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5 Tips for Hiring a Dog Sitter

Guest post by Courtney Heitter from

For many people, summer is the season of travel. There are so many places to see, whether by car, train, or airplane. With this happy season comes anxiety about your dog–where will he go when you travel? It’s important that your dog has a good time on his own vacation and that he’s safe, with any special requirements met.

Whether you’re hiring a family member, neighbor, or someone through an online service like, make sure that you choose the right sitter by asking yourself these questions:

1. How much attention does your dog need?

Choose a sitter who can give your dog the time he or she deserves. If your dog needs frequent bathroom breaks, book a sitter who can take your dog out as much as he needs (bathroom break frequency is listed on sitter profiles on Rover). If your dog has separation anxiety, consider a sitter who can be with your dog most of the time because they work from home, or work in a dog-friendly office.

If your dog is used to exercising for a half an hour everyday, let your sitter know. If he needs to go to the bathroom three times in 24 hours, mention it. Keeping his routine as normal as possible is important.

2. How much do you want to be updated?

This may seem like an odd consideration, but think about it for a moment. If you’re normally very involved in your dog’s life, you’ll want frequent updates of his adventures while you’re away. If you want to focus on your vacation, you can ask your sitter to contact you in emergencies only.

Most sitters are happy to send you all of the cute pics they’re snapping for themselves, as they take them, or hold on to them and give you an album of them when you get back. Just be direct in your expectations for a successful experience.

3. Understand your dog’s quirks

If your dog doesn’t like children, this is an important detail to share with your dog sitter, even if they don’t have kids (they might be babysitting one day and think introducing the two would be a great idea). It’s helpful to your dog and the sitter if you explain anything that could be out-of-the-ordinary. If you’re not sure if your dog has quirks, try to think of if you’ve seen him afraid  (thunder, or maybe the vacuum?), and let your sitter know.

If you know your dog is very anxious, it’s even more important that his routine stay consistent and the sitter is aware of this. If you’re nervous about leaving your anxious pup with a sitter, consider teaching your sitter calming routines, like canine sound therapy and wearing a thundershirt.

4. Consider the sitter’s home environment

Some dogs are used to apartment environments and others prefer to lounge and do their business in an enclosed yard. Seeking a sitter with a similar environment to your home could be beneficial.

Keep in mind your dog’s lounging preferences. Tell your sitter if he’s not allowed on the furniture, so the sitter will know to stick to your rules if you don’t want him to develop bad habits. If he is allowed on furniture, tell your sitter that too–your sitter may not feel the same way, and may surprise your dog with a reprimand if he tries to get on your sitter’s furniture.

5. Book a sitter in advance

Pet sitting is largely a seasonal business, meaning your family and neighbors are probably busy during the holidays and summer vacation too, and sitters that you can find online will be booked up quickly. If you’re planning to travel for Thanksgiving, it is wise to start looking for a dog sitter at least a month prior to make sure you have plenty of time to find the perfect fit for you and your dog.

Are there any additional tips you have found helpful when looking for a dog sitter? Thanks for sharing them in a comment below.

Note: The link I provided is my referral link. You’ll receive a $20 credit with Rover when you sign up with Rover, and I’ll also receive a credit. Enjoy!










4 thoughts on “5 Tips for Hiring a Dog Sitter

  1. It is important to make sure that you take the dog sitter’s home into consideration. After all, you will want to make sure that your dog will be safe and clean at their home. It might also help to make sure that they have proper certifications for taking care of dogs.

  2. I am going on vacation in a few weeks and this will be my first time spending an extended period of time away from my puppy, so I want to make sure I choose a reputable pet sitter who I can trust. You make a great point that a sitter who works from home could be a great option because my dog has anxiety and especially for the first few days when I am gone it would be great to have someone around all of the time to make sure she is doing ok. Also, in my opinion, it would be good to look at reviews from previous clients to see if they were satisfied with the service provided.

  3. I think I’ll hire a dog sitting service that will provide my dog with the attention that he needs. Perhaps I’ll remind them not to let the dog near the vacuum since he dislikes it. Thanks for mentioning that I should book the sitter in advance so that I can take my vacation without any issues.

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