The roots of professional pet sitting can be traced back to the mid-1980s. In 1983, a North Carolina woman named Patti Moran started taking care of pets in their area for profit. Soon, her example was followed by other men and women across the USA.
Since the establishment of Pet Sitters International (PSI) in 1994, the pet sitting business in the USA has become better regulated. Licensed pet sitters charge by the hour, by walk, or by visit.
Things to Keep in Mind When Hiring a Pet Sitter
1. Make Sure to Hire a Certified Pet Sitter
Every professional pet sitter should take PSI’s CPPS-Certified Professional Pet Sitter® Exam. The certificate that they obtain upon passing it shows that they have the practical skills to take care of a variety of pets safely and responsibly.
A licensed pet sitter has taken the commitment to strictly adhere to PSI’s Recommended Quality Standards and Code of Conduct & Ethics. Therefore, you should first ask the pet sitting agency in your area if all of their pet sitters are duly licensed.
2. Clean Record
If you hire a licensed pet sitter from a reputable agency, you can rest assured that they will have a clean record. However, if you are planning to ask a local to take care of your pet while you are away, you must perform a simple online background check on them. This is a crucial step in the hiring process because you are letting this person into your home. If you see anything suspicious, you’d better find a pet hotel.
3. Face-to-Face Interview
Suppose you had a large dog and got a pet sitter on your doorstep who had been sent by a licensed pet sitting association.
Even so, you should thoroughly interview the candidate to make sure he or she has enough experience taking care of large dogs and with your dog’s breed, in particular. If you notice hesitation in their voice or if you get some evasive answers to your questions, do not hesitate to send the candidate off and ask for a more experienced one.
4. Emergency Care Plan
One thing you should definitely look for in a pet sitter is their emergency care plan. During the interview, you should inquire if they know what to do and who to call if your dog suddenly runs away in the park or if your cat climbs to the top of your neighbor’s tree.
An experienced pet sitter also knows essential first-aid techniques in case the pet in their care gets bitten by another animal or hit by a reversing car.
5. Check if They Can Handle Difficult Pets
During your first conversation with the candidate, you should try to understand if they have the patience and skills to handle difficult pets. Other than fish, pets often act strangely if left alone or with an unfamiliar person. If your cat or dog has a tough character, you should warn the potential pet sitter in advance. If you notice that this information makes them nervous, perhaps you should continue your search.
6. A Top-Notch Pet Sitter is a Good Listener
If you notice they aren’t listening to you during the first talk or get easily distracted, this should be a red flag. You just can’t be sure such a person would feed your pet on time or adhere to its nutrition plan.
Top-rated pet sitters are excellent listeners are show exceptional attention to detail. They take notes while speaking with the pet owner and write down all of their instructions and requirements.
Professional pet sitters have extensive knowledge of pet foods and know how much food to give your pet per meal. They can quickly tell when a cat or a dog is hungry and when it needs attention, not food.
The most important thing is to choose a professional pet sitter with all of the necessary licenses and insurance. They may charge more than the neighbors’ boy, but you can rest assured your beloved pet is in safe and experienced hands while you are away on business or vacation.