PRNewswire.com - Going on vacation and unable to take your dog or cat with you? Pet sitters can be a saving grace! Many people, however, struggle to find someone they trust to care for their four-legged friends. In honor of Professional Pet Sitters Week, petMD.com provides the following ten tips for finding a qualified and professional pet sitter.
1) Ask Your Veterinarian: Any pet sitter worth their salt will have a support network. What better place to get a recommendation than your veterinarian? Especially for older and special needs pets, a pet sitter who has an established professional relationship with your pet's doctor will provide you with peace of mind should there be a medical emergency.
2) Word of Mouth: Let's face it, anyone can look good on paper and even display impressive credentials. However a qualified pet sitter will come recommended by either a fellow pet parent or a trusted pet trainer.
3) Compile a Questionnaire: The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has a comprehensive list of qualifications you can use to screen potential pet sitters.
4) Ask for References: A professional pet sitter will have a list of both regular clients and pet care services that would be willing to vouch for their professionalism. When provided with references to speak with, be sure to ask questions that cater specifically to your expectations and your pet's needs.
5) Select a Certified Pet Sitter: As an alternative to personal recommendations, the HSUS suggests contacting two national agencies dedicated to training and certifying pet sitters: The National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS), or Pet Sitters International (PSI).
6) Find a Pet Sitter Affiliated with a Reputable Boarding Facility: Although we are focusing on finding qualified individuals, an established pet sitter will be able to provide a back-up housing plan should they suddenly be rendered unable to care for your dog or cat. A reputable boarding facility will have equally stringent standards for working with qualified pet sitters.
7) Double-check the Contract: The prospective pet sitter will have complete access to your home and personal belongings, as well as being entrusted to care for your dog or cat. Take special care when studying the contract to ensure that all the discussed and agreed-upon services have been included.
8) Let Your Pet Give Them a Try-out: Even after you've selected a potential pet sitter who has met all of your criteria, there are equally important members of your family who have yet to approve them – your pets! A qualified pet sitter should visit your home so you can watch them interact with your pet. What better way to feel at ease than knowing your pets approve of your choice!
9) Ask About Emergency Plans: Accidents and mishaps happen, and you'll want to select a person who is experienced and resourceful enough to protect your pet as well as you would.
10) Level of Service: Pet sitting is as varied as your needs may be. Some services may include grooming along with live-in care, while others may offer play time, outdoor exercise, and training. Some pet sitters may also combine their services with nutritional regimens such as weight loss. Once you and your pet have determined which is the best level of care, a bit of research will have you finding the best fit for your pet care needs in no time!
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