Pet owners should consider the following list of items when searching for a professional pet carer to care for their pets and home in their absence. Network of Professional Pet Carers QLD members will satisfy and exceed many of the items listed below.
If you find there is a member of the Network of Professional Pet Carers QLD who is not operating with professionalism, care and integrity please inform us by contacting us!
General business issues
- The pet sitter visits the client’s home before the first pet sitting assignment to meet the pets and get detailed information about their care.
- For pet minders who offer boarding within their own home: they offer a complimentary visit of their home before the first pet minding/boarding assignment to meet the pets and get detailed information about their care (also, if other pets are present it is the right fit for the environment)
- The pet sitter or minder presents himself or herself in a professional manner. He or she should give you his or her undivided attention, be courteous, interested and well informed.
- Pet sitter or minder conducts business with honesty and integrity and observes all federal, state and local laws pertaining to business operations and animal care. Some of the ways to ensure they are operating with integrity and under the law:
If your pet sitter or minder is operating under a business name that is not their own – do they have proof that the business name is registered with their state ? Please note there is no occupational license for pet sitters or minders or dog walkers, however, they do need to register their business name with the state to be able to operate under that name (if it is not their own birth name).
If your pet sitter or minder is a sub-contractor of the business with whom you have contacted – ask the sub-contractor if the business owner allows them to work with other businesses as well as independently. The reason for this question is because it is illegal for businesses who use contractors to ask for them to be exclusive.
If the pet carers is offering minding/boarding in their own home they observe local councils laws as to how many pets are on their property at any one time and/or have the appropriate licenses
- Your pet sitter should have public liability insurance
- Your pet minder who is offering boarding within their own home should have adequate cover within their home and contents insurance
- The pet sitter provides a service contract, and goes over specific services and their associated fees.
Issues specifically related to your pets and pet sitting visits
- Observe your pets’ reactions to the pet sitter or minder. They need to be comfortable with whoever comes into your home to care for them.
- Does pet sitter or minder seem genuinely interested in learning as much as possible about your pets? This includes health issues, temperament, fears/phobias, eating habits, exercise, etc.
- Does the pet sitter or minder have a back-up plan ? This is essential in case the pet sitter becomes ill, injured, or in any way incapacitated and unable to care for your pets. It’s also within your rights to meet the back up person if you so desire.
- Does the pet sitter or minder have a contingency plan for pet care in case of inclement weather or natural disaster ?
- In case your pet has a health emergency, does the pet sitter or minder have a list of emergency veterinarians in case yours is unavailable ?
- Is the pet sitter or minder knowledgeable about general pet issues, pet first aid, and current concerns (i.e. pet food recalls) ?
- Has the pet sitter or minder completed a Pet Tech Petsaver class within the last year ?
- Does the pet sitter have experience caring for the types of pets you have ?
- Will the sitter be taking another pet sitter, friends, or children or their own pets to visits? Regardless of whether you do.
Other important issues
- Does your pet carer keep regular office hours and answer clients’ inquiries within a reasonable time frame ?
- Do you always seem to get the pet carer’s voicemail message first ?
- What is the pet sitter’s general availability ? Do they work on all public holidays ? Weekends? All year around ?
- How long has the pet sitter been in business ?
If the pet sitter has been in business for less than three years, are they part of a local network of professional pet carers ? This will either show that they are keen to be successful in their own business to provide you the best service possible and/or allow you the peace of mind that they will be able to refer you to other quality pet carers if they cease business
- Ask the pet sitter some pointed questions to determine their experience (bonus points to the pet carer if they have asked you these questions already!):
What would the pet carer do if they arrived and couldn’t find the dog or cat ?
What would the pet carer do if there was inclement weather and they couldn’t get to the house right away ?
What if the pet was injured and required veterinary care ?
- Some pet carers ask clients to confirm their trip prior to leaving and again when they return home. Ask your pet carer what, if any, confirmation procedure he or she uses ?
- Pet carer should be able to provide at least three local references that are no more than one month old. Call up the references if possible as (unfortunately) it is very easy to fake written references including pictures of pets.
- Does the pet carer have any online reviews ? Search Google and Facebook for any reviews.
- Check with the Office of Fair Trading and other relevant authorities to make sure there haven’t been any complaints or litigation filed.
The following are not essential, but may indicate a higher dedication to excellence
- How involved is the pet carer with animal welfare locally ?
- Is the pet sitter a member of any industry trade groups or networking groups ?
- Is the pet sitter involved in any public education, does he or she write a column for a local pet magazine, teach pet related classes?
- Will your pet sitter provide you (the client) with a service feedback form ?
The above list was compiled with input from professional pet sitters who are also Network of Professional Pet Carers members. Many of them have been in business for a number of years and are recognized as experts in their local communities, and beyond. Additionally, for these pet care professionals, pet sitting, pet minding, dog walking and professional pet care is not simply a job, but more of a way of life. And as such, a common goal shared by all is upholding and improving the standards of the industry by educating pet owners.
Special thanks goes to PetSitUSA for your inspiration.