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Pet Sitters International advises using a professional to keep pets safe this vacation season
The association encourages pet owners to start contacting professional pet sitters now for their spring and summer pet-care needs.
PSI, the world's largest educational association for professional pet sitters, encourages pet owners to engage the services of professional pet sitters.
"With the growth of the pet-sitting industry, pet owners are able to leave their pets at home when they travel and do not have to rely on untrained or unwilling friends, family members or neighbors for their care," explained PSI President Patti Moran.
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.
But pet owners should begin the search for pet care as soon as possible. Finding the right pet sitter for your family takes time—time for phone interviews, an in-home meeting and a check of references. You also want to ensure that your preferred pet sitter doesn't get booked up before you can secure his or her services.
Cathy Vaughan, PSI's 2018 Pet Sitter of the Year™ and owner of Cathy's Critter Care in Schertz, Texas, said: "There are a limited number of visits a professional pet sitter can provide in any given day. Schedules book fast; especially during peak times like spring and summer!"
PSI offers the following tips for selecting a pet sitter:
Hire a professional pet sitter only. 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-sitting and dog-walking apps 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 posts a profile on an app—or even on a nationally-publicized site—doesn't ensure he or she is a qualified pet sitter operating a legitimate business," said PSI Vice-President Beth 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."
Schedule an in-person meeting with any potential pet sitter. An initial meeting, often called a "meet and greet" or an "initial consultation,"
Moran advised, "Just as some people are 'dog people' and others are 'cat' or 'bird' people, there's no 'one size fits all' when it comes to finding the right pet sitter to meet the specific needs of you and your pet."
Ask the right questions when interviewing a potential pet sitter. Pet owners can download a free pet-sitter interview checklist (https://www.petsit.com/
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's site also offers a free ZIP/postal code search for U.S. and Canadian pet sitters, as well as an international pet sitter search, at www.petsit.com/
"Finding a pet sitter you trust allows you to truly enjoy your vacation," added Moran.
To learn about PSI or becoming a professional pet sitter, visit www.petsit.com.
About Pet Sitters International
Founded in 1994 by Patti J. Moran, author of Pet Sitting for Profit, Pet Sitters International (PSI) is the world's largest educational association for professional pet sitters, with member pet-sitting businesses in the United States, Canada and more than 20 other countries. PSI members have access to the widest array of business services and educational resources available in the professional pet-sitting industry. PSI's Pet Sitter Locator is the largest online directory of professional pet sitters, and pet owners can visit petsit.com/locate to find local professional pet sitters.
Pet Sitters International