Yay, it’s time to go on vacation! But who will look after Fido and Fluffy? If you’re like most pet parents, you don’t want just anyone to care for your fur babies. Do you ask a friend, family member, or neighbour – or board your pet in a kennel? Or do you search online for a pet sitter and find dozens of sitters. All the options can be overwhelming! How do you decide who will give your pets the best care?
Be an informed and wise consumer. Don’t leave your pet’s care in the hands of just anyone.
Why you should use a Professional Pet Sitter
Although they are no doubt well-intentioned, an amateur pet sitter (your friend, family member, neighbour, or someone you found online) likely doesn’t have the expertise to deal with all situations. A professional pet sitter does this for a living and has the education and experience necessary to care for your pet in any eventuality, giving you peace of mind.
What are the advantages of using a Professional Pet Sitter?
A Professional Pet sitter…
- Understands animal behaviour and is experienced in working with all types of pet personalities, such those that are nervous, fearful or aggressive.
- Knows how to tailor your pet’s care to their particular needs and dispositions.
- Know the importance of providing your pet with mental stimulation, not just physical exercise.
- Can spot potentially dangerous situations and react appropriately.
- Is trained and experienced in administering medications.
- Has basic medical training (e.g., first aid and CPR) and can determine if your pet needs veterinary attention.
- Runs a professional business: is licensed, bonded and insured; has an online presence; has a published fee schedule; writes service contracts that spell out the services to be performed and associated fees; and has documented procedures for dealing with unexpected events (e.g., loss of keys, medical emergencies, and disasters).
- Gives you the option to hire them for daily visits or on a live-in basis for overnight services.
How do you know if a pet sitter is a professional?
Pet Sitters International website. In Canada, professional pet sitters are certified exclusively by Pet Sitters International. To gain certification, candidates must write the Certified Professional Pet Sitter® exam to demonstrate they have gained a comprehensive set of skills and knowledge through their educational and professional experiences in pet care. They are tested on pet care; health, sanitation and safety; and business operations.
“When you use the services of a Certified Professional Pet Sitter®, you are benefitting from a pet sitter who has:
- Successfully passed the industry’s only knowledge-assessed exam
- Agreed to adhere to PSI’s Recommended Quality Standards
- Agreed to adhere to the Member Code of Conduct and Ethics
- Obtained a minimum of thirty (30) continuing education hours (CEUs) every three years to maintain the CPPS® designation”
Booking pet sitters via apps or referring agencies
Using an app or online referring agency (such as the new online pet tech companies like Care, Rover or DogVacay) might seem like a good option for hiring a pet sitter; however, there are things you should consider before deciding to go that route.
- Does the app or agency accept listings from non-professional sitters (e.g., kids, college students, hobby pet sitters, or anyone looking for a little extra income)?
- If the app or agency accepts listings from non-professionals, do they make it clear who is a professional and who is not?
- Does the app or agency screen pet sitters (e.g., conduct criminal checks) and require pet sitters to meet certain requirements (e.g., pet first aid or professional certification)?
- Does the app or agency require pet sitters to have business insurance? Although Care (Petsitter), Rover and DogVacay do provide insurance coverage for their pet sitters, the pet sitter may have to cover the deductible, which may be out of their reach.
Benefits of hiring an in-home pet sitter vs boarding
- It goes without saying that pets are happiest at home in their familiar surroundings and with their daily routines. Kennels can be loud and smelly. Animals have keen senses of smell and hearing, so unfamiliar odours and loud environments can cause them anxiety and stress, and underlying diseases can be manifested in your absence.
- Many kennels require vaccinations for your pet that may not be recommended by your own veterinarian. Even with this precaution on the part of the kennel, your pet can still be exposed to illnesses.
- Kennels commonly leave your pet locked in a cage alone for extended periods. A pet sitter will provide dedicated, individual attention.
Finally, a pet sitter can take care of your home as well (e.g., turning lights on and off for security, tending to plants, and gathering mail), providing you with peace of mind when you are away.
Summary of your pet care options
Your choice of pet care will be based on your specific needs. To help you decide who can best care for your pet, here’s a quick overview of the qualifications and services offered by professional pet sitters, amateur sitters and boarding kennels.
|Understands animal behaviour and uses a positive, compassionate approach to deal with nervousness, fear, aggression, etc.||Yes||Maybe||Maybe|
|Provides mental and physical stimulation for your pet.||Yes||Maybe||Maybe|
|Spends quality, one-on-one time with your pet.||Yes||Yes||Maybe|
|Is trained in pet care and maintain skills through continuous education.||Yes||No||Maybe|
|Holds professional pet sitter certification, diplomas and/or degrees.||Yes||No||Maybe|
|Staff is trained and educated in classroom and on jobsite.||Yes||No||Maybe|
|Trained and experienced in pet first aid and CPR, and recognizes when your pet needs care by a veterinarian.||Yes||No||Maybe|
|Is trained and experienced in administering medications||Yes||No||Maybe|
|Runs a licenced, bonded and insured business, which is his or her primary career||Yes||No||Yes|
|Has documented procedures for handling mishaps and emergencies.||Yes||No||Probably|
|Ensures service and fees are clear to the client via a service contract.||Yes||Maybe||Probably|
|Takes care of your home: security checks, tending to plants, gathering mail, etc.||Yes||Yes||No|
|Practices superb client communication, returning calls and texts and keeping you informed of your pet’s well-being (e.g., through texts and photos)?||Yes||Maybe||Maybe|
|Educates you about pet care when appropriate.||Yes||No||No|
Corks Critter Care would be honoured and happy to look after your pets. Book your pet sitting, dog walking, or other pet care today!