“Make a List and Check It Twice” When Selecting In-home Pet Care Services this Holiday Season Advises Pet Sitters International

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Pet Sitters International (PSI), the world’s largest association for professional pet sitters, offers tips to pet owners in need of pet care during the busy holiday season and beyond.

PSI offers tips for selecting a pet sitter during the busy holiday season.

Make a list and check it twice when selecting a pet sitter!

It's important that pet owners understand what to look for and what questions to ask when selecting a professional pet sitter.

A record-breaking 65 million Americans will travel between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2—even more than the record 63.5 million last year—according to a survey by the Travel Industry Association and the AAA. With 62 percent of U.S. households owning a pet, the majority of these holiday travelers are likely to be faced with an important question: “Who’s going to take care of the pet while I’m away?” For these pet owners, Pet Sitters International recommends professional in-home pet care, but encourages pet owners to conduct due diligence when selecting a pet-care provider.

“Knowing that a beloved pet can enjoy the stress-free environment of its own home during the holiday season can provide great peace of mind for pet owners,” said Patti Moran, PSI founder and president. “But, it’s important that pet owners understand what to look for and what questions to ask when selecting a professional pet sitter.”

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. PSI recommends pet owners schedule an initial consultation with a 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.
PSI and its more than 7,000 member businesses offer one final tip for pet owners traveling this holiday season: Book early!

“The holidays are always really busy,” said Jordan Di Marco, owner of Dogma Catma Pet Sitting service in Boulder, Co., and PSI’s 2011 Pet Sitter of the Year™. “I have clients who start booking in the summer for the holiday season and I usually fill up by the first week of December.”

Di Marco said she does her best to accommodate last-minute bookings and when her staff is completely booked she recommends other nearby pet sitters as well as PSI’s Official Pet Sitter Locator.

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

Pet owners who need in-home pet care during the holiday season can visit http://www.petsit.com/locate to find pet sitters in their areas and download the Pet Sitter Interview checklist.

About Pet Sitters International
Founded by Patti Moran in 1994, Pet Sitters International (PSI) is the world’s largest educational association for professional pet sitters, representing more than 7,000 independent professional in-home pet-care businesses in the United States, Canada and abroad. PSI provides members with access to affordable bonding and liability insurance as well as educational resources that include a comprehensive Certification Program, Pet Sitter’s WORLD magazine, The Scoop e-news and PSI’s annual Quest for Excellence convention. For more information, visit http://www.petsit.com, home of the Official Pet Sitter Locator™ or sign up to receive The Scoop on Pet Care. Visit the PSIStoreOnline, the largest specialty retailer of products for pet sitters and pet-sitting business owners.

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Beth Stultz
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