Do You Have An Emergency Pet Sitter?

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Archer the Emergency Pet Sitter
Do you have an emergency pet sitter for your puppies?

What would you do with your dog if something unexpected came up in your life?

Do you have an emergency pet sitter?

I never thought I’d need an emergency pet sitter, but there I was sitting in the hospital wondering who would take care of my dogs for the next 4-5 days.

Don’t be like Colby.  Be proactive.  Not reactive.  Okay, lets push the rewind button…

2 Weeks Earlier…

Thursday morning at 6:03am my wife woke me up and said “I think my water broke.”

She wasn’t due for another 3 weeks and everything had been going smoothly in her pregnancy so we both thought it might be a false alarm, but to be on the safe side she called the hospital and we were advised to come in for a check up.

At the hospital the nurse saw my wife and at initial observation she too thought it might be a false alarm and said if her water wasn’t broken then we’d be sent home.

Thinking all would be fine and we’d be sent home shortly we waited at the hospital to hear the results from what the nurse called a “Fern Test“.

At 9:22am the nurse informed us that indeed my wife’s water had broken and we’d likely be welcoming a new member to our family later that evening.  EEEEKKK!!!!

Do You Have An Emergency Pet Sitter?

Excited, but unprepared I started gathering my thoughts on what I needed to do.  On the top of to-do list was finding pet sitters for our four dogs.

The very first thing I did was send text messages to all my friends and family members who I new and trusted to watch my dogs.

About a dozen text messages in total.  Lucky for me I have an awesome support network.

Friends and family came through and quickly started working to help me find sitters for my dogs.

  • Linus and Stetson stayed with my best friend and his family for 4 days.  Thank you, Hammer Family!
  • Raven had a 4 day vacation with a long time Guide Dogs of America puppy raiser friend.  Thank you, Wurts Family!
  • Another of our GDA friends helped us watch Bear and took him in for 5 days.  Thank you, New Family!

We truly feel blessed to have such great friends to help us in a pinch.

Now the question is: “Do you have an emergency pet sitter?”

Archer Emergency Pet Sitter
Archer thinks he’s the emergency pet sitter for the puppies.

Find A Pet Sitter(s) Today Just In Case You Have An Emergency!

While I didn’t have a plan for an emergency pet sitter I was lucky that I unknowingly laid the ground work that allowed me to easily find a pet sitter at the  last minute.

If you’re a new dog or puppy owner here are my recommendations for finding a pet sitter in case of an emergency:

Disclaimer: Some of these services we’ve used and some we have not.  Please do your due diligence before using any pet sitting service.

#1. Friends, Family, and Neighbors

This is my emergency pet sitter of choice.

My recommendation for finding an emergency pet sitter this way?

Find out who the dog lovers are in your family then get them to watch your dog for a day or two.

Let your dog(s) and friend/family/neighbor get used to each other.

If you’re ever in a pinch you have a pet sitter who has already bonded with your dog.

#2. Search The Yellow Pages (I mean the web…)

Are the yellow pages still a thing?

Or do we Google everything nowadays? Anyhow. Try doing a local search (Yellow Pages, Google…Whatever) and see if there are any pet sitters in your area.

Doing a local search in my area not only brings up several local pet sitting and dog walking businesses, but also a link to the Yelp (another great site to search for pet sitters) page for the 10 best dog boarding/pet sitting in Orange County.

My recommendation for finding an emergency pet sitter this way?

Make contact with some of the potential pet sitters you found through your search.

Visit their facilities (or their home) and see if they are a suitable match for your dogs needs.

Find out if you can contact them 24/7 in case of an emergency (probably not, but it’s worth asking).

#3. Pet Sitting Websites

Two of the big sites that my cousin has used (and gave me positive reviews) are Rover.com and DogVacay.com (Rover recently bough DogVacay).

I’ve browsed both sites and basically it’s a marketplace where pet owners can browse thousands of pet sitter profiles through the site’s search tool.

My recommendation for finding an emergency pet sitter this way?

Start searching through the thousands of profiles and contact potential pet sitters for your dog.

Maybe do a few short test runs with the best pet sitter candidates.

Hopefully you can find a few good pet sitters so if you’re ever in a pinch you already have someone on speed dial.

#4. Pet Hotels

I’ve never used one, but I’ve seen the PetSmart Hotels.

The hotels I saw looked exactly like a hotel room, but built for dogs.

My recommendation for finding an emergency pet sitter this way?

Booking a room at a Pet Hotel might require more planning then you get when in an emergency.

Then again if there are vacant rooms why wouldn’t they board your dog?

