The summer holidays are upon us and finding a reliable and trustworthy dog sitter is crucial for pet parents who want to ensure the well-being of their furry friends while they are away. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to choose the right person for the job. Here are ten essential qualities to look for in a dog sitter.

1. Experience

Firstly, experience is key. A good dog sitter should have prior experience handling dogs of various breeds and sizes. Though, that said, many sitters choose to specialise; there may be those who prefer small or large dogs, or others who may be naturally drawn to puppy care or be adept at bonding with senior dogs. Either way, make sure your sitter knows what they’re doing and understands canine behaviour. That way, they can confidently handle any unexpected situations that may arise!

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2. Reliability

Reliability is paramount. A responsible dog sitter will arrive on time and follow the agreed-upon schedule for feeding, walking, and playtime. They’ll ask lots of questions about your pup and want to know all there is to know – personality quirks, allergies, and all! They should also always be reachable in case of emergencies.

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3. Patience

Patience is vital when dealing with dogs. Dogs can be unpredictable at the best of times, but especially if they are anxious or in an unfamiliar environment. A patient dog sitter will take the time to understand your dog’s needs and provide them with comfort and reassurance. A meet and greet is always recommended before you entrust your dog to someone, so watch them carefully with your dog during that meeting, and trust your gut!

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4. Insurance

Fourthly, are they insured? As dog owners, we’re all aware that our canine friends can find themselves getting into mischief, and so unfortunately, accidents do happen. A dogsitter with insurance is a huge advantage over one without. Dog walkers who are just starting out often don’t have pet care insurance, while professionals often do. Find out and make sure you and your beloved pooch would be covered in case of an accident or illness. 

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5. Good Communication Skills

Good communication skills are necessary between you as the owner and the dog sitter. You should feel that you can ask any questions or ask for updates at any time and they will happily provide. This is very important – they should be able to update you regularly on your dog’s well-being through texts and/or photos. In the same way, you should also make sure you communicate anything to your sitter that you think they need to know – any changes in routine, food, family situation. Let them know!

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6. Trustworthiness

Trustworthiness cannot be overlooked when selecting a dog sitter. You need someone who respects your home (if they are looking after your dog in your home rather than theirs) and follows any specific instructions you provide regarding your dog’s care. A good place to start is through asking friends and family for recommendations or by checking out online reviews. Speaking of which…

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7. References and Reviews

References and reviews from previous clients are valuable in assessing a dog sitter’s reputation and any reputable dogsitter will be only too happy to provide reviews and testimonials. Positive feedback from satisfied customers is a good indication of their reliability and professionalism. 

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8. Flexibility

Flexibility is important as every dog has unique needs. A dog sitter who can adapt to your dog’s routine, personality, and preferences will ensure a smooth transition during your absence. Plus, it’ll make sure that it feels like a holiday for your dog too!

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9. Affordability

Affordability is a practical consideration when choosing a dog sitter. While cost should not be the sole determining factor, it is essential to find someone whose rates align with your budget without compromising on quality care.

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10. Love for Dogs

Finally – and most importantly! – a genuine love for all things canine is crucial when choosing a dog sitter. Dogs are perceptive creatures who can sense if someone genuinely cares about them or not. A loving caregiver will provide your pet with affection and attention during your absence. You want them to treat your dog like you do – a part of the family, so don’t settle for less!