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Choosing a pet sitter

You need to feel happy with the company you have chosen. Can references be provided from previous clients? Is the company fully insured? How do they keep track of all their clients to make sure no-one has forgotten you? You should feel comfortable being able to answer these sorts of questions.

When choosing a pet sitting service, consider what sort of service is important to you. Feeding and playing with cats and smaller pets, as well as walking for dogs, are part of the standard service for any pet sitting business. But are extras included such as poop scooping your garden, security checking your home, bringing in your mail, putting out your bins and watering your plants?

Do you get to meet the carer beforehand? Are the carers all thoroughly reference and police checked? You need to feel comfortable with your carer and see how they interact with your pets. You should be confident that your carer is trustworthy, reliable and a true animal lover.

Back up carers should always be available in the unexpected case of your carer falling ill or being otherwise incapacitated.

Does the company provide a pet tagging system, so if your pet escapes while you're away someone can act on your behalf when he or she is found?

Dog owners should also consider whether they want their dog individually walked. Some businesses walk dogs off the lead in large groups while others will only walk one client's dogs at a time.

If you are happy with your choice of pet sitting service, next time it will just take a phone call to organise your pet care - one less thing to worry about while you prepare for your trip!