Can You Watch Spot?


For pet owners, it’s great having a friend or relative watch Fluffy or Scamp while you’re on vacation. But extra consideration is in order. This setup may be cheaper than hiring a pet sitter, but you can’t put a price on a good — or strained — relationship.
Lizzie Post, spokeswoman for The Emily Post Institute (, brings personal experience to the topic: This year she asked a friend to pet-sit her border collie mix, Benny, and her cats, Taco and Denim.

Where the pets will be cared for is key, she said. If you’re expecting a friend to drive out of the way once or twice a day to your home, consider covering the cost of fuel. If you’ll leave a pet at their house, you need to weigh other factors.

In either case, both parties should scrutinize the animal’s personality and behavior. Does Muffin have accidents during thunderstorms? Does Daisy chew shoes? Will Hodgepodge behave differently at a sitter’s house versus his home if certain conditions are not met?

“It’s important to talk not only about your animals’ routines, but also about the naughty things they do,” Post said. “Be honest and upfront about needs and issues your pet may have, so your friend or family member can determine if they will be comfortable with it.

“You have to know your pet,” Post said. “If it has a lot of quirks, you do not want to leave it with a novice pet person.”

For that reason, hiring a professional pet sitter may offer peace of mind.