There are two categories of pet sitters - hobby pet sitters and professional pet sitters. Charging a fee doesn't make a professional pet sitter.
As the home pet care industry has grown, booking agencies have popped up and hobby pet sitters are offering cheap rates hoping make some money on the side. Are they the best choice for the care of your precious pets?
Risks of Hobby Pet Sitters
More than a love of pets is needed to be a professional pet sitter and dog walker. Caring for pets is a huge responsibility. Hobby pet sitters are abundant and rarely have liability insurance in case anything goes wrong, for example if they accidently flooded your house or if your dog bit someone while out walking. Hobby sitters don't usually even cover their transport costs.
A house sitter who provides 'cheap' or 'free' pet sitting in exchange for 'free' accommodation comes with risks. Who is liable if anyone gets injured or if they are negligent? If they burn your house down or steal from you or your pet is injured or dies? Do they have the experience to recognise if your pet is ill and to provide expert care for your pets? How much is your peace of mind worth to you?
Characteristics of a Professional Pet Sitter
A professional pet sitter can be distinguished from a hobby pet sitter by considering whether they have the following characteristics.
A professional pet sitter:
Choosing Your Pet Sitter
When choosing a pet sitter, use due diligence in checking your pet sitter meets the above criteria and can be entrusted to caring for your pets and your home. You may request to view a criminal history check. Ensure they carry independent public liability insurance in case something goes wrong - you may request to view a copy of their insurance certificate. Ensure they take your emergency contact details. Read their Terms and Conditions including cancellation policies.
Meet your potential pet sitter in advance before confirming your booking. Check if your pets will be cared for by the pet sitter you meet or whether another pet sitter may be sent. Ask your pet sitter questions to determine if they are a fit for your pet care needs.
It is important you feel comfortable with your pet sitter and that they demonstrate they are capable of caring for your pets. Pet sitting is an excellent alternative to traditional boarding kennels and catteries provided you have a competent, professional care provider. Choosing wisely will enable you to have peace-of-mind and relax on your holiday knowing your pets are well-cared for.
What does a pet sitter do?
Xanthe founded an award-winning pet sitting business in QLD, Australia in 2011. After selling the business, she returned to Taupo, New Zealand.
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