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RSPCA WA: Thinking of hiring a pet sitter? Here are 3 things you should do first. . .

Georgina BrownAlbany Advertiser
Let your pet sitter know the house rules, such as whether your pooch is allowed on the couch.
Camera IconLet your pet sitter know the house rules, such as whether your pooch is allowed on the couch. Credit: Supplied/RSPCA WA

For many owners, having their furry friend stay in a home is much more appealing than a kennel and cattery environment.

But it’s important to remember that pet sitting is an unregulated industry.

And that, with an increasing number of devoted websites and apps, registering as a sitter is easier than ever.

The onus is on owners to do research and ask questions to help protect their animals from harm.

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I’d really recommend letting your neighbours know if you’re planning to head away without your pets these school holidays.

They can be an extra set of eyes and can contact you if any issues come up with your pet’s care.

Even better, introduce them to your pet sitter and explain the plans you have in place.

Our animals rely on us for their every need, and things can go terribly wrong when pets are left without proper care.

Knowing you’ve spent the extra time to make sure your pet is happy and healthy while you’re away will be well worth it and keep your holiday stress-free too.

1. Check references and know what to ask

The best way to find a pet sitter is usually through word-of-mouth.

Ask friends, family, or your local vet clinic for recommendations.

If your pet has any special needs, try to find a sitter who has experience in that area, such as a dog trainer or vet nurse.

Websites and apps are a great next step, but its critical to check the reviews and request recent references.

Ask references about how responsible and reliable the pet sitter was, and the standard of animal care they provided. Were they easy to get in touch with? Did they handle any challenging situations such as medical emergencies or a pet going missing?

2. Meet your pet sitter beforehand

If you’re planning to have a pet sitter stay at or visit your home, then have them come over beforehand. This way your pet can meet the sitter in a comfy environment.

Take things slow and make the experience positive for your pet by playing games, giving treats, or going for a walk.

Guide the sitter through your pet’s usual routine and provide detailed notes with all the relevant care instructions.

If you pet sitter is not staying at your home full-time, they should visit at least once a day to care for your pet and provide much-needed company and enrichment.

3. Leave instructions and a pet care pack

You’ll want to make sure your pet sitter has everything they need to provide the best care for your pet while you’re away. Be sure to include:

- Details of your pet’s routine — including diet and when to exercise them

- Emergency contact details. This could be a neighbour or friend from the dog park who knows your pet well.

- Your vet’s contact details (including after-hours service)

- Supplies like lead, collar, litter tray and toys

- Information about your pet’s likes and dislikes

- Details of any medication and health issues

- Make sure your pet’s microchip is updated with your current contact details

Georgina Brown is RSPCA WA’s Great Southern Inspector

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