So What Do I Look For In a Pet Sitter or Dog Walker in Tampa?
Below are the top five items items to look for when hiring a pet sitter or dog walker. We’ve also included answers for WestFetch.
- Are they available all the time? (Do they do this part time or full time? Are they a one-person operation? Do they operate 365 days a year, all hours?)
- This is an important question for complete coverage for all of your needs. If they operate part time (around their full-time job or other commitments), then they may not be available on weekends, nights, holidays, etc when you need them, especially if you need them on short notice. A one-person operation can also run into the same situations. Its impossible for one person to be available to everyone all the time. Do they have a back-up plan if they go on vacation, take a day or weekend off, get sick or injured? Trust us when we say it’s necessary, be sure your pet sitter has a back-up plan! (and then a back-up plan for that!).
- WestFetch: Yes, we are open 365 days a year, all hours (minus sleeping hours!) and have several emergency back ups available outside of our staff.
- Are they fully insured and bonded and have proper licensing as required by the local ordinances?
- You want to ensure you are covered should something unexpected happen.
- WestFetch: Yes, we are fully bonded and insured and are properly licensed by Hillsborough County.
- How long have they been in business and how much experience do they have with pets?
- Like any business, the longer they have been around and more experience they have, the more likely you are to receive the service, care and coverage you deserve.
- WestFetch: We have happily been in business since 2005 and have over 50 years combined experience with dogs (less with other animals but includes cats, fish, birds, horses, cows, pigs and rabbits)
- How long have they lived in the area?
- Another sign of stability if your sitter has been in the area a long time. If they have moved from city to city often, it’s more likely they will do it again in the future and leave you searching for another sitter.
- WestFetch: As you can see in our About Us page, we have lived in the Tampa area since 1998. Prior to that, several years in Gainesville attending college and prior to that, Craig, the founder, was born and raised in Sarasota, thus his whole life has been spent in Florida!
- My friend/neighbor/family member has offered to watch my pets. Why pay for a pet sitter?
- It’s a great gesture and can work out for you and your pets. But consider, what happens if they aren’t available? Do they know how to handle all different situations with your pet (sickness, fears such as thunderstorms, separation anxiety, injuries)? Will they maintain a schedule that your pet is used to, stopping by at the appropriate times and feeding/medicating them as necessary? And who will they bring with them into your home??
- WestFetch: As professional pet sitters we have been through all of these situations and then some. We have the experience to react in the proper manner should one, or more, of these instances occur. Also keep in mind that this is our full-time job and business. Our very existence is to ensure your pets and property are cared for properly as instructed by you. Plus, not imposing on your friends, neighbors and family can lead to happier relationships! 🙂
NOTE: Notice I did not mention anything about being a member of a pet sitting organization/association. Anyone can be a member by paying dues, it does not directly relate to better care of your pets. If the member is active and utilizing their membership to continually improve their knowledge through its resources, then it is a benefit (which, by the way, can be done outside of an organization as well). While we are gladly a member of an organization and use it as a resource for continual education and learning, we don’t feel being a member alone makes us better than any other pet sitting company since it can be done by simply writing a check.