(NEWS CENTER) - A lot of people take time off and travel for the holidays to visit family and friends.

But what happens if you can't take your pets along?In our Angie's List report this week... The benefits of hiring a pet sitter.

For Peter and Erin Rusthoven, hiring a pet sitter to come into their home and check on their three dogs daily gives them peace of mind that their pets are being well-cared for while they are away.

Pet Sitter Becki Bradford says: "We do a quick walk around outside the house. We make sure gates are closed if we have yard play scheduled with the dogs. We check and make sure windows and doors look secure. Part of our training program is teaching our staff what to look for that something might be out of place."

Angie Hicks says: "In a recent Angie's List poll 80 percent of the respondents have pets in their family and it can be a big decision who is going to care for your pet when you are traveling. Are you going to board your pet or have a pet sitter? The nice thing about a pet sitter is that your pet gets to stay in their own environment. Also, you get someone who is checking in on your house for security reasons and in case something goes wrong like a busted pipe."

Most professional sitters charge between $15 and $50 per visit, depending on the distance traveled, length of the visit, and duties required.

Visits can range from as little as 20 or 30 minutes to staying in the house overnight.

Angie Hicks says: "When hiring a pet sitter, first and foremost you want to know how they get along with your pet. Have them over to your home. Watch them interact with your pet and see how they do. Also, because they are going to be in your home and you're trusting your pet with them, you want to make sure they are reputable so be sure you are interviewing the person that is going to be taking care of your pet and also be sure they are insured and bonded.:"

Other important steps to take when hiring a pet sitter:

--Ask about training and experience

--Check referrals and references.

--And make sure they know how to reach you while you're away in case of an emergency.

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