It doesn’t hurt to ask. Visit your local PetSmart Hotel (if you have one nearby) and ask them some questions, check out the rooms, and see if they’d take a dog in an emergency.

#5. Boarding Facilities

My parents always boarded their dog Ralphie at the veterinarians office.

My boss used to do the same.

As a guide dog puppy raiser I had the luxury of boarding my guide dog puppies at the school free of charge.

However, I could not board my “pet” dogs at the school 🙁

My recommendation for finding an emergency pet sitter this way?

Talk to your veterinarian or dog trainer.

Vet offices will often board dogs.

The dog training facility we took Archer to boards dogs during the day or overnight.

See what is available to you through your already established contacts like your vet and trainer.

They’ve treated or trained your dog so in an emergency your dog will at least have some familiarity with his pet sitter.

What Questions Should You Ask A Pet Sitter?

Guess what?

Our good friend Lindsay over at ThatMutt.com happens to be an expert on pet sitting and dog walking.

She put together a great post on some questions you can ask a pet sitter.  Here’s a little sample of her post:

  1. What do your rates include?
  2. What is not included?
  3. Will you provide references?
  4. What happens if my pet gets sick?

Check out ThatMutt.com to see the other 8 questions you should ask a pet sitter.

That’s all folks!

Remember don’t be like Colby.

Be proactive when finding a pet sitter.

Not reactive.

If you have any other tips for finding an emergency pet sitter or if you’ve used any of these services please tell us about your experiences in the comment section below.

Do You Have An Emergency Pet Sitter?
Do You Have An Emergency Pet Sitter?

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11 Comments

  1. You give me a lot of ideas on this blog post. Thank you for sharing. BTW, Congratulations on your new “buddy”.

  2. Congradulations! Wishing you and your newborn all the best.

    I have the luck to be able to bring my JRT with me to work so I don’t have to think about doggy day care, but when in a pinch I can always relly on my friends and family. They adore her, especially my parents. Nevertheless, I agree that you should check out all possible options in your area so that you know in advance what to do if the need arises.

    1. I was in the same boat, but one big issue in our situation was it wasn’t ideal to have our parents watch the dogs since they wanted to support us at the hospital. Luckily we had other friends that were able to help out in this situation. It’s tough to be proactive, but try to think of scenarios where your primary pet sitters cannot watch your dogs and then think of what the next best alternative would be.

  3. Congrats on the new “puppy” in the family!

    This definitely gives me something to think about! My sis & her hubby have always traded dog-sitting with us – and they’ve taken Rita in emergency situations before. BUT… darn them! They just recently bought a second home 2 states away and they spend about 1/2 the year there – so I really do need to come up with a back up plan in case something would happen while they’re not here! I do know a gal who works as a dog trainer/dog sitter, so I could always call her – but I probably need one other backup in case she would be booked up! Thanks for the helpful post.

    1. Thank you! I thought I was being forward by starting the process of getting pet sitters 4 weeks out. I remember talking to one of my friends asking if she could watch Raven from April 8th to the 15th (Emma was due on the 11th). A few days later (March 23rd) we were in the hospital, I was rushing around to find pet sitters, and out came Emma late that evening! It’s always good to be proactive, but I feel like I rarely am…at least I’m lucky to have good friends 🙂

  4. First, congratulations on the newest member of your family. How exciting for all of you!

    Luckily, I have family close and we all take turns watching each other’s dogs when needed. We did have to put Haley in our vet’s kennel once and it wasn’t a good experience. I would hate to have to do that again, so it’s good to have a plan and people ready to help.

    It’s so important to find someone or a place you really trust, so these are great tips that will bring peace of mind!

    1. Thank you, Elaine! Emma and mom are doing great! Linus and Raven are very curious about her and worry when she’s crying, but Stetson and Bear don’t really care too much.

      I’m lucky to have been a part of a community of guide dog puppy raisers for the past 10 years. It really gives me a lot of options not to mention my other friends and family members. My biggest concern is always Linus. He was rescued from the shelter and has separation anxiety. We only have a couple different places that he’s comfortable staying and I think it helps when he stays with Stetson.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Great point! I feel like the majority of people (myself included) don’t ever think about needing an emergency pet sitter till and emergency comes up…and then panic ensues. I will be sure to get something/someone lined up for my dog.

    1. Yep! Unfortunately, I and probably most other people are usually reactive to situations. After researching and writing this blog post I think it’s a good idea for me to do some foot work and contact people on Rover, DogVacay, Petsmart Hotels, etc. just so I know what is available in case we ever have need of another emergency pet sitter.

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