For many of us, a “welcome home” from a pet is just another reminder of why we work hard and lead busy lives. In fact, 62% of American households own pets. That’s more U.S. homes with pets than with children. And if you are one of the average pet owners that can’t always take their pets with them on work or pleasure trips, you’ll be facing the need to find quality pet care while you are away.
Professional pet sitting is one of the fastest growing careers in the world today. Organizations such as Pet Sitters International ( www.petsit.com ) and the National Organization of Professional Pet Sitters ( www.petsitters.org ) boast well over 5000 members in all 50 states, 8 Canadian provinces, and 12 other countries. These organizations provide educational services as well as a community for pet sitters to communicate ideas, experiences, questions, and standards. Home based certification programs have recently been developed to further increase the quality of home pet care services. Kelley Young, owner PetSits.Com, notes that “When I prepare to care for an animal, I want the owners to be worry free while they are away from home – I know that’s what I look for in pet care. Educating myself through the certification programs at NAPPS & WCTC has given me the training and confidence to provide that level of professionalism and security.
People today are taking better care of their pets then ever before. 94% of pet owners have a photo of their pet on display. Another 87% give their pets holiday or birthday gifts, while 84% refer to themselves as “Mom” or “Dad”. Pets are a part of the family, and we expect them to be equally cared for. And caring pet owners love the extra security and attention pets receive from professional in-home care. “When a pet owner hires a pet sitter, they know that the stress on their pet will be minimal – the pet won’t have to be transferred, exposed to many other animals, or kept in surroundings that aren’t like home. And at the same time the pet sitter will take care of the home by closing blinds, watering plants, putting out the trash, retrieving the mail, and applying other crime-deterrence tricks learned.” explains Young. “…And many pet sitters today charge by time, and accept multiple pets at no extra charge. I even include horses and other large animals, so owners don’t have to worry about finding separate arrangements for each type of animal. Everyone gets to stay together at home.”
Pet Sitting services today have evolved into a few separate areas. Many dog owners work long hours, get stuck at the office frequently, or endure long commutes on a daily basis. Pet Sitters who do “Dog Walking” or “Mid-Day Visits” usually come once or twice a day to play with or walk these pets while the owner is owner is away. This is a perfect option for puppies being housetrained and new pets just learning the routine. Another 76% of pet owners use some type of pet care while traveling, and 30% of these use a Pet Sitter. Only 22% use a kennel or veterinarian, and 14% leave the pet with friends. A pet sitter will often visit a pet 2-3x per day while owners are traveling away from home in order to feed pets, play with them, administer medication, walk them, and handle basic house-sitting tasks. Pet Sitters often also provide services such as Pet Taxi, Lawn Clean-up, Grooming, and Supplies Shopping.
How can you learn more about pet sitting, and find a pet sitter in your area? “Web-sites such as petsitters.org, PetSits.Com, and petsit.org are excellent resources for finding qualified pet sitters by zip or area code” explains Young, “Many pet sitters now have developed web sites that can answer the most common and important questions pet owners can ask - including Are you insured? What is bonding? Do you have references? Do you have employees? Are overnights available? What are your rates? Are there any coupons or specials available? ”. Most pet sitters also limit their area to within 20-30 miles of their home, but are happy to provide referrals for customers outside of their area. In fact, many pet sitters report that most of their customers are a result of referrals.
So if you are one of the 72% of married pet owners who greet their pet first when you return home from work, or are one of the 65% that have sung or danced with your pet, consider contacting your local pet sitter to set up an “initial consultation” (usually free). You’ll be glad you did the next time you find yourself stuck late at work imagining your pup waiting patiently by the door with crossed legs and a desperate look on its muzzle!
Find a pet sitter today at www.petsits.com - The Pet Sitter Resource & Directory .
Written and Submitted by
Kelley Young, Owner PetSits.Com