Booking a pet sitter – How much notice is enough?

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katya clover

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booking a pet sitter
So you decide to take a trip and now need to line up a pet sitter to care for your furry babies. Hopefully your sitter is available or, you can find one that is available. You have to keep in mind that just because you need a pet sitter doesn’t mean they will be available to care for your pets.

Busy times of the year for pet sitters tend to be the Holidays & times that everybody else is off work. A good sign of a good pet sitter is one that books up quickly. It means they are in high demand & pet owners love their services. Their regular established clients are going to be their top priority in terms of providing services. Any openings left are then filled with new clientele in need of pet care services. It is generally a first come first served basis when scheduling pet care providers.

Holidays such as Christmas, News Year, Easter, Memorial Day, Labor Day , 4th of July & and Thanksgiving are a pet sitters busiest times of year. The month of March is also very busy because of Spring Break. You have to keep in mind a pet sitter may work & cover a service area with several school districts. Therefore they may be dealing with 3-4 weeks of different busy schedules.

So how do you ensure you get your regular pet sitter or a good reliable pet sitter if you haven’t used one before? #1 Tip: ADVANCED NOTICE!! The more notice you give a pet sitter the better chance you have of being able to book them. Do not be afraid to book a pet sitter 6 months to a year in advance. The minute you know about a trip book them! I have clients that book me a year in advance for Christmas , and New Years on a regular basis. Other will not make their airline & hotel reservations until they check to see if I am available for their dates! If you get it booked ahead of time there is less running around & last minute details to worry about.

pets schedule Yes pet sitters are not busy & hopping all the time, there are times of slow periods. But you never know when they will be. You would think January could be slow. But then there are a lot of people who travel after the holiday madness winds down and rates decrease. If you think you picked the perfect slow time of year to go away other people may have had the same great idea!

You have to try to be considerate of your pet sitter in terms of notice. Last minute family emergencies or business trips are one thing. Sometimes those happen with 24-48 hours notice. A pet sitter should be able to do their best to work with you in light of your situation. But to take off on a 2 week family vacation with a week or less notice is inconsiderate. If its a new pet sitter they have to schedule a consultation appointment to meet with you & your pet to line things up before you leave. If its your current pet sitter they have to try to rearrange & juggle their schedule around to try to take care of your pet & squeeze them in their schedule.

When a pet sitter is busy & has other pets scheduled squeezing your pet in at the last minute not only takes away time from other peoples pets but can limit the time they spend with your pet as well. Even though your pet may be easy & simple to take care of that is still time taken out of the pet sitters schedule that may have been a lunch break, an additional block cut out of another dogs walk,a feather teasing play time for a kitty, or an extra 20 minutes in the car for the pet sitter to get across town to your pet. It’s not just the pet sitter you are being inconsiderate to – its the other pet owners & their pets who already booked their time in advance.

dogs walking Depending on what type of service you need can dictate the amount of notice to give as well. A pet sitter that does overnight care obviously can only spend the night at one home per night. Its a limited service not all pet sitters provide that tends to book in advance. Stop by visits where they just stop in your home for 15-30 minutes tend to not book up as rapidly as overnights & can more easily be fit in to a pet sitters schedule.

Also the longer you will be away also determines availability. The standard pet sitting job tends to be between 3-7 days. Jobs that are more than week long should be booked ahead with more notice to ensure the pet sitter will be available for the entire length of the trip.

On average not including Holidays & regular vacation times, the standard notice to give a pet sitter would be 2 or more weeks in advance. As stated before, the minute you know about a trip – book your pet sitter! Don’t make your trip plans a month or two ahead & then call your pet sitter 1-2 weeks before.
Not all pet sitting services have multiple employees & sitters available. A lot of pet sitters are sole proprietors & its just them who care for the pets. This also can limit availability.

pet sitter shannons pet sitting If you call a pet sitter at the last minute with a job or during a busy time of year and they are not available do not blame them or get upset with them. Remember a good pet sitter is a busy pet sitter! You waited to long to book them. Its not the pet sitters fault! They aren’t psychic. They didn’t know you were going to take a last minute trip & hold a spot open for your pets. Take it as “Wow that’s great they are busy, and since they are in such high demand I know I need to give more notice next time.” Don’t make your pet sitter feel guilty for not being able to help you. If they were able to help you, they would! Pet sitters HATE turning down jobs. Especially from regular clients. But you hit a limit that you have to say no that you are booked. It’s nothing personal – its just if we take on more than we can handle the pets suffer in the long run.

I can not emphasis enough:

1.) Pet Sitters LOVE advanced notice!! The more notice the better!!
2.) A GOOD Pet sitter is a BUSY pet sitter that is in demand & books up way in advance!
3.) Call a pet sitter BEFORE you make your hotel & flight reservations to check availability.
4.) Book your pet sitter the minute you have you hotel & flight reservations

About the Author: Shannon's Pet-Sitting