Picking a Professional Pet Sitter

10-Point Pet Care Checklist Promotes Peace-of-Mind

Paul Mann, founder the CEO of Fetch! Pet Care (www.FetchPetCare.com.), the nation’s largest and most trusted franchisor for professional pet sitting, dog walking, and pet fitness/exercise services, offers tips when selecting the person caring for your pet while you areaway.

With Memorial Day weekend on fast approach, throngs of vacation-bound pet owners will opt for a professional pet sitter or dog walker rather than a kennel, boarding or daycare facility when making plans for their four-legged family members. This option allows pets and their owners to enjoy the many benefits of at-home pet care. Some of the benefits may include avoiding serious psychological and physical health concerns associated with kenneling and boarding, including emotional distress, kennel cough, Parvo disease and canine influenza virus.

But all pet sitters are not created equal. Anyone can buy ad space in the paper, start a social media page, or advertise on the web. While the majority of people have a good pet heart, there are always petnappers and others who have alternate motives in mind. Some background information is always good, and a check with your vet is a great place to start.

Many people desire to hire an at-home, “almost overnight” pet sitter. This arrangement allows their animals to maintain normal activities, be nurtured in familiar surroundings, maintain a daily physical fitness routine, It avoids both physical and emotional ailments. Here’s a Top 10 “must have’s” checklist for selecting a professional pet sitting service:

1. Locate a pet sitter in your area using a reputable source;

2. Diligently check all of the pet sitter’s references–at least three should be voluntarily provided—and ensure you can find positive online reviews;

3. Confirm that your sitter has undergone a criminal background check and has received proper training;

4. Ensure the sitter offers a free in-home consultation and pre-interview the sitter with your pet(s) present to observe interactions and establish a “comfort level” for both you and the pet(s);

5. Clearly state how you would like the sitter to use his/her visit time in terms of walking, playing, exercising, feeding, cleaning, etc.;

6. Verify that the sitter can accommodate your pet’s daily feeding, walking and exercise schedule as well as your desired vacation schedule, even during the busiest holidays;

7. Ensure the company offers 7-day-per-week telephone and email availability;

8. Provide medical and behavioral history about your pet(s) as well as veterinary and other emergency contact information, and gather all necessary supplies, including food, vitamins, and treats in one central location;

9. Ensure the company has “backup” measures in place should your primary pet sitter have an emergency that prevents them from performing your assignment;

10. Ensure the pet sitter is fully bonded and insured and offers a satisfaction guarantee.

The importance of finding reliable, at-home service providers has spawned the need for firm guidelines on selecting the right professional. If a pet owner takes just a few relatively simple criteria into account before entrusting Fido or Felix to another, they can enjoy peace of mind that their pet, and their home, will be well cared for. A touch of due diligence is key to ensure owners find a highly trained, reliable and well-screened animal caretaker to best meet each pets’ unique needs, and the owners’ expectations.

Selecting just the right sitter to care of both a pet and a home is not a decision to be taken lightly. And, with the availability of professional caretakers, pet owners no longer need to burden or impose on family members or friends, or worry that their beloved pet will be relegated to kennel boarding. There are many highly trained, reliable and well-screened sitters ensuring pets receive the love, attention and skilled treatment expected of a field professional, and that a client’s home remains safe and secure while they are away. That kind of peace of mind is priceless.