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Finding a great dog sitter is extremely important. After all, these are your fur kids. Your babies. You wouldn’t leave your children with just anyone. And you shouldn’t do it with your dogs. There are a lot of dog sitters on the market, but very few I would leave my own dogs with. After being in the business for 15 years I’ve learned a lot about being on both sides of the dog sitting business. I also have two dogs myself and I’m very picky about where I leave them. That’s because I know the other side.

After hearing too many horror stories about dogs who were killed, attacked, or lost through sitters or in kennels, I wanted to post this information to give dog owners a better idea of how to find a great dog sitter. Here are some things you need to keep in mind to find a great dog sitter:

Experience and Qualifications

I was very lucky to have a mentor when I first started dog sitting. Otherwise I would have made a million mistakes, and you don’t want someone who is just starting out and doesn’t know anything about being a dog sitter. Yes, there is a LOT to learn! You need to know dog pack behavior and different breed personalities. You need to be able to know the difference between a dog who wants to play and one who is ready to bite or attack another dog. This is something you learn from experience. I was able to call my mentor and ask questions about everything. She was also a dog trainer, so she had very in-depth knowledge about dog behavior.

Inquire about the sitter’s experience with dogs, particularly with breeds similar to yours. If your dog has any special needs or requires medication, make sure the sitter is knowledgeable and comfortable handling those requirements. If you’ve been dog sitting long enough you run across most dog medications and how to administer them.

It’s critical to find a dog sitter who is completely responsible and able to give your dog their meds on time and correctly. As someone who is on the other side of that, having a dog sitter who I can trust to give meds is vital. Please don’t ever leave your dog with a sitter if you have any doubts about that.

Recommendations and Reviews

Think about it. Would you ever leave your kids with a babysitter without getting some referrals first? Again, your dogs are your fur kids. Referrals from other dog parents is one of the first places you can start.

Ask friends, family, neighbors, or fellow dog owners for recommendations. Online platforms, like pet-sitting websites or local community groups, often have reviews and ratings for different dog sitters. Read through these reviews to get an idea of their reputation and the experiences of other pet owners.

Meet in Person

Schedule a meet and greet with potential dog sitters before making a decision. This allows you to assess their demeanor and how they interact with your dog. Pay attention to how your dog responds to the person as well. A strong bond between them is a positive sign.

Insurance and Bonding

Check if the dog sitter has insurance coverage in case of accidents or emergencies. Bonding also provides extra security if there are any instances of theft or property damage. Make sure you leave all vet info and backup phone numbers.

Home Environment

If the dog sitter offers to care for your pet at their home, visit the place to ensure it’s safe and clean. Check for any hazards and assess if it’s an appropriate environment for your dog. If the sitter has a backyard, make sure it’s completely fenced in and there is no possible way a dog could escape. Look out for anything left out that a dog could get into, like cleaning products or food they are not supposed to eat.

If the sitter has any aggressive dogs, that’s a big red flag. Even the sweetest dog might snap a little if you try to take their food, but aggression for no reason is not a good sign.


A great dog sitter should be proactive in communicating with you while you’re away. They should provide updates on your dog’s well-being, send pictures, and let you know about any concerns promptly.

Scheduling and Availability

Confirm that the dog sitter can accommodate your specific schedule and duration of care. Ensure they won’t be overbooked during the time they’re supposed to take care of your dog.

Trial Run

If possible, arrange a short trial run where the sitter spends a few hours with your dog. This can help you gauge how well they connect and how comfortable your dog is in their presence. I always recommend doing a daycare for at least a day if you’re planning on taking a long trip. This way the dog knows you’re going to pick them up and they won’t be anxious. It also allows the sitter to see if the dog is going to do well in their home. It makes it easier for them to acclimate to their new pack.

Trust Your Instincts

Ultimately, trust your instincts and feelings about the person. If something feels off or you have any doubts, it’s best to look for another dog sitter. I had keys to many of my regular clients’ homes as I built trust with them over the years.

You know your dog better than anyone. Dog owners are usually very accurate about their dog’s behavior and quirks. There needs to be mutual trust between you and the sitter. Read between the lines and trust your intuition.

It’s easy to pick a dog sitter based on price, but if someone is charging too little, there is always a reason. Never scrimp on your dog’s life to save a dime. It’s not worth it.

Take the time to find a great dog sitter

Remember that a great dog sitter should be compassionate, responsible, and genuinely interested in the well-being of your dog. Taking the time to find the right person will provide you with peace of mind while you’re away, knowing that your dog is in good hands.

If you’re looking for a responsible, experienced dog sitter in Plano, Texas, please give me a call. Let’s see if your dog is a great fit for VIP Doggie Daycare.