6 tips to find the best pet sitter

6 tips to find the best pet sitter

The pet care industry is booming as pet owners continue to consistently spend on their pets. According to the American Pet Products Association’s 2011-2012 National Pet Owners Survey, 62 percent of US homes include a pet, creating costs involving food, grooming, vet visits and boarding.

Dog walking and pet sitting businesses are profitable, require no formal training and have no start-up costs. Keep in mind that dog walking and pet sitting are unregulated industries – most states do not require any licensing or certification. Anybody can put an ad online and say they’re a professional pet care expert. 

The good news is that there are reputable, capable pet care providers. Here are a few tips on how to find them:

1. References 

Ask for references and then follow up with them. Ask what kind of pet they have, what services were provided, how long they’ve been clients and any other pertinent questions that relate to the service your pet will be getting.

2. Employees

If the company employs more than one person, ask if the same person will be caring for your pet every day. Many larger companies use several different employees for the same client, so your pet may see a different person every day.

3. Interaction

Meet with the person who will actually be visiting your pet. Do they make an effort to interact with your pet? Do they seem to genuinely enjoy the interaction?

4. Insurance

Be sure the company maintains current insurance and theft bond, and ask to see a certificate of insurance.

5. Training

Find out how employees are trained. A good pet care company will have a formal training program to ensure quality control and consistency.

6. Emergencies

Do employees have first aid training so they’ll know what to do in an emergency? Is there a policy in place that outlines when to take your pet to the emergency vet? How do they handle paying the vet?

Most pet care providers are in the business because they love animals. With a little research and a lot of questions, you can find the right dog walker or pet sitter for you and your pet.

About this Angie's List Expert: Jill Freifeld is a dog trainer and President of Happy Hound Pet Care, Inc. Established in 1995, Happy Hound provides force-free dog walking, dog training and pet sitting in Mongtomery County, Md., and is a member of the National Association of Professional Petsitters (NAPPS) and the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT).

As of June 19, 2013, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.

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Terri Decker

Subject: Pet Sitter

Need someone who can stay in my house and take care of my 2 dogs (1 Lab & 1 Shih Tzu) and 1 Cat. Had a bad experience when I left my Shih Tzu in the kennel at our Vet, who is excellent.

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