Your Pets Count

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December 2023

Go Away? Leaving Your Dog? Do your Homework on a Pet Sitter!

Thursday, December 20, 2018
posted by Jim Murphy

The holidays are here and you’ve decided to take a long deserved vacation. You don’t want to board your furry friend and have decided to get a pet sitter to come to your home each day and take care of your pet. Pet Sitter International recommends that you do a thorough investigation of the pet sitter you are thinking of hiring. After all it’s your precious pet and personally I wouldn’t enjoy my vacation unless I knew that my pet was very well provided for while I was gone.

  1. Does the pet sitter have the proper business license for your city or state, if required? Rules and regulations vary regarding what is required to legally operate a business. If your city or state requires a business license, any professional pet sitter you use should have a valid business license. While pet sitters care for your pet at your home, some do offer limited in-their-home boarding. If so, ensure that they also have the proper authorization and license to offer this service as well.
  2.  Is the pet sitter insured and bonded? Ask for proof of coverage. PSI members have access to group rates on policies specifically for petsitters and are provided insurance cards.
  3.  Can the pet sitter provide proof of clear criminal history? Remember, the person you choose to hire will have access to your property and your beloved animal companion(s). Ask for third-party credentials that verify the sitter has a history of honesty and integrity. Official verification documents will contain a current date (within one year), a Social Security number trace, county-level court search results and the contact information of a reputable investigator. This documentation can provide the peace of mind you seek when admitting a new pet-care provider to your home.
  4. Does the pet sitter provide client references? PSI recommends that all of its members have a list of references for potential clients to contact. Some pet sitters also include testimonials on their company websites or on their PSI Locator profiles.
  5.  Will the pet sitter use a pet-sitting services agreement or contract? A well-written contract outlines the details associated with each service the sitter will provide. The contract includes all fees along with the expected amount of time that will be spent with your pet(s). This ensures that both you and your sitter have agreed on and understand the level of service being provided in your absence.
  6.  Has the pet sitter completed PSI’s Certificate in Professional Pet Sitting Program and/or has he or she participated in pet-care training, such as pet first aid? Experience in caring for special needs pets or various types of pets is helpful if that is what you need. Pet sitters who have completed PSI’s Certificate in Professional Pet Sitting Program have the resources on hand to care for a wide variety of companion animal species.
  7.  Is the pet sitter a member of a professional and educational association, such as Pet Sitters International? Membership in a professional association such as PSI demonstrates a pet sitter’s commitment to their profession and the industry at large. PSI members have access to the most up-to-date educational resources and business tools to help them provide the best possible service to clients and their pets.

These questions will help you qualify a potential pet sitter. Don’t let just anyone come to your home to take care of your pet. You never know what you’ll find (or what you won’t find) when you get home!

Remember, your pets count!

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