KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Finding people to care for pets while their owners are away can be challenging for many pet parents. It can be difficult to find sitters they can trust or to find in-home boarding services.
Pet Sitters International gave some tips for pet parents looking to find someone who will keep their pets safe. First, they recommended pet owners schedule a meeting, or an "initial consultation," with potential sitters before booking pet-care services.
This meeting gives them a chance to meet in person and see how the sitter interacts with their pets. It also gives pet owners a chance to review the sitter's services and credentials, and to discuss services the sitter provided in the past.
PSI also recommended pet owners ask potential sitters or companies seven specific questions before booking services. Those questions are listed below.
- Does the company have the proper business license/permit, if required by your state/city/province?
- Is the company insured and bonded?
- Can the pet sitter provide proof of a recent background check demonstrating their clear criminal history?
- Will the pet sitter provide client references?
- Does the pet sitter use a pet-sitting services agreement or contract?
- Is the pet sitter a Certified Professional Pet Sitter® and/or what type of training—such as pet first aid—have they had?
- Is the pet sitter a member of a professional organization or educational association such as PSI?
They also said pet owners could find PSI members online and that anyone looking for pet-sitting services should make sure to tell any possible provider about specific medical or behavioral needs that their pet may have.
PSI also said that the states can have different regulations for in-home boarding. These services are different from pet-sitting. With "in-home boarding" services, pet owners take their pets to a provider's home. "Pet sitting" services involve providers caring for a pet inside the owner's own home
Some states require people who offer in-home boarding services to have their homes inspected, get a boarding license or go through other kinds of regulations. PSI said anyone interested in in-home boarding services should check with their state's department of agriculture to learn about their state's regulations.