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Holiday Pet Care
December 3, 2021
We know, pet parents. This is a busy time of year. September, Halloween, and Thanksgiving seem to speed faster towards us very year, each one bringing its own list of to-dos, then climaxing in Christmas, that supreme time of joy and chaos which brings with it a list of things to do to get ready that puts all others to shame.
And if we’re traveling for the holidays, it can get to be mid-December before we get to that terribly important to-do list item: finding a pet sitter. And if that is the predicament you find yourself in, it could be tough sleddin’ trying to find anyone last minute, let alone someone high caliber. But here are some pointers for the timeline to follow, and how to find someone at this high-demand time of year.
Is Hiring a Pet Sitter My Only Option?
If your dog’s a social butterfly, he might enjoy a boarding facility. But most dogs, and almost any cat, would rather stay in the comfort of their home and have a sitter come check in on them. And when it comes to choosing a sitter, you can ask an individual you know, look for a small pet sitting business in your area, or go with a service like Rover.
You may very well find the pool of available pet sitters to be smaller during the holidays, so you may need to resort to hiring someone who’s never watched your fur babies before, or perhaps that you’ve never even met before. If that’s the case, this post by the author of the pet blog Something Wagging This Way Comes describes her sitter-vetting process, and has a helpful list of questions she’ll ask the prospective sitter.
She requires that the sitter come meet her and her dog before her travels. Your pet meeting their sitter at least once before you go could do a lot to help them build a positive association and avoid destructive, stressed behaviors like destroying furniture and eliminating in the house when you’re gone.
If that all goes well, take the sitter on a tour of your house, and give him or her a rundown of your pet’s routine. If they’re taking notes, that’s a good sign. But leave your own written instructions too.
Make A List and Check it Twice—A Couple Months in Advance
Think ahead! You’re not the only one making holiday travel and festivity plans—everyone is, including your go-to pet people. They might be going out of town themselves, or just busy with festivities and not interested in or available to take on pet sitting gigs. Availability is scarce around the holidays, so don’t wait until the last minute. Decide who you want to hire and try booking two to three months in advance.
If your go-to person is unavailable, think of college students you know who’ll be home for Christmas, family members, trusted friends, and neighbors. Ask friends with pets for recommendations. Call your veterinarian—some techs or kennel hands on their staff may moonlight as pet sitters.
One thing not to do—post on Craigslist or social media looking for a sitter. You don’t want to make it widely known that you’re about to leave your house vacant.
Time for Your Pet’s Close-Up
Pet cameras can be great for giving you peace of mind when your pet is left with a sitter at the holidays—not for spying, but to just occasionally look from afar to see how your pet is doing. Many, like the Furbo, connect to your smartphone and let you see a live feed, plus include a microphone so you can talk to your pet, and toss them treats!
And affordable pet insurance is a great thing to have in place in case anything happens when you’re away from your pet at the holidays. Bivvy pet insurance offers affordable coverage at less than $1 per day. It’s also not a bad idea to give any pet sitter a plan for what to do if your pet gets injured or has a medical episode while you’re away. Give them your vet’s contact information, and you can leave a letter to the vet authorizing the sitter to seek treatment and saying you’ll take responsibility for any costs. And with Bivvy pet insurance, you don’t even have to worry about leaving proof of insurance with the sitter—just have them receive great care, then you’ll be reimbursed for any covered costs later!
Leave some enriching Christmas gifts for your pet, leave them in the hands of a great sitter, and from all of us at Bivvy pet insurance, enjoy your holiday season!