Hiring a pet sitter to watch over your dog or cat while you are out of town is a logical solution for many reasons. Often, dogs and cats feel less stressed in their own environment and have a drastically reduced risk of acquiring a disease than when they are boarded at a kennel. However, problems can still arise when using a pet sitter, which will be described here.
Separation / Isolation Anxiety
Most pet sitters are asked to stop by the owner’s home 2 – 3 times per day to check in on the animals and make sure they are adequately fed and watered. Even dogs that do not normally display separation anxiety can become anxious in this setting when owners are away for extended periods of time, resulting in damage around the home. For these pets, in-home boarding might be the better option.
What happens in case of emergency with your pet sitter? For pet owners that hire a single person (i.e. someone not part of a larger company), there may not be a backup plan in case the pet sitter runs into car troubles or has a medical emergency. In this case, the pet may go days without being fed or watered, leading to a potentially dangerous situation. When hiring a pet sitter from a company, make sure there is always a backup plan in place to ensure that pets receive the agreed-upon care.
Risk of Accidents
Pet sitters might not be familiar with the quirks of your home, leading to an increased risk of accident. For instance, an improperly latched door could result in an escape attempt from your pet, and this situation may not be noticed for the next 12 hours. In-home pet boarding minimizes these risks, as does giving your pet sitter intricately detailed instructions regarding every aspect of your home.
Allowing Someone into your Home
Perhaps the biggest problem with using a pet sitter is the anxiety that is experienced when allowing someone into your home while you are away. Although many pet sitters are completely trustworthy, there is always a risk to your personal property due to accident or theft. It is important to thoroughly vet anyone who will be allowed into your home and ensure the company for which the pet sitter works is fully licensed and insured. To avoid the anxiety associated with giving someone free access to your home and personal belongings, consider in-home boarding instead.