Pet Sitters: Questions to Ask Before You Go

Posted on September 9, 2007 under Dog Health, Pet Health & Safety, Pet Industry News

Posted by Shannon Steffen on 8/9/2007 in Lifestyle

You want to leave on vacation, but what about Duke and Fluffy? For some, boarding kennels are a perfect solution for their pets to receive the care they need, but for others, they want their pet to receive more personalized care during their absence. For them, there is no better option than a pet sitter. Pet sitters come in two forms: the personal pet sitter and the professional pet sitter.

Personal Pet Sitters

Personal pet sitters are family, friends, and neighbors of the pet owner. When the owner goes out of town, these individuals come over to the house and provide the basic necessities for the pets in the household. This may include feedings, walks, play time, or simple clean up.

Some benefits of hiring personal pet sitters:

Pets are already familiar with family, friend, or neighbor.
The pets remain in their safe and secure environment. All sights, smells, and sounds are familiar.
Customary diets are maintained.
Exercise routine is not disrupted.
Medical treatments are easily given as the person is already well known.
The pets are not exposed to illnesses or parasites from other pets in other facilities.
There is no traveling in a car or crate required.
The pets receive personalized love and support while you are away from someone they already trust.
When choosing someone you know to provide personalized care for your pets, you will want to choose someone that is:

Comfortable with your pets
Friendly and familiar to your pets
Available to provide all the care your pets’ need
Prepared for the responsibility of taking care of your pets
Able to drive should emergency veterinary care be needed
Available to spend quality time with your pet
Some friends or family members may be willing to stay in your house while you are away. This provides the pet with a more personalized routine and adds a sense of security. Ask if they are comfortable with an in-house type of arrangement prior to outlining an “as needed” care routine.

When using a personal pet sitter, the owner should provide the following before leaving the pet:

Pet’s history and habits
List of immunizations, vaccines, and any recent medical conditions and medication
Schedule of routine for pet; including eating, sleeping, walks, and playing
Emergency contact information, include veterinarian information and business hours, as well as where you will be staying with phone numbers
Collar with identification tags to be worn by the pet while away
List of any rooms that are off limits to the pet
Money for any emergency care needed
Professional Pet Sitters

There are a number of benefits to hiring a professional pet sitter. When you are away, the pet sitter will visit your home to feed, care for and play with your pet. Since they will have a responsibility for both your home and your pet, you should seriously consider both the pros and cons of having someone in your home.

Before hiring a professional pet sitter, make sure time is allowed for a formal interview. Prepare questions ahead of time for a smooth and thorough. Review the services and fees closely, as each professional pet sitter varies.

A bonded pet sitter will have commercial liability insurance coverage and should be willing to provide both personal and professional references. Check the references and other documents prior to hiring the pet sitter and insist on an introduction time between your pet and the sitter to ensure that the person gets along with your pet.

Some benefits of hiring professional pet sitters:

The pet remains in his or its safe and secure environment. All sights, smells, and sounds are familiar, creating less stress on the pet.
Customary diets are maintained.
Exercise routine is not disrupted.
Medical treatments are easily given.
The pet is not exposed to illnesses or parasites from other pets.
There is no traveling in a car or crate required.
The pet receives personalized love and support while you are away.
Owners do not have to impose on a friend, family member or neighbor.
The home is made more secure by crime deterrent measures provided by most professional pet caregivers.
When using a professional pet sitter, the owner should provide the following before leaving the pet:

Pet’s history and habits
List of immunizations, vaccines, and any recent medical conditions
A schedule of routine for pet that includes eating, sleeping, walks, and playing
Emergency contact information. Include veterinarian information and business hours, as well as where you will be staying with phone numbers
Collar with identification tags to be worn by the pet while away
List of any rooms that are off-limits to the pet
If you have decided that a professional pet sitter is best for your pet, the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS) can help. NAPPS is a non-profit membership organization originally founded in 1989, to promote excellence among pet sitters and to serve as a voice for the expanding industry.

Professional Pet Sitters are easy to locate by zip code on their website at petsitters.org. Additionally, they provide an 800 number on their website for pet owners to contact them with any questions or concerns they may have about pet sitting.

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