Trusted Housesitters: A Pet Owner's Perspective

Long gone are the days when a family went on a vacation and left their pet boarded in the kennels of an animal hospital.  Thank goodness too, as even though there was so much love, there weren’t the options that there are today.

Pet owners now have more possibilities when it comes to their pets and vacations:  you can take your pet with you, you can have someone come and stay at your home with your pet while you are gone, or, you can leave your pet at someone’s house or a pet hotel.

While this all depends on you, your pet, and your circumstances, luckily, you have some great choices.

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Pet Sitting

Having someone come and stay at your home can give you peace of mind and let you enjoy your trip even more while knowing that he/she is in good hands. Pet sitting has evolved over the years into a real business, and rightfully so, as pets are a part of the family.  

Not only that, but having someone take care of your house, get the mail, be present at home, and water the plants can also be advantageous.  

Why Trusted Housesitters?

As there are many platforms now for finding pet sitters, it can be stressful to find the right “fit.”  For example, my sister has her precious cat.  Her cat loves attention and thrives while playing day and night.

While my sister plans her vacations, her biggest concern is who will watch her cat. Sure, you can find a pet sitter in a Facebook group, but depending on what they charge and not knowing exactly who they are, my sister is hesitant.  

With Trusted Housesitters, the greatest aspect for my sister is that the sitters are vetted. They have background checks done.  There are video calls with the sitters interested, and this way my sister can choose who best matches what she needs with her cat.

How Trusted Housesitters Works for Pet Owners

Trusted Housesitters is a platform where you set up an account, pay an annual membership fee for unlimited pet sitter stays for a year, and start with the dates that you need a pet sitter.

You will then receive applications from pet sitters, or you can reach out to pet sitters that you think are a good fit.  Like other platforms, reviews can help you make your choice.

From there, you can set up video calls with potential sitters and decide who is best for your pet.

Why Trusted Housesitters are “Trusted”?

For someone to become a pet sitter, there are some requirements:

  1.  A complete background check which confirms the following:
  • National Criminal Records search has come back clear
  • No county-level adverse policy violations are found
  • They aren’t on any sex offender registry
  • SSN Trace & Address History has been completed
  • They aren’t on the Domestic & Global Terrorist Watchlists
  • FCRA-compliant
  1.  ID Check

A sitter’s identity has been confirmed and cross-checked using an official government ID (such as a passport, driving license, or National Identity Card).

  1. External references  

References have been provided on behalf of the sitter vouching for their character or house and pet sitting experience.  This could be a landlord, employer, or someone they have previously house or pet-sat for.

  1.  Email and Phone Confirmation

The sitter’s email address and phone number have been checked and confirmed to be genuine.

What about Insurance?

We all have that concern that what if something happens when we are gone?  How valuable peace of mind really is!  Trusted Housesitters has some options.

As a Standard and Premium Pet Parent member, you’re covered by their Home and Contents Plan for every sit organized and confirmed through Trusted Housesitters at no additional cost.  Underwritten by global insurer GUARDHOG, you’re covered against property damage, theft, and public liability if a sitter has an accident in your home, up to $1 million USD.  

If you have an existing home insurance policy and an active Standard or Premium Pet Parent membership, you’re covered against:

  • Property damage—This covers accidental and malicious damage to your property during a sit, including your household goods and valuable belongings. 
  • Theft — If something goes missing, you're covered.
  • Public liability — This covers you in case the sitter has an accident in and around your property.

Questions to Ask When Looking for a Pet Sitter

When you are preparing for the video interview, it is good to have some questions ready so you have all the answers you need to make a decision.  Here are a few to get you going:

  • What experience do you have?
  • What will your schedule be like?  Do you work remotely or will you be leaving the house often?
  • How much time will you spend with my pet?
  • If the pet needs to be walked, will you commit to _ times a day?
  • Can you please let us know what your unique affection giving style is with pets? 
  • Would you send videos and photos and/or even Video Chat with me while you are visiting my pet?
  • Confirmation of dates, such as arrival and departure logistics.
  • Do you smoke?
  • Will you be having visitors?  Let them know your policy about visitors.
  • Are you coming here with other pets?
  • Are you traveling here with someone else?
  • Are you coming with a car?  Will you need a car here?  (Depending on location.)
  • Let the sitter know your standards of cleanliness.
  • Let the sitter know your expectations or what your pet needs while you are gone, such as walks, medications, playtime, etc.

How to Prepare Your Home for a Pet Sitter

It is important to realize that your pet responds to you in a certain way and may not respond to someone else in the same way.  

