Choosing a Pet Sitter when going away

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

When going on holiday, it is important that you have peace of mind that your pet is well looked after. There are a few options to consider depending on your dog’s temperament. These options are friends and family, traditional boarding in kennels, home boarding or a pet sitter. Choosing a pet sitter is an ideal option for multi-pet households or pets that are elderly or anxious.

Below are some tips and advice to help you find the best pet sitter so that your pet can enjoy a staycation in the comfort of their home.

Please don’t leave it too late before choosing a pet sitter.

I cannot stress this enough – don’t leave it too late to book a pet sitter. As soon as you know you are going away and have the dates fixed, it is important that you then make arrangements for your dog or cat. Home boarders and pet sitters get booked up quickly due to the limited number of pets they can give “personal” attention to.

Remember that doing your research thoroughly the first time you go away will save time and stress in the future as there is a good chance that you will use them time and time again, especially if you and your dog or cat are happy with them.

Please research when choosing a pet sitter.

Leaving your cat or dog behind is one of the hardest decisions to make when going on holiday, whether you leave them with friends and family, kennel/cattery. A home border or have a pet sitter come and stay at your house. You need to know they are professional and experienced with looking after pets as well as trustworthy.

Therefore, it is important that you do your research and ask them plenty of questions the same way you would when looking for a dog walker to help put your mind at rest. This will enable you to relax and enjoy your holiday, knowing that your pet is in safe hands.

Check their ID tag and microchip.

Making sure your pet has an ID tag is important, as should the worst happen and they run off, the first thing most people will look for is an ID tag. Whilst you are away, you may wish to consider changing the ID tag on your dog’s collar to that of whoever is looking after them. After all, if you are in Australia and the dog is found, you would not want a call to your mobile at 3 am, which would be worrying and expensive. It is much easier for the person to contact your pet sitter direct.

Regarding the microchip, the details can be left as they are, but please make sure these are up to date so, in the worst-case scenario, the vet or dog warden can contact you – even if you are abroad.

Holiday care for dogs in your own home – pet sitters.

More and more people are opting for holiday care in their own home, as this allows your pet to remain in a familiar environment with a professional pet sitter. Like dog walking, this is an unregulated industry, and so it is important that once you have done your initial research, you make further checks.


Ask your potential pet sitter if they have suitable insurance covering them for a range of possible incidents such as public liability, accidents, injuries, and key loss and ask to see a copy of the policy.


As you will be letting a stranger into your home, it is important that you check to see if they have a current DBS (Derek Chambers has an Enhanced DBS via the Scouts). A DBS is an official check that will reveal any criminal record they may have, including previous convictions. If it flags up any issues, then walk away from them.

When choosing a pet sitter, check references and reviews.

Ask any potential pet sitter/walker if you can contact any previous clients for references. I would suggest that you ask for two references.

As well as references, it is also worth checking Google and Facebook for any recommendations they may have (sometimes, if you Google the name that left the reference, you can find an email to contact).


As with a dog walker, make sure you ask your pet sitter plenty of questions to put your mind at risk, such as what would they do in an emergency? How long will they be gone from the house at a time? Will they allow your dog to sleep on the bed with them (assuming your pet does sleep on the bed normally) etc.

Are they suitable?

It is important to make sure that your pet sitter is suitable to look after your dog, cat, rabbit, chicken or whatever pet you may have is comfortable looking after your pet and has some knowledge. After all, someone who loves cats may be scared or uncomfortable looking after dogs or have a phobia of snakes (erm, I don’t know who that is).


It is important to remember that the cheapest pet sitter may not necessarily be the right pet sitter. It is important to choose a pet sitter on their training, merits, references, how well they understand your pet’s needs, and more importantly, if your pet likes them – after all, this will be like a mini staycation for him.

What does your pet think?

Once you have satisfied yourself that the pet sitter you are considering is trustworthy and understands your pet, it is important to make sure your pet likes them. After all, they will be spending a lot of time together. If he seems shy or nervous about them, then maybe they are not the right match.

I hope this article about choosing a pet sitter will help you decide on the best pet sitter for you, and you may wish to check out either our cat sitting our pet sitting services along with our FAQs

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