King, NC (PRWEB) September 6, 2007
According to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association (APPMA), pet ownership is at its highest level with 63 percent of households in the United States owning pets. Yet, pet owners are just now beginning to realize the value of an educated and experienced pet sitter. For many households, the process of locating a quality caregiver for companion animals seems daunting. Pet Sitters International, the world's largest educational association for professional pet sitters, has made this process easier for discerning pet owners, by offering three enhanced resources through its Web site, petsit.com.
Finding a Professional Pet Sitter
Finding the right professional pet sitter for the family dog, cat, bird, reptile, horse...you name it, is now only a few clicks away. "Locate a Pet Sitter" has been a popular feature on petsit.com since its launch in 1998. Today, the ZIP code-driven search tool offers enhanced features, enabling pet owners to conduct a criteria-based search in less than one minute. Users can search PSI's database of more than 7,800 independent professional pet-sitting businesses for custom-tailored services ranging from daily dog walks to caring for pets with special needs. What's more, pet owners can refine their searches, even further, by specifying credentials such as bonding, liability insurance and/or pet first-aid training.
Before pet owners make the decision to hire a pet sitter, they should first take the time necessary to ensure their pets' wellbeing as well as the safety and security of their homes. "It's important for individuals interested in hiring a pet sitter to practice due diligence before making a final decision," says John Long, communications manager for Pet Sitters International. "Remember, if you haven't done your homework then you are inviting a stranger into your home while you are away." Petsit.com's improved "Pet Owners" area has made the evaluation process easier with new and easily accessible information.
Since 1994, PSI has made its Recommended Quality Standards for Excellence in Pet Sitting available to the public. A benchmark for the industry, this inventory of values and principles is considered by many to be the gold standard for all professional pet sitters. PSI encourages pet owners to refer to its easy to find Quality Standards when searching for the perfect pet-sitting professional. Standards to look for include:
•The sitter is bonded and insured.
•The sitter visits the client's home before the first pet-sitting assignment to meet the pets and get detailed information about their care.
•The sitter exhibits courtesy and professionalism in all dealings with customers, staff and industry colleagues to positively represent the pet sitter and the pet-sitting industry.
•The sitter provides references.
•The sitter provides a service contract that specifies services, fees and time allocated per visit.
•The sitter conducts business with honesty and integrity and observes all federal, state and local laws pertaining to business operations and animal care.
•The sitter has adequate knowledge and experience in caring for pets and is clearly mindful of their safety and wellbeing.
•The sitter phones to confirm or has the client phone to confirm that the client has returned home.
•The sitter has a veterinarian on call for emergency service.
•The sitter has a contingency plan for pet care in case of inclement weather or personal illness.
Conducting an Interview
PSI recommends that all pet owners set up an initial meeting with prospective pet sitters before turning over the keys to their homes. Conducting an initial interview provides an opportunity to evaluate a candidate and review credentials. It is also the best way for sitters to familiarize themselves with the homes in which they will be working and ask questions about the pets specific needs.
Pet owners can download Tips for Conducting a Professional Pet Sitting Interview from the Pet Owners area of petsit.com. For more information on the advantages of hiring a professional pet sitter, visit http://www.petsit.com/owners.
About Pet Sitters International
Established in 1994, Pet Sitters International represents more than 7,800 independent professional pet-sitting businesses in the United States, Canada and abroad. Our membership consists of trusted pet professionals, serving an average of 126 clients each and performing an estimated 8 million pet-sitting engagements per year.