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Tip of the month

Summer 2017 | Borrowed From Pet Sitters International
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Don’t entrust your pets’ care to pet lovers, advises Pet Sitters International

As the busy vacation season approaches, the association encourages pet owners to do their research and hire not just a “pet lover,” but a pet lover who is also a true pet-care professional for their pet-care needs.

KING, N.C. (May 17, 2017) — According to a AAA survey, this could be a busy year for travel, with nearly one-third of American adults saying they are more likely to take a vacation in 2017 compared to 2016. With 68 percent of U.S. households owning a pet, many of these travelers’ to-do lists will include searching for someone to watch the pets while they’re away.

Pet Sitters International (PSI), the world’s largest educational association for professional pet sitters, encourages pet owners to only use the services of professional pet sitters for their pet-care needs this summer and throughout the year.

“With so many new websites and apps advertising pet sitters and dog walkers, it can be difficult for pet owners to know who they can trust,” explained PSI Vice-President Beth Stultz. “It’s important that pet owners understand that there are professional pet-sitting and dog-walking businesses that offer peace of mind that other pet-care options cannot.”

PSI encourages pet owners to do their due diligence when selecting pet-care providers. News stories of tragedies caused by pet lovers looking to earn extra cash and calling themselves “pet sitters” have become more common as the number of pet-care directory sites has grown and articles have touted pet sitting as an easy side job. While these pet lovers are likely well-intentioned, they often lack the experience, education and insurance coverage needed should a pet emergency or other unfortunate situation occur.

“Just because someone is a pet lover and has a profile on an online directory—or even on a nationally-publicized site—doesn’t ensure he or she is a qualified pet sitter operating a legitimate business,” added Stultz. “In today’s sharing economy anyone can offer their services online, so it’s important for pet owners to take a closer look to ensure they are hiring not just a pet lover, but a pet lover who is also a true pet-care professional.”

PSI encourages pet owners to ask any potential pet sitter seven important questions:

  1. Does the pet sitter have the proper business license for your city or state, if required?
  2. Is the pet sitter insured and bonded?
  3. Can the pet sitter provide proof of clear criminal history?
  4. Does the pet sitter provide client references?
  5. Will the pet sitter use a pet-sitting services agreement or contract?
  6. Is the pet sitter a Certified Professional Pet Sitter (CPPS™) and/or has he or she participated in other pet-care training, such as pet first aid?
  7. Is the pet sitter a member of a professional and educational association, such as Pet Sitters International?

PSI advises pet owners to schedule an initial consultation with a potential pet sitter prior to booking services and offers a free Pet Sitter Interview checklist on its website.

Because professional pet sitters come to clients’ homes, pets’ routines are uninterrupted, exposure to illness is minimized, and they don’t experience the stress of a new environment. Pet owners have peace-of-mind that their pets are well cared for while they are away.

“Finding a pet sitter you trust allows you to truly enjoy your vacation,” Stultz said.

PSI provides this final piece of advice: Book early.

PSI’s 2016 Pet Sitter of the Year Carrie Feinberg, owner of Safe Haven Advocate Pet Care & Photography in Elgin, Illinois, said: "I am always recommending that clients schedule as far in advance as possible due to our high demand during not only the summer months and holidays, but also in September and October."

Feinberg said her summer schedule fills up quickly with pet-sitting requests from vacationers and weekend travelers, as well as from a spike in wedding-accommodation inquiries.

See previous pet health and safety tips by clicking here.