February marked the annual observance of Responsible Pet Owners Month, and Pet Sitters International (PSI), the world’s largest educational association for professional pet sitters, reminded pet owners to do their due diligence when selecting pet-care providers. With the influx of pet-care directory sites popping up in the last few years and news stories touting pet sitting as an easy way to earn extra cash, more and more people are deciding to cash in on the growing need for pet care. News stories of tragedies caused by hobbyists calling themselves “pet sitters” have also become more common.
“Just because you’ve seen a pet sitter in an online directory — or even on a nationally publicized site — doesn’t ensure they are a legitimate, qualified pet-sitting business,” explains PSI President Patti J. Moran. “Anyone can post a profile advertising pet-sitting services, so it’s important for pet owners to take a closer look to ensure they are hiring a ‘real pet sitter’ to care for their pets.”
Pet owners should schedule an initial consultation with a potential pet sitter prior to booking services, PSI advises.
PSI encourages pet owners to ask seven important questions when interviewing a potential pet sitter:
- Does the pet sitter have the proper business license for your city or state, if required?
- Is the pet sitter insured and bonded?
- Can the pet sitter provide proof of clear criminal history?
- Does the pet sitter provide client references?
- Will the pet sitter use a pet-sitting services agreement or contract?
- Is the pet sitter a Certified Professional Pet Sitter™ and/or has he or she participated in other pet-care training, such as pet first aid?
- Is the pet sitter a member of a professional and educational association, such as Pet Sitters International?