – you can have your treats and eat them, too! Finding a pet sitter to stay with your pet while you venture out is an easy solution, and here are some simple suggestions for getting the best match for you and your furry family members during your travels!

Locating a Pet Sitter – Many pet friendly hotels offer a variety of pet amenities, including recommended in-room pet sitting services. These services are available on an hourly basis, so you have the flexibility to choose how long you wish or need to be away from your pet each day and plan accordingly either before you leave for your destination or you may even make last-minute arrangements upon your arrival. If you have an exotic pet, consider contacting a local society or organization for its species.

Referrals – Before choosing a sitter, be sure to get a couple of referrals. Talk to the concierge or front desk clerk at your hotel about local pet sitters and ask for recommendations. Also, check the sitter’s website to read reviews, testimonials and comments posted by other customers.

Questions, Questions, Questions – A professional sitter will ask a lot of questions. Consider the kinds of questions they ask, as this will indicate their experience in caring for the particular breed or species of your pet. Depending on how many hours you expect to be away, you should expect questions about your pet’s medications and inquiries about behavior and temperament. When it comes time for you to ask questions, have a pen and paper handy to take notes and be sure to ask the following:

1. How much experience does the sitter have?
2. What training have they received?
3. If working with an agency, how are sitters screened and trained?
4. What activities will the sitter do with your pet? (Walking, feeding, playtime, administering medicine.)
5. Does the sitter or agency keep regular hours? Are they willing to stay past these hours if scheduled in advance?
6. How much notice is needed to schedule your request for a pet sitter?
7. What are the established fees for services?
8. Is there a contingency plan in case of emergency?
9. What are the terms of payment?

Also, if time allows, ask the sitter to e-mail or fax their contract to you and review it carefully. It should clearly define what to expect from the sitter, including a list of rates for all services to be provided.

Client References – Ask for references and be sure to follow up. This will help you get a better idea of what you can truly expect from the sitter. As with other steps in this process, jot down a list of questions you would like to ask and take notes.

Follow Your Intuition – If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Keep looking. Once you have found the right person, make arrangements – before you start your trip, if possible.

Before You Leave – Make sure you prepare detailed care instructions for your pet. Go over the list with the sitter before you leave, being sure to point out what and when to feed your animal, medications to be given, and the duration of outings if the sitter will be taking your pet for walks. Let the sitter know how long you intend to be gone, and provide them with your cell phone number in case of emergency.

Spending a little time on this task will pay big dividends – for both you and your pet! You will get the enjoyment that comes from sharing new experiences and exploring new places with your best friend, without concern for having your options limited; your pet will get to join the family for one of the best activities of the year … going on vacation!

Planning a pet friendly trip of your own? Plan ahead and make it easier and more fun for eveyone!

If your travels bring you to the Traverse City, Michigan area, we hope you will contact Whisker Sitters to pamper your pets! http://WhiskerSittersTC.com or call Carol Preuett at 231-645-6458.

2 Responses to “Finding The Right Pet Sitter on Vacation”

  1. Your advice to ask for references and follow up and to take notes while you meet them would be useful. This could help you get the information you need to choose the right sitter for your pet. When you meet with potential sitters, it would probably help to either bring your animal or have them come to your home in order to test how well they interact with each other and if they’re comfortable with each other.

  2. It was really helpful to have the insight to leave a list of instructions. This way you can make sure that whoever is pet sitting will be able to help your dog accurately. As I look into taking a vacation, I will be sure to choose a sitter that will be able to follow these directions.

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