Leave Clear Instructions 

  • Feeding times - how much and when
  • Walks or playtime needed
  • Any medications - what and how to administrate it
  • Any nuances such as if there are more than one pet, which one gets a treat first or if at the same time, etc.
  • Pet rules:  Are they allowed on the couch?  Do they sleep in the bed?
  • How does your pet socialize?
  • What has your pet’s training entailed?  What are the command words?
  • How long can your pet be left alone?  Give the maximum amount of time that you feel comfortable that your pet is home without anyone.  What instructions are there for leaving your pet alone?  Is your pet crated?  
  • Does your pet have a certain blanket or toy?
  • Is your pet scared of something, such as a vacuum or certain noises?

Have Written Down All Contact Numbers, including your number, an emergency number of a contact who will be nearby, such as a friend or family member, and the veterinarian’s number.

Stock Up on Food and Treats.  Make sure your pet sitter understands how much and how many times a day.

Double-check that All Leashes and Collars are all in order if your pet will be walked.

Give Your Yard a Look that all is in order if your pet will be on its own at times.  Is it escape-proof?

Have Sufficient Poop Bags and Towels for muddy paws easily accessible.

Locate Your Pet’s Travel Crate and have it accessible in case it is necessary.

Do You Have a First Aid Kit For Your Pet?  Get one here!

Let Your Neighbors Know that you will have a pet sitter if that is applicable.

Daily Photos and Updates are welcome, or do you want to be off the grid?

Are There Any Other Household Chores that need to be done, such as watering the plants, getting the mail, and putting out the garbage?

Details for the Sitter

Where Will Your Sitter Sleep?

Can your Sitter Do Laundry?

Is The Food in the Fridge for the Sitter?

Where are the Cleaning Supplies?

Do you Have House Rules, such as no shoes in the house?

Are There People Who Will Come By, such as a gardener or a cleaner?

How Do You Work The AC or the Heat?

How Do You Work the TVs and Remotes?

Is There An Alarm Code?

Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is much more acknowledged these days.  As explained in the ASPCA, separation anxiety is triggered when dogs become upset from being separated from their humans.  This can play out by your pet being disruptive or destructive when left alone by urinating, barking, chewing things, defecating, etc.  

There are ways to help your pet with separation anxiety, such as counterconditioning and desensitization  This takes work on your part, but will greatly benefit your pet in being able to overcome and transform its fear.

Having a pet sitter helps when pets have separation anxiety.  Letting your sitter know that your pet needs to be with a human is a clear guideline when selecting a sitter.  Someone who will be out visiting the sites might not be the perfect fit. 

Also, take into consideration that there are many times when pet parents leave their pets in the care of a petsitter, and their perfect pet acts out a bit.  For example, that their pet never has a problem when sleeping in the bed at night.  But then the pet urinates or defecates in the bed while the pet's parents are away.  This could be another expression of separation anxiety or just stress that your pet’s favorite people are not there.

Is It Okay To Have a Petsitter Checkout Checklist?

Yes!  While most sitters are respectful of your space and your things, it is nice to know you will come home to a clean house.  This should be mentioned in your video interview.  Here is a list you can leave for them:

Bedroom: 

  • Take the sheets off the bed and wash them
  • Vacuum or sweep the floor

Kitchen

  • Wash the dishes
  • Clean the sink
  • Clean out the refrigerator and cabinets of the food that is the sitter’s
  • Sweep and mop the floor

Living room

  • Vacuum
  • Straighten up the pillows on the couch, etc.

Bathroom

  • Clean the toilet
  • Wash towels
  • Clean the shower/tub
  • Clean the floor
  • Clean the sink

Remember, as a pet owner, you also want positive reviews.  Make sure you are clear and upfront with any expectations, but have a good rapport with your sitter.

I recommend Trusted Housesitters for any pet parents.  They have sitters for all kinds of animals, and it really gives you peace of mind while you are away.  Pets are an important part of the family, so setting you and your pet up for an enjoyable time while you are away is so worth it!

I have a few more posts that you can learn more: Review of Trusted Housesitters from Sitter's Point of View for pet sitters and How to Use Trusted Housesitters to Kickstart Your Moving, Traveling, or Pet-Sitting Journey.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a Sit Cancelation Plan?

Yes, for the Premium Pet Parent Plan.  

In the unlikely event of sitter cancellation, Trusted Housesitters will provide up to $150 compensation per night to cover the cost of alternative pet care, up to $1500 per sit.

Is there such a thing as a Combined Plan for being both a pet parent who needs a sitter and being a sitter?

Yes!  The necessities of worry-free care anytime you go away. Plus, enjoy unlimited global sits.  Check out Trusted Housesitters’ great combo!

I am very nervous to leave my pets with someone I don’t know.  What can I do?

The vetting process and having interviews with potential pet sitters can take those worries away.  Check out sitters’ reviews and make sure you have clear expectations.  Communication is key, and emphasize that you would like daily updates and photos.   This can help ease your mind.