How to Choose a Pet Sitter
Published on October 25, 2019 by arothstein
If you want to care for animals and educate pet parents about how to provide the best care for their pets, a career as a vet tech is an excellent career option. Veterinary technology is one of the fastest-growing professions in the field of animal care. The need for qualified vet techs is growing faster than most other health-care areas. The job growth rate for vet techs is 19 percent through 2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The program to become a vet tech must be accredited by the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association). After completing the degree program, graduates must sit for the VTNE (Veterinary Technology National Exam) to become licensed.
How Vet Techs Can Advise Owners About Pet Sitters
For many pet parents, the idea of leaving their pets at home when they’re away is stressful. They want to make sure their pets are getting the best care but may not have any experience with pet sitters. A vet tech can explain to an owner about the services that a pet sitter provides, and many recommend qualified pet sitters in the area.
What Is A Pet Sitter?
A pet sitter is a person who cares for an owner’s pet(s) for a specified time. Pet sitting offers pet owners more personalized care than their dog, cat, or other pet would get in a kennel or boarding facility. Specialized training is not usually a requirement for a pet sitter. However, some pet sitters started off caring for animals in a veterinary hospital and decided to expand their care to a full-time business.
In many areas, an occupational license isn’t required to be a pet sitter. However, in some areas, permits to transport animals, kennel licenses, or a license to do business are a requirement.
The reasons that owners prefer to use the services of pet sitters are:
- To avoid stress and the trauma some pets experience while traveling
- Illnesses pets can get from others in a kennel
- Vaccinations that are required for pets in kennels
- To avoid the disruption to the pet’s routine
Pet owners with older dogs or cats often prefer to have a pet sitter in their homes because the pet has trouble adapting to a different environment. A pet sitter might be a family member or close friend that the dog or cat knows well. The sitter could be a pet walker or someone who operates a daycare for pets.
Some pet sitters offer dog walking services for clients who work long hours and don’t have the opportunity to provide the exercise that their pet needs.
Attributes of a Good Pet Sitter
The most important attribute of a good pet sitter is that they genuinely love animals. The pet sitter should really want to get to know your cat or dog. At a meet and greet, watch the interaction between your pet and the sitter to make sure it’s an excellent connection. The pet sitter should be someone who enjoys their work.
Empathy Towards Animals
The sitter should always practice empathy for the pets in their care. The sitter should get to know each pet and recognize whether they need to be comforted, when it’s feeding time, or when it’s time for a walk. They should also understand the body language of each pet they care for.
Patience with Pets
One of the attributes that pet sitters and vet techs have in common is the ability to stay patient, especially when an animal is misbehaving. Always meet the pet sitter in advance to make sure they’re an excellent fit for your dog or cat.
Trustworthy and Responsible
The pet sitter must be trustworthy and can pass a background test. The owners are leaving their pets and their home in the care of someone they may not know.
Attention to Details
Attention to detail is essential. Your dog or cat may like its food a particular way or may have walks on a schedule. Your pet sitter should make sure they understand all the instructions they’re given. A backup plan should be in place in the event something unexpected happens.
Certified Professional Pet Sitters
A professional pet sitter should have education and training, either independently or taken a pet sitting course. To be a Certified Professional Pet Sitter (CPPS), a candidate must pass the exam to certify professional pet sitters. The exam isn’t based on a curriculum but is based on the pet sitter’s knowledge about the care of animals.
Dedication to Your Pet
An owner should make sure that the sitter has a reasonable schedule and will be able to devote the time to their cat or dog that’s required. If the pet sitter has a significant workload, your pet may not get the care that you expect. If the pet sitter’s services are needed during the holidays, make sure to book early.
Benefits of a Pet Sitter
Although some owners ask a family member, neighbor, or friend to care for their dog or cat when they’re away, this may have its drawbacks. Some people, although well-intentioned, don’t have pets of their own or aren’t accustomed to being around animals. Animals are like people with certain traits and personalities, and only someone who loves animals can appreciate that.
