The summer holidays are upon us and many are heading off for a week or two.
Choosing who to leave your hamster with when you go away can be a tricky decision.
You may have friends or family who can take care of your small furry. If you are exploring a hamster sitter, here are some suggestions of what to look at.
- Trust: The most important thing is do you trust them with your hamster? The other nine things in this list are aspects that feed into whether you trust them, but sometimes you just have a gut feeling and ‘click’ with a pet sitter. When that happens, don’t let them go!
- Insured and DBS: Check a pet sitter has appropriate insurance and has a DBS check. This is especially important if you are giving them access to your home. If they are home boarding, do they have an Animal Activity Licence?
- Professional: Some pet sitters do this alongside another job while others do it as their main job. You may find someone whose primary job is not petsitting can be less flexible with timings or dates.
- Love of animals: Does the pet sitter love animals? Are they mainly pet sitting to raise cash? I have seen a pet sitter whose motivation was the latter (as they stated in their blog! Thoroughly reading the website is a useful way of gathering information about a potential pet sitter)
- Experience: What is their experience with hamsters? Are they comfortable handling them? Experience is most important when your hamster has additional care needs, for example nervousness or an ongoing health problem or requiring medication.
- Reviews: What do the reviews and testimonials say? You can usually find these on their website or on their social media. How pet sitters respond to less positive reviews is useful information.
- Sign Written Van: If you are arranging for the pet sitter to visit your hamster in your own home, check if their van is branded with their business name. It may look professional but having a clearly marked pet sitter van turn up can advertise an empty home.
- Services: Think about what you want from a pet sitter. Do you want your hamster to go to the sitter’s home or do you want the sitter to visit your hamster in your home? If your hamster is going to them, do they provide food/cage/substrate? Check with the pet sitter that they offer the service you want.
- Price: Cheapest isn’t always best with pet sitters! Look at several local providers to get a feel for cost in your local area.
- Communication: How will the sitter pass on information to you about your hamster while you are away? Can they send you messages if you want this? If so, how often? Will they keep records of care given? How much time out of a visit does this take?
I’m lucky to have worked with the same reliable and professional pet sitting team for the past 10 years for hamster visits. Even so, I still leave my procedures folder with all the information on what to do in different situations. I also leave a list of the hamsters so they know who is who, and any particular care requirements they have. They aren’t taking on new clients right now or I’d tell you who they are!