Who’s Minding Your Pet? 5 Tips for Finding a Pet Sitter

Pet sitter enjoying walking with dogs outdoors in the sunshine

Who’s Minding Your Pet? 5 Tips for Finding a Pet Sitter

Taking your four legged friend away with you on a beautiful holiday might sound like the dream, but unfortunately isn’t always reality. Coordinating care for your dog or cat can often be a challenge as you want the best care for them as possible while you’re away.

Many people choose a pet-sitter or a boarding kennel when organising care for their pet. They are qualified, knowledgeable, professional and trustworthy—so how do you find the one that is right for your pet?

Let’s take a look at all the different elements you should be considering when choosing the right person to look after your dog or cat.

Pet-Sitter or Boarding Kennel?

Pet Sitter:


Pet Boarding:


Home environment


Secure environment, can’t escape


Less animals around, more attention


If your pet is sociable, they will love meeting lots of new faces in the kennel!


One on one care


Lots of facilities to run around and play


Better for older pets


Better for younger pets


Can be more expensive


Can be noisy and overcrowded


Look for Recommendations

Recommendations and word of mouth are going to be a big help when searching for the right pet-minder. Compile a list of people you know and trust to ask, such as:

Pet Shop: Your local Petmania can provide you with a trustworthy and reliable recommendation of pet-sitters in your area. Ask any one of our members in store and they will be happy to give you a list of who to contact.

Friends and Family: Ask your friends and family if they have availed of any pet-sitting services or boarding kennels recently. As fellow pet-parents, they will be able to tell you exactly what they thought, how their pet felt coming home, and how frequent the communication was.

Veterinarian: A good pet-sitter or kennel will have a support network, so what better place to get a recommendation than your local vet? If you have an older cat or dog, or one with special needs, it can provide you with peace of mind that the minder you chose has an established professional relationship with your vet should there ever be a medical emergency.

Petmania pet care advisor helping customers in store with questions they have

Know Your Pet’s Needs

Does your pet have certain medical needs that will need to be tended to? Look for someone with first-aid training or who lives in close proximity to a veterinary practice, and is comfortable administrating pills and medication.

Does your pet have any sensitivities or allergies? Perhaps your dog requires grain-free food, or your cat prefers dust-free cat litter. Whatever their need is, make sure any pet-sitter or boarding kennel you choose can provide the correct level of care.

Is your pet calm around small children? Some dogs and cats can get anxious and overwhelmed when they are near loud children, so find out whether there will be children in the same home as your pet before committing to a pet-sitter or kennel.

Does your pet like lots of attention? No doubt our pets love getting attention from their favourite humans, but in an unfamiliar environment, they may be more relaxed in their own space, away from a crowd. Check if the pet-sitter or kennel will be watching many pets at once, or just a few at a time.

dog walking beside pet sitter on a lead in a park on a sunny day

Ask Questions

After compiling a list of recommendations, make contact and schedule meetings with a few pet-sitters and kennels. Make a list of your top questions you need to ask, such as:

  1. What are your qualifications? Do they have an animal-related degree such as Veterinary Nursing or Animal Care?
  2. Where will my pet be living? It’s important to know where they’ll be sleeping, exercising, and eating, as you want the rules to be the same as they are in your home.
  3. How often will they be exercised? Ask how often they’ll be brought out for walks or have someone to play with. Let them know how many walks a day they normally get so they can stick to the same schedule.
  4. What is the communication like? Many pet-sitters and kennels will be happy to send you regular photos and videos of your dog while you’re away. If this is important to you, make sure to ask if they can do this.

5. What is the emergency plan? Accidents happen, and you’ll want to choose a person who is experienced, skilled, and resourceful enough to protect your pet in an emergency. You should also enquire about insurance cover.

6. What are your references? Ask for a list of clients that can vouch for their services. When provided with references to speak with, make sure to ask questions that are tailored to your expectations and your pet’s needs.

Checking Where Your Pet Will Stay

Make sure to go out and visit the kennels or conduct a home visit to the pet-sitters before you leave to check that all their facilities are clean, dry, draught-free, safe, and provide shade. Make sure there is plenty of space both inside and out, and that any pets there look happy and healthy. Are there many people watching the animals at once, or is it one person at a time? Is there plenty of entertainment provided e.g. stimulating toys? Are there an adequate number of water bowls around for the pets?

Do a Test Run

After finally picking a pet-sitter or boarding kennel who meets all your criteria, there’s still one family member yet to give their stamp of approval -your pet! It is a good idea to introduce your pet to where they will be staying before you go on holiday. Observe how your pet interacts with the sitter or the employees at the kennels. Let them spend a day getting to know your pet, and vice versa.

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