5 min read

5 Benefits of Hiring a Pet Sitter



Those of us fortunate enough to live with a dog or cat know they depend on us for what they need to be happy and healthy. Food, shelter, and health care are just a few of our responsibilities. But what about when we need to leave Fido or Fluffy at home? Great pet parents plan ahead for when they can’t be there to care for their pets. They know they have several options when they need to be away for long days at work, overnight trips, or vacations. For your dog, one of the best solutions is hiring a pet sitter.

Hiring a pet sitter has many advantages over boarding in a kennel or dropping your pup at a doggy daycare for the day. Some dogs and cats may not fare well if they have to leave the house to be cared for. In these cases, a pet sitter who comes to your home can benefit not only your pets, but you, too. For this year's Professional Pet Sitters Week during March 6th - 12th, we wanted to shine a light on the pawtastic benefits of hiring a pet sitter to take care of your precious pooch while you are away.

What does a pet sitter do?

A top notch pet sitter is different from a dog walker or a neighbor or friend who comes into your home a couple of times a day to feed and walk your dog. Sitters take a wider view of their responsibilities, and are prepared to meet all aspects of being in your home and caring for your pet. They’ll spend time playing with your dog or cat, snuggling with them, and assessing how they’re doing. They can even bring in the mail, water plants, and make your home look lived in while you’re away.

Emergencies may arise while you’re gone, and pet sitters are well-prepared to deal with them, whether it’s a power outage, a sick dog, or anything else you would deal with yourself if you were there. They’re good at communicating, too, letting you know what’s happening and reassuring you that they’ve got things well in hand. They can even update you regularly about how your pet is faring, with photos and videos of snuggle or play time. But the most important benefits are for your dog. 

Some dogs may do fine in a kennel or other boarding setting, adapting to their caretakers who are likely to change during the day, and even enjoying playtime with the other pups if it’s offered to them.

However, the large majority of canines tend to feel most comfortable in their own homes where they have familiar smells and surroundings. Going for a potty break in their own yard will be less stressful than in an outdoor run surrounded by strange, curious dogs. But besides allowing your dog to stay home while you are away, there are other specific benefits that a pet sitter can bring to the table. Let’s look at the top ones for your dog!

Pet sitter taking a brown and white dog for routine dog walk - benefits of hiring

Hiring a pet sitter can help maintain your dog's familiar routine

Dogs like predictable routines and thrive on being able to count on their daily schedule. It can be stressful to a dog to have to wait for their meals or eat them in an unfamiliar location. They feel most comfortable if they can go to bed in the spot they usually sleep. Because of their acute sense of smell, they feel your presence even when you’re not there. Pet sitters, whom you’ve prepared with detailed information on your dog’s habits and schedule, can help them to feel more secure and relaxed in their regular routine. Some may even be able to carry on with your pup’s training progress!

Hiring a pet sitter can prevent separation anxiety

Separation anxiety can occur in dogs who don’t like to be left alone. The stress of being alone can make a dog frantic, and they may take out their fear on objects in the home or another pet. If they’re left in a crate, separation anxiety can cause them to damage it, or hurt themselves in the process of trying to get out. A pet sitter can relieve that stress and soothe the pooch’s anxiety by being consistently present and affectionate, as well as distracting them with games, exercise and cuddles.

Hiring a pet sitter can keep your pet healthier

Not only can pet sitters monitor your dog for illness and injury and take them for medical care when needed, but simply being able to stay in their own home prevents your dog from coming into contact with numerous strange dogs in a kennel or boarding facility who may transmit infections like kennel cough, or parasites such as fleas or worms

Dogs with special medical needs like infections, respiratory problems, or post-surgical recovery need not limit their pet parents’ ability to be away from home. Hiring a pet sitter ensures that treatments and medications are given on schedule. Many pet sitters work with veterinarians and bring their expertise to their pet sitting jobs. Also, many complete courses in pet first aid for those times when immediate medical care is needed.

Pet sitter sitting on couch cuddling three dogs

Hiring a pet sitter can help with socialization skills

Pups that get to meet other people and dogs become more well-rounded and less likely to be reactive, overly shy, or aggressive. Bringing a pet sitter into your furbaby’s life can be a lesson in learning to trust, how to approach a stranger, and how to give and accept affection with other people. Socializing with a human is more likely to happen smoothly when the pup is relaxed and secure in their own surroundings. Knowing how to introduce a professional sitter involves allowing your dog to take their time approaching, and letting the sitter spend some time with them at least once before you leave them. A meet and greet is a great way to see if your dog and the sitter are a good match.

Hiring a pet sitter will provide your pup with one-on-one attention

Most pet sitters are or have been pet parents themselves. They understand canine behavior and body language, and can adapt their approach to suit the dog in front of them. This focused, one-on-one interaction puts the pup at ease and allows them to enjoy the undivided attention. Competing for human attention with a group of dogs at a kennel can be stressful for your pup, as well as limiting in how much interaction with a human they get, whether for playtimes, potty times or just affection. We all want our fur babies to feel safe, and such individualized attention from a dog sitter who's only there for them can help them feel more relaxed and confident.

Tips for hiring a pet sitter

Finding the pawfect caregiver for your fur baby may take a little detective work and preparation, but the upfront effort will be well worth it to ease your mind while you’re away. Here are some furbulous tips to help you book the pawfect match:

  • Ask about a sitter’s experience with dogs (association with a local veterinarian or clinic, or any certifications or first aid training is a plus!)

  • Find out if they’re insured and bonded 

  • Ask for references or look for pawsitive reviews

  • Relay info about your dog’s personality, temperament, experiences, and quirks to find the right sitter for your pup's needs

  • Arrange at least one meet and greet with the sitter and your dog before the actual booking to see how they get along

If all goes well and you come home to a happy, stress-free dog, or cat, be sure to recommend the pet sitter and/or provide positive feedback. Most would appreciate a small gift from wherever you’ve been to show your appreciation, and a simple tip added to their fee would likely bring a smile to their faces. And don’t forget a “Thank you!”

If you’re planning to be away from home for an extended period, or just want a night out and don’t want to leave your fur baby home alone, booking a Pet Sitter with Wag! is a convenient and affordable way to keep your dog safe and relaxed at home until you get back to them. Your pet will love you for it!

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