Hiring a pet sitter for the holidays

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The busiest travel season is from Thanksgiving through New Year’s. This time of year, people often travel to visit their families.

When traveling with pets isn’t possible, finding someone to care for them is a necessity.

Historically, pet owners have used boarding facilities. However, boarding isn’t right for every pet. That’s why we recommend pet sitting.

Conditions for pet sitting

Pet sitting is a great alternative to boarding because your pets get to stay home in an environment they know and trust. Here are the conditions that make pet sitting a great choice for pet owners.

Your pet is trustworthy

If you can trust your pets to be left alone for extended hours, pet sitting is a great choice. For example, if you wake up early to let the dogs out before going to work and they do not destroy your house while being alone for eight to ten hours a day, they are ideal candidates for pet sitting.

A quality pet sitter will accommodate your pet’s schedule as closely as possible. With pet sitting visits available early morning, midafternoon, and at bedtime, your pets will find peace and comfort in the privacy of your own home.

You have multiple pets

Boarding multiple pets can be expensive because kennels charge an additional pet fee after the first pet. This happens because they have limited space available.

While some pet sitters also charge an additional pet fee, PetCorps does not. With PetCorps, the pet sitting fee includes all pets and all required services.

Conditions for boarding

We do not recommend boarding; however, pet sitting is not right for every pet. Here is a list of reasons that support boarding.

Pets require 24 hour monitoring

Pets with medical conditions that require 24-hour monitoring should be boarded at a veterinary facility. The trained veterinary staff will keep a close eye on your pet to ensure its health and safety.

An unsupervised pet with a medical condition kept at home could cause further injury to itself.

Pets must be confined to stop destructive behavior

Some pets have separation anxiety or destructive behavior and need to be confined. While we prefer to let your pets roam free, we understand some pets have special needs and confinement is necessary.

Doing this at home will be less stressful for your pet; however, kennels have the benefit of personnel who can give them attention when they need it most.

Complications with boarding

Non-core vaccines

Non-core vaccines, such as bordetella or feline leukemia, are often required for pets in communal environments. Vaccines meant to reduce exposure to communicable diseases can instead cause illness.

The bordetella, or kennel cough, vaccine is problematic for dogs because it does not protect against the disease. Instead, your dog can become ill or become a carrier of the disease and infect other dogs.

Pet sitting does not require the vaccine; therefore, pet sitting is the best choice for conscientious pet owners who wish to avoid unnecessary vaccines.

Stressful environment

Because cats and dogs experience the world through their senses first, a kennel is a frightening place. Surrounded by the sounds and scents of unknown animals make pets uneasy.
Confinement in cramped stainless steel cages or small kennels without the ability to move about freely is another pain point for pets.

Complications with having a friend or neighbor check-in

Asking a friend or neighbor to pet sit save you money but you should exercise caution.

Forgetting to check in

A friend recently told me a story about a recent trip he and his family took. They arranged pet care for their cat through one of his friends.

On the first day, the friend showed up, called to check-in, and provided the required care for the cat. A few days passed without a word so my friend’s wife called the sitter. That is when she learned her cat had not been seen since the first day. The sitter apologized but had the audacity to ask if he  should go check on the cat now.

Yes, it is alarming but it illustrates that even friends with the best intentions can fail us.

A professional pet sitter, however, is under contract to perform the necessary duties laid out during the Meet & Greet. Not showing up is a breach of contract and is simply bad for business.

Lack training

Your friend the banker or your neighbor the lawyer have a very specialized skill set. They could very well be pet advocates and excel in providing pet care but they lack the skill set of a veterinary technician.

Many vet techs become pet sitters to supplement their income. A vet tech is a great candidate for pet sitting because they can watch for signs and symptoms of disease, they can perform pet first aid, and they know what to do when your pet “just ain’t doin’ right.”

How to choose a pet sitter

Don’t choose a pet sitter based on price alone

Pet sitting services often charge a fee based on the number of house visits. This means the final price tag could result in sticker shock to the pet owner. Don’t let price be a determining factor.

The national average price for pet sitting service is between $17 and $18 per visit. I have seen many want ads where pet owners are offering to pay $10 per visit or up to $15 per day. Be forewarned, you get what you pay for. Someone can undercut the national averages to offer you a better deal but maybe the reason they have lower prices is because they lack training in a specific area.

Interview one or two pet sitters and pick one you like

We tend to do business with people we know, like, and trust. Before you decide to hire a pet sitter, sit down with a few of them and get to know them first. Once you know them, decide if you like them and if you trust them. Then, give your business to the one you know, like, and trust.

Get references and look for reviews

A top notch pet sitter will have a list of references available for you to contact. Also look for reviews and testimonials from existing customers on the business Facebook page and on Google. References and reviews can give you additional information to help determine the reputation of the pet sitter.

Don’t wait until the last minute

As you begin planning your vacation, start looking for a pet sitter. Waiting until the last minute is frustrating for you and the pet sitter. Like boarding, pet sitter availability can book up quickly. Be proactive and make arrangements early to secure your reservation.

At PetCorps, we recommend booking your pet sitting arrangements at least two weeks prior to your leave. This allows us to schedule a Meet & Greet with you and your pets to make sure we are a good fit for your family.

Benefits of pet sitting

Pet sitting is a relaxing alternative to boarding

Because your pets get to stay home in an environment they know and trust, surrounded by familiar scents, with the ability to roam freely about the home, they experience calmness instead of stress.

Pets get the care they are used to

Quality pet sitters will replicate your pet’s routine on a familiar schedule.

Doubles as house sitting

Pet sitters can keep a watchful eye on your home to ensure you have peace of mind about your home while you are away.

Mail and newspapers brought in

Pet sitters can bring in the mail and newspaper to prevent mailbox or driveway clutter that signals nobody’s home.

Pet first aid

Pet sitters trained in pet first aid can be a lifesaver in the event of an emergency. Emergencies are defined as an event that causes the loss of life, limb, or eyesight. Everything else is a non-emergency and pet first aid can help in those situations.

Emergency transportation if needed

In a true emergency, we have permission from our clients to transport their pets to the veterinarian for treatment.

For more information on pet sitting, visit http://petcorps.net/pet-sitting.html



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