Finding a pet sitter can be stressful. After all, who can you trust? With all the horror stories in the media about “pet sitters” stealing, and losing pets or the kid next door throwing a party. There was one story that was all over social media in the news in May. Someone hired a “pet sitter” through a popular pet sitting app where pet owners can log on and instantly hire a sitter. The pet owner returned home from vacation to find her house covered in urine, feces, blood and broken wine bottles. The owner discovered that this “pet sitter” who was contracting with the well-known app had a five-page police report. Pet owners read these stories and think they can’t trust someone to care for their pets. Hiring a professional is essential. So how do you know if someone is a professional?

What is a professional?

Webster’s dictionary defines a professional as characterized by or conforming to the technical or ethical standards of a profession. Professional pet sitters/dog walkers are not the kid next door, a family member or someone you find on an app. Professional pet sitters/dog walkers own their own business or work for an established company. We hold ourselves to high standards after all we are caring for your family members.

What should I look for when hiring someone to care for my pets?

There are seven questions you should ask when hiring a professional pet sitter.

  1. Does the pet sitter have the proper business license for your city/state or county?

Not all counties require a business license for pet sitters since most do not have a public office. Look into your city and states requirements.

  1. Are they bonded and insured?

Just like when you hire a contractor to do work on your home. The insurance provides protection should something get broken or your pet gets injured. By being bonded and insured it shows they are a business that wants to protect both you and themselves.

  1. Are they background checked and can they prove it?

If someone is coming in and out of your home, you want to know if they have a history of theft. This way you know you can trust the person to be unattended in your home. Some of the online and app pet sitting companies claim to they require their sitters to pass a background check. It is an option should the person applying with one these web-based companies have the opportunity to pay for a background check. You can ask your sitter for proof. Most professional pet sitters will have documentation with them when you meet them.

  1. Can they provide references?

Just like when you are hiring a babysitter, contractor, house cleaner. One of the best ways to know if you can trust them is to see what others clients are saying about that company or person.

  1. Do they use a service contract?

A service contract clearly states what they responsibilities of the pet sitter are.

It will often include things such as allowing the sitter to take the pet to the vet should an emergency happen.

  1. Are they certified/trained in pet CPR/first aid?

Someone trained in pet CPR/First Aid knows how to respond in case of an emergency. They can help a dog that is choking on a ball or a dog that passes out on a walk. Possibly saving the pets’ life before they can get to the vet.

  1. Are they a member of a professional or educational program?

Being a member of an organization is not something that is a must especially if they already have the other six. However being a member of a program like Pet Sitters International gives the sitter continuing education. They have access to free Webinars, can attend yearly conferences and a chance to become certified. The sitters stay up to date on local and national laws and new information regarding the pet industry.

So who can you trust? A professional pet sitter.

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