Things to look out for when choosing a professional dog walker, pet sitter or home boarder..
When choosing a professional walker, sitter or boarder, it can be very stressful for the pet parents. As a dog owner, I'd be worrying if they was giving my pet the love and care I do. If they are giving my dog a quality walk. If they are trustworthy in my home? If they are reliable? Will they be patient with my dog? Will they protect him from harm and danger? The list goes on..
Here is a list of things I'd recommend you look for when trying to choose a professional dog walker, pet sitter or home boarder.
Are they DBS checked? A dog walker, pet sitter or home boarder does not have to be DBS checked, however in my opinion as a dog owner, it's more of a desirable thing to have. And as a professional dog walker and pet sitter, I have come across too many horror stories about people in the industry so I'd recommend going for someone who has one.
Are they insured? This is vital for any professional dog walker, pet sitter and home boarder to have valid insurance. It protects you, your pet and shows their standard of working. Don't be afraid to ask.
Are they licenced? Only pet sitters or home boarders that look after your pet in their own home will need a licence which will have been issued by the local council. Dog walkers and pet sitters who walk dogs in community and look after your pet in YOUR home will not need one. Ask to see a copy. Also if the pet sitter or home boarder is looking after your pet in their own home, ask to see their home prior to your pet going there. If they do not allow it or divert it, alarm bells should be ringing.
Do they hold any qualifications and what is their experience? A dog walker, pet sitter or home boarder does not need to hold any qualifications but it's nice if they do. I would say that pet first aid trained is a very desirable option as if there was to be any issues, you can rest assured your pet is in good hands and it shows their commitment to keeping your pet safe. Get to know the professional a bit more, ask their experience or what got them into it. After all, they are looking after your furbaby so it's good to know as much as possible about them so you can feel at ease and decide whether they are good enough.
If they have a website or Facebook page, check out their reviews. As a business owner, getting reviews from customers can be hit and miss so I understand it some cases there may be a little amount..however whether there are 100's or just a handful, if they are genuine and from previous or current clients as opposed to random friends and people, you can feel more trust in the work they do. Don't be afraid to contact the people who have written the review, more than likely, the clients are more than happy to help if they have had a positive experience with the business.
Does the dog walker, pet sitter or home boarder do a meet and greet/consultation? And what paperwork to they do with you if any at all? As a professional dog walker and pet sitter myself, I insist on doing a meet and greet and am not happy to provide a service unless I have done so. I will introduce myself and my qualifications and experience to them so they can firstly decide whether they are happy to have me looking after their pet. I will get to know a bit about the pet parents and the pet. Several contracts are completed for various things, a service agreement and I will give them terms and conditions to sign which protects the pet, the owner and myself. I personally feel that all these boring bits of paperwork I fill out are essential to running a professional business! Feel free to ask me anymore questions on what paperwork should be completed via my Facebook page or email.
How do they work? What is their routine and what can they offer other than a basic walk and to watch over your pet in your absence?
Where are they based? I personally stick to a 4 mile radius of my home, this is because keeping my clients in local and a small area means I can give quality walks, I'm not stressed and I am never late unless good reason!!
Best of luck finding the right service for your pet and thanks for reading :)
Feel free to contact me with any questions, I'm happy to help.
Larissa from Muddypaws x