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Pet Sitters for Exotic Pets

Some Options to Consider

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giant African millipede photo

Giant African Millepede

Lianne McLeod
When your pets tend to the exotic side, finding someone to care for them while you are away can be a real challenge. Many of us have friends and family who are comfortable looking after cats and dogs, but they may not be so keen on handling more unusual pets (or their food, depending on the pet!). Many areas have pet sitting services, but these are often geared towards dogs and cats and finding someone knowledgeable about exotic pets can be tricky. So how does the exotic pet owner go about finding someone to look after their treasured companions?

First, plan ahead. Don't wait until a week before you go away to find someone. It would be best to have someone in mind before you are even planning a trip--that way you have options in case you need to get away on short notice.

Taking Your Pet to the Sitter
The kind of pet you have as well as your preferences will also determine if you need someone to come into your home or whether you can take your pet to the sitter. If it is possible to move your pet and its cage, taking your pet to a boarding facility can be an option depending on where you live. As well, your veterinarian may offer short term boarding. Both of these options carry the risk of exposure to animals carrying contagious diseases, so check on their procedures for isolating sick animals as well as general hygiene and handling protocols. Also, keep in mind that your pets might be significantly stressed by moving them to a place where the routines and noises are different from your home. If you have a friend or find someone who can care for the animal in their home, that can also be a good option - there is less chance of exposure to disease and the environment there may be more similar to home.

Sitter Coming into Your Home
If you can find someone you trust to come into your home, your pet can stay in a familiar environment, which might be the best option. It can be difficult to find someone you not only trust enough to care for your pets and their particular needs, but whom you also trust enough to come into your home while you are gone. If you have a variety of exotic pets, finding someone is all that more challenging!

Professional Pet Sitters
A professional pet sitting service offers several advantages if you can find one that deals with exotics. In addition to coming into your home to care for your pets on a daily basis, they will often also do basic "security" measures such as taking in the mail and papers, and rotating lights left on to give your home a lived in look. In addition, a professional pet sitter will be bonded and insured, giving you extra peace of mind. Check your telephone directory or search via organizations such as The National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (US) or Pet Sitters International.

Next: Finding a Sitter and Leaving Detailed Instructions

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