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How to Choose the Perfect Pet Sitter

According to Gallup’s annual Lifestyle Poll, six in 10 Americans own some type of pet. We love our pets, and we love to give them the best life possible. Many of us struggle with the idea of leaving our furry family members when we want to go on a vacation or business trip. Who’s going to take care of our pet while we’re away?

We can ask a family member or neighbor to take our pet in while we’re gone, but not only does that create an imposition and inconvenience to everyone involved, it can also cause a lot of stress to our pet to be transported to a new place with unusual smells and routines. And that doesn’t even measure the stress your pet can feel when being taken to a commercial boarding kennel!

Many people don’t know that they have another option. A professional pet sitter can be the answer you’ve been looking for. We provide pet care services in YOUR home, so your pet can stay at home where they are comfortable and content. When choosing a pet sitter, it’s important to understand the difference between a professional and a “hobby” sitter. After all, you’re entrusting the health and well-being of your pet, as well as the security of your home, to someone else. You want to ensure you’re making the best possible choice for you and your pet.

Professional Affiliations

Something to look for when evaluating a pet sitter is whether or not they belong to one of the professional service organizations for pet sitters. Pet Sitters International (PSI), and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS) are two of the most prominent and respected trade organizations created to educate, support and guide professional pet sitters. These organizations have very high standards of ethical practices that all members agree to adhere to. Be sure to ask your potential pet sitter which organization they belong to.

Certifications and Training

At first glance, many people think that pet sitting is something that any child or teenager can do. “What’s so hard about letting a dog out to potty or playing ‘chase the feather’ with a cat?” or “My 10-year-old can easily feed and walk your dog.”  Sure, when everything goes exactly as planned, pet sitting or dog walking can be relaxing and stress-free. But what about those times when things don’t go as planned? What about the time when the garage door won’t close, when the front door key gets stuck in the lock, or you walk into a home and hear water running and gushing down through the ceiling into the basement? What about the time when you walk in and discover diarrhea spread over most of the living room carpet and a dehydrated and weak dog laying at your feet? These situations aren’t fun to think about, but they can and do happen. This is when you need a professional who has the experience, training and maturity to handle a myriad of situations with quick and intelligent actions.

Pet Sitters International provides numerous educational opportunities for their members. One of the most comprehensive training options is their Certification for Professional Pet Sitters (CPPS). This is a knowledge-based assessment designed to demonstrate that a pet sitter has the skills and knowledge to succeed and excel as a professional pet sitter.

Another area of training that can be important for a pet sitter to possess is Pet First Aid and CPR. Several organizations offer this type of training, which is similar to first aid and CPR for humans, and just as comprehensive in scope. Certification is earned through several hours of intensive training and hands-on testing.

When you’re evaluating a pet sitter, be sure to ask about any additional training or certifications that they might have. Remember, you’re leaving this person in charge of your pet and home and you want to know that they’re able to handle any unexpected situation or emergency that may arise.

Business Website

In additional to membership in a professional organization, certifications and training, in today’s world a professionally-run business is represented in part by a website or some other internet presence. This indicates that they take their business seriously and are in it for the long haul. A website is also an indication of that business’s commitment to excellent customer service – as the website is where a potential or current client can easily get information and answers to most commonly asked questions.

Websites come in all flavors and designs, but the most important aspect to any website is ease of use, and clear, easy to understand information. Some things to look for in a website are:

  • An introduction to who runs the business in the form of an “About” page.
  • A description of the business’s services and rates.
  • Easy to find contact information – this should include a physical address, a telephone number, and an email address. Bonus points for an easy-to-use contact form that you can fill out and automatically send to the business.

Peace of Mind

One of the most important benefits of hiring the right professional pet sitter is something that can’t be measured. Leaving your pets and home in the care of someone else doesn’t have to be stressful if you’ve chosen your care provider with the above points in mind. Peace of mind will be invaluable to you when you’re enjoying that fantastic vacation or important business trip. You will be happy knowing they’re being cared for by a professional, loving and compassionate sitter, and your pets will be thrilled to have their very own nanny providing love, comfort and companionship to them in their own home.

This article is brought to you by Squeaky Toy Pet Services, LLC, your full-service pet sitting and dog walking provider. Squeaky Toy Pet Services offers service to Blue Springs, Lee’s Summit, Grain Valley, Lone Jack, Missouri, and the surrounding eastern Jackson County areas. Visit our website  or call us at 816-846-0611 to learn how we can provide professional, loving care for your pet!


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