Pet Sitters International Encourages Pet Owners To Use Caution, Book Early for Holiday Pet-Care Needs

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Pet Sitters International (PSI), the world’s leading educational association for professional pet sitters, encourages pet owners to begin planning now if they need to secure pet care during the holiday season. PSI also advises pet owners to allow time to meet, verify credentials and check references for any potential pet-care provider.

Pet Sitters International offers this advice for traveling pet owners: The time to book needed pet-sitting visits is now.

The American Pet Products Association (APPA) reports that pet ownership is at an all-time high, with 68 percent of U.S. households—or 82.5 million homes—now owning at least one pet. With more than two-thirds of U.S. homes owning pets, finding reliable pet care will be a top concern for the millions of travelers who have to leave their pets behind this holiday season.

Pet Sitters International (PSI), the world’s largest educational association for professional pet sitters, offers this advice for traveling pet owners: The time to book needed pet-sitting visits is now.

“My pet-sitting clients began calling to arrange pet care for their holiday travel needs in August,” said Jacqueline Dekker, PSI member and owner of Jackie’s Pet Care, in Mountain House, Calif. “My schedule is already completely booked for Christmas and New Year’s Day.”

PSI member Elise Nesson, owner of Bandito Pet Sitting in Whitman, Mass., encourages pet owners who have yet to secure pet-sitting services to make arrangements as soon as possible.

“I’m completely booked for the month of November, with the surprising exception of the Thanksgiving weekend,” explained Nesson. “This allows me to accommodate some pet owners who have waited to arrange pet care, but the spots will fill up quickly.”

PSI’s more than 7,000 member pet-sitting businesses provide services for nearly 750,000 pet-owning households each year.

For pet owners rushing to make pet-care arrangements for the upcoming holidays, the growth of the pet-care industry can make selecting a pet sitter seem like a daunting task.

With the influx of pet-care directory Web sites popping up in the last couple of years, many have decided to cash in on the growing need for pet care. Because of this, it’s more important than ever for pet owners to be selective advises PSI President Patti Moran.

“Not everyone who advertises professional pet-sitting services has the education or credentials to offer quality, reliable care for your pets,” said Moran. “It’s important for pet owners to meet with and check references for any potential pet-care provider.”

PSI advises pet owners to ask five important questions when interviewing a pet sitter for their holiday travel needs:

1.    Is the pet sitter insured and bonded?
2.    Can the pet sitter provide proof of clean criminal history?
3.    Does the pet sitter provide client references?
4.    Will the pet sitter use a pet-sitting services agreement/contract?
5.    Is the pet sitter a Certified Professional Pet Sitter (CPPS) and/or has he or she participated in pet-care training, such as pet first aid?

“Just as some people are ‘dog people’ and others are ‘cat’ or ‘bird’ people, there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to finding the right pet sitter,” added Moran.

PSI recommends pet owners schedule an initial consultation with any potential pet sitter prior to booking services and offers a Pet Sitter Interview checklist on its Web site to guide pet owners in the interview process.

Even for pet owners who don’t plan to travel long distances, a pet sitter can be used to help keep pets on their regular schedule while the owners are out shopping late or enjoying holiday parties.

Pet owners in need of holiday pet care can search for local professional pet sitters on PSI’s Official Pet Sitter Locator™ at To learn more about PSI or pet sitting as a career, visit

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