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In the United States alone, around 85 million families own at least one pet. In Los Angeles, this is especially true, with more than 3 million households owning at least one pet.
This all sounds cute and cuddly but constantly maintaining a pet is not always possible for owners. We all have other work or personal commitments and sometimes we have to stay away for long hours.
If a pet is left ignored and alone for too long, it might cause problems in its mental growth.
To solve this issue, many pet owners are now willing to hire pet sitters. Just like babysitters, they take care of the pets in the absence of the owners.
They feed them, clean them, and keep them accompanied. As for the sitters, this is a fun job and a good way to make some extra cash.
Why Should You Hire A Pet Sitter?
The most common pets are cats, dogs, and birds, all of which are social creatures. Meaning, they rely on the company of someone else for their mental growth and support.
If they stay by themselves for most of the day, they might become detached from their owners or become depressed.
This is even more important if your pet is at a young stage. It needs to be properly looked after, just like a human baby.
Otherwise, it might fall sick or injure itself in an accident. Small fragile pets such as birds and fish can even die due to negligence.
But having a pet sitter in the absence of the owner will solve all these problems. Pet sitters usually stay at your house during your absence to look after your pet, otherwise, they’ll take them to their own house. They make sure your pet is well-fed, healthy, and happy.
If you are someone who needs to be away from home for more than 8 or 9 hours a day, getting a pet sitter is a wise choice. If you live in Los Angeles and have a pet cat then you can rely on the Los Angeles Cat Sitter.
Requirements For A Pet Sitter
Not everyone can be a pet sitter. It requires a specific set of skills and a lot of patience. Whether you are hiring a personal pet sitter to come to yours or keeping your pet in the sitter’s house, you should ensure that they meet the following requirements.
1. Understands Animal Behavior
Understanding animal behavior should be the first priority for choosing any pet sitter. Animals can show certain behavior to express their feelings.
They can show signs of hunger, sadness, or willingness to go outside for a walk. So, the pet sitter must be able to understand these behaviors and take action accordingly.
2. Has Good Knowledge About The Pet
Some sitters are better at taking care of birds but are not that good with dogs. The sitters must be well aware of the pet you have. This helps when your pet falls sick and the sitter has to take instant action.
Check your sitter’s history and ask whether they know everything there is to know about your pet.
3. Has Good Communication Skills
Communication is key when choosing a good sitter. They can contact you right away when they need to, talk to vets and update them about your pet’s condition.
In general, sitters that have good communication skills are also more capable of taking care of pets.
4. Is Comfortable With Your Pet
This goes without saying that your sitter must be comfortable with your pet. You can not have someone who is afraid of spiders take care of your tarantula.
Besides, if they have previous experience in taking care of a similar pet then they will know even the tiniest details about them.
There are some people who only do this job for the money so, be wary of them. Your sitter has to be affectionate, caring, and knowledgeable regarding your pet.
Tips For Choosing A Pet Sitter
While choosing the pet sitter, you need to be very careful because only meeting the required skill set is not enough. Consider the following tips when choosing the right one.
1. Seek Recommendations From Your Vet
Talking to your vet is a great way to start searching. Vets have good connections with pet centers, sitters, and other organizations that take care of animals.
They can also give you contacts of personal pet sitters. There are a lot of well-renowned vet clinics in Los Angeles. You can go to the nearest one and ask for a recommendation and they will happily do so.
2. Ask Your Relatives And Neighbors
If you are not able to get in touch with a vet, then you can ask around in your neighborhood or among your relatives. Ask them if they have ever kept any pet sitters.
Try talking to someone in the neighborhood who previously hired sitters. This way, you can understand better how much you need to pay and what qualifications your sitter should have.
3. Have A Conversation With The Sitter
Recommendations will help you narrow down your choices but you need to judge the sitter yourself.
Have a proper conversation with them. Ask them questions such as how long they have been pet sitting, what type of pets they have taken care of, whether they are allergic to any type of pets, how much time they can afford for your pet, and if they own any pets themselves. These questions will allow you to better understand the suitability of your pet sitter.
4. Check Their Past Experience
A good pet sitter will obviously have previous clients. You can go around and ask about their performance from previous clients.
This is a very effective method because it allows you to understand how good the pet sitter is at handling animals. But only go to clients that have the same pet as you. There is not as much value in knowing how well they treated a cat when you own a dog.
5. Check Their Knowledge about Emergency Management
Even if we try to avoid it, your pet will face emergencies such as injuries, becoming sick, falling into the pool, choking on something, and many more.
You need to ask your sitter about what they think about these circumstances and how they can react. How well they manage emergencies might save your pet’s life. For minor incidents such as cuts or bruises, pet sitters should be able to perform the small-scale treatment.
6. See if Your Pet is Comfortable Around Them
It is not possible to fully understand the psychology of animals. They may not like a person for simple reasons such as the color of the shirt they are wearing and the way they smell. Smaller pets get intimidated easily, so you need to check if your pet is comfortable around them. If not, your pet will always be scared around the sitter.
So, even if the pet sitter ticks all the requirements and has a good past record, avoid them if your pet does not feel comfortable around them.
7. Seek the Aid from Government
If you are having trouble finding the right pet sitter and want someone certified, then the government can help. There are various national pet sitter associations such as Pet Sitters International (PSI) or the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS) that can provide you with highly skilled and certified sitters all across the country.
If you want something local and want your association based in Los Angeles, you can try LA Pet Sittings, Sitter4Paws, Westside Pet Sitters, etc. They have years of experience in taking care of pets and might cost a bit more, but you will not regret getting your pet sitter from them.
8. Have Strict Terms of Contract
Since the sitter will be staying in your house for a long time, they are responsible for what happens to your house. If they break anything then they should pay for any repairs.
They also have access to all your belongings in your absence. So you need to have some strict rules in the contract so that if any item goes missing, the pet sitter is to be held accountable. Having some CCTV cameras installed is a good idea and will provide extra security.
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Red Flags When Choosing Pet Sitters
1. Signs Of Arrogance
It is normal to ask a lot of questions in order to screen possible candidates. If you see signs of arrogance, impatience, or avoidance of certain questions then it is wise to not choose him/her as your sitter.
2. Criminal Record
If your pet sitter has past criminal records such as theft or robbery, then you should obviously avoid them. Some criminals may have reformed and might genuinely want to take good care of your pet. However, as a common citizen, it is very difficult for you to judge who is actually good and who wants to rob your house.
In order to avoid such confusion, it is best to avoid them until you have certain proof that they have genuinely changed.
Pets need constant care and if you are not able to provide that because of work or other activities, then it is best to hire a pet sitter. Be sure to check for the right qualities and avoid candidates with red flags.