For owners who prefer their pets to remain in their homes while they’re away on business or vacation, in-home services ensure your pet is happy and comfortable in familiar surroundings. Pets are happiest when they’re in their own home. At home, a dog or cat’s routine isn’t disrupted so there’s less stress when the owner is away.
A Pet Sitter Keeps Your Pet’s Exercise on Track
The animal’s exercise and feeding schedule aren’t disrupted like it could be if a friend or family member is sitting in their home. There’s less risk of an animal getting sick when it’s not exposed to animals in a kennel or boarding facility.
People who aren’t willing to care for your cat or dog as you do aren’t the best fit. They may do it as a favor but don’t have your pet’s best interests at heart.
Your Pet Is Less Stressed About Travel
Some pets don’t travel well. They may get agitated or have nausea during the trip. Leaving pets at home with someone that has professional experience in animal care means that the pets and owners are less stressed. Professional sitters are trained to care for animals with different personalities and can tailor their care based on daily habits, fears like thunderstorms, likes, and dislikes. Professional sitters know how to anticipate dangerous situations and can respond quickly in the event of an emergency.
A pet sitter with professional training knows how to administer medications and first aid, if necessary. The pet sitter can tell if something isn’t right, and your pet requires veterinary care. A professional has a backup plan available in the event of illness or any emergency.
Professionals are expected to fulfill requests for service and always be on-time.
For owners who want their pets to have an interactive experience with other animals, daycare for pets is another option. Dog daycare is an excellent option for dog owners who work long hours or don’t want their dog to be alone all day. Dogs are dropped off in the morning and picked up at night. In some areas, a taxi service for pets is provided.
Dogs have plenty of space for supervised play and interaction with other dogs. Dogs are fed, play games and get exercise, have naptime, and may even be groomed. Professionals ensure that the dogs in their care are happy and well cared for.
How Can A Vet Tech Help With Pet Sitters?
Your vet tech can help you to choose the best daycare option for your dog based on activities, staff knowledge, safety, and cost. The cheapest daycare isn’t always the best one, so it’s a good idea to do your homework and choose the facility that suits your dog’s needs.
If you need sitting services while you’re on vacation, learn about options before making a commitment. Here are some questions to ask:
- Where are pets kept, and do they have access to other animals?
- Are kennels temperature-regulated, and do they have proper ventilation?
- How are animals exercised?
- Find out if the facility can accommodate special diets or medical needs of pets.
- What are veterinary care policies?
- What vaccines do pets need before being boarded?
You should always set up a time with your pet to meet the staff before leaving your pet overnight. Check out the facility’s business status and always get references.
Dogs used to be the only ones to stay in daycare facilities while the owner was away, but more owners are using sitting services for cats. A lot of facilities cater to the unique needs of cats and provide private, cat condos with beds to snuggle in and multi-level lofts.
Some facilities are called daycare or cat hotels. The facilities are for times when you must be away and don’t want your cat to be left at home. Cat hotels are exclusively for cats. Cats and kittens have plenty of time to explore or lounge on their bed and enjoy the sunshine.
Some of the pet sitting services for cats will also schedule grooming appointments so cats can be pampered while they’re away from home.
Requirements for Pet Sitters
Most professional pet sitters are insured through companies that offer pet sitter insurance. Most companies that provide pet sitter insurance plans provide insurance coverage for transporting pets.
Several organizations provide accreditation or certification for pet sitters who complete a course that offers instruction on first aid for pets, professional business practices, and nutrition for animals.
Your vet tech knows your dog or cat and can help you to choose the best pet sitter based on their unique needs.
Want to Learn More?
Did learning about how to choose a pet sitter interest you? Ready to start a program to become a veterinary technician? With an associate degree in veterinary technology, you’ll gain the knowledge and skills you need to start an entry-level career as a veterinary technician. Broadview University has been part of the community for more than 40 years, so we’ve developed connections that can help move your career forward. After completing our accredited degree program, you’ll be eligible to sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). Passing the VTNE allows you to become a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT), a designation that will give you a competitive advantage when you enter the job market.
Contact us today to learn more about becoming a veterinary technician and working in veterinary technology.
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