How to prepare for leaving your dog with a pet sitter

When you can’t bring your pet with you while traveling, the thought of leaving your furry friend in someone else’s care can be distressing and overwhelming. Hiring a pet sitter to come stay in your home can help minimize stress for your dog, but finding someone you trust can be challenging.

How can you determine if getting an in-home pet sitter is the right choice for your dog? How can you set your dog and your sitter up for success?

Why hire a pet sitter?

Hiring a good pet sitter has many advantages for both you and your dog:

  • Peace of mind for you – Go on your trip assured that your dog is happy and well taken care of. There can be many uncertainties when dropping your dog off at a boarding kennel or doggy daycare facility, or even a friend’s house. With an in-home pet sitter, your pup will be in a familiar, controlled environment with individual attention that you can direct. It’s the closest thing to staying home with your dog yourself.
  • Less stress for your dog – Staying home will eliminate the potential stress that can come from being in a new environment, having a different schedule, and interacting with lots of other dogs. Your dog won’t have to deal with (and you won’t have to worry about) social or environmental stress or the risk of injury and illness that can come with staying away from home. Dogs thrive with routine and consistency. For some dogs, particularly those who are not very social or have health issues, having a pet sitter can be the best choice.

Finding a good fit

If you have determined that hiring an in-home pet sitter is the best option for you and your pup, it is important to find the right fit. Finding someone you trust makes all the difference.

  • Get recommendations – Seek referrals from your veterinarian, groomer, or dog-owning friends, family, and neighbors. Start by looking into the sitters they have used and recommend.
  • Check client reviews – If you’ve found a sitter online through services like Rover or, reading reviews can be an effective way to hear from real clients about their experiences. Just be sure to take these reviews with a grain of salt. Ask for references that you can talk to.
  • Meet and greet – Contact perspective sitters well in advance and arrange to meet at a public space such as a park. It’s important that your dog has a chance to get to know the sitter before your trip—maybe even ask if they can leave you with a T-shirt so your dog can get used to their scent. Discuss things like your dog’s quirks, preferences, and what your expectations are. If the initial meeting goes well, you may want to invite them to your house to give them a tour and go over instructions in more detail.

Your dog’s health and happiness are top priority. Finding a capable pet sitter that both you and your pup like and trust will help ease stress around leaving your dog at home while you are traveling.



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