Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Why You Should Hire A Professional Pet Sitter

***DISCLAIMER - this post is in NO way knocking veterinary offices or boarding facilities. Sometimes this is the best option for pets and there are some fantastic vet and boarding facilities out there.

I recently saw a heartbreaking story on the news about a family who hired a college student (friend of a friend) to care for their four dogs while they were away for seven days on vacation. Sadly, the student visited the dogs on the first two days and then "forgot" to visit them again. Tragically, two of their beloved dogs died.

Can you even imagine? I know, for me, my animals (don't ask how many) are my babies and I would be devastated if this happened to me. So, this got me to thinking. Before I started my business, I had ZERO clue that there were people who actually pet sit for...wait for it...wait for it...A LIVING! What?! It's true, so I set out to start and grow the BEST pet sitting business in all of the's a work in progress, but I, with the help of my insanely amazing team are getting there!

With that goal of running the best professional pet sitting company in the universe in mind, I did some research and found that more than 63% of all households in the U.S. have some kind of pet. Approximately 169 million cats and dogs make up the bulk of that number, which doesn't include: rabbits, reptiles, fish, etc. So THEN, my little, fake blonde brain got to thinking, "Why would hiring a sitter to come to the pet's home be better than boarding at a veterinary office or other boarding facility (see disclaimer!!)?" Here are some reasons:

  • the pet is kept in a familiar environment with sights, sounds, and smells that they are used to
  • keeping up with the pet's normal routine (potty schedule, feeding, medication, etc.)
  • one-on-one, personal attention
  • the convenience of not having to transport pet to/from boarding facility
  • pets not being exposed to fleas and illnesses that can be contracted from other animals
  • someone to check on the overall safety and condition of the client's home: adjusting blinds, watering plants, turning on/off lights to give the home a "lived in" or a "someone-will-be-coming-here-regularly-so-burglars-go-elsewhere look."

So what's the difference between a professional and say, the neighbor's kid next door? 

  • A professional will be...this is a BIGGIE...bonded and carry commercial liability insurance (probably the MOST important difference)
  • a professional will provide references
  • a professional will be trained and have experience (I say this with some hesitation because I was the new biz on the block once but had a TON of experience. Don't rely solely on the amount of time a prospective pet sitter has been in business but rather their experience with pets)
  • a professional will be a member of a national pet sitting association such as NAPPS ( or PSI (
  • a professional will have a contingency plan in effect in the event of personal illness or emergency
  • sometimes professional pet sitters will be trained and certified in dog/cat first aid and CPR...yes, there really is such a thing!
  • a professional will have established relationships with local veterinary offices
  • a professional will have a service contract that clearly spells out services and fees
Now, find me a kid neighbor who has all of that going for them in this arena! I mean, I'm sure the kid is cool and all, but wouldn't you rather a professional be in charge of your fur babies?

When you are looking for a reputable pet sitter, use that bulleted list above when you are choosing - ask about their credentials and call their references. Shop around! Different pet sitters offer different benefits, so choose one that is best for you and your family. 

Believe me, your vacation will be a lot more relaxing when you know your pets and home are in good, capable, and professional hands!

Allison Otero
Owner, AlleyCat's Pet Service, Inc.


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