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MAIN Arrow to Home LifePets Arrow to Pet SittersPet Sitters

cats at homeWith pets comfortably sharing living space in more than 50 percent of American households alone, it's no wonder that pet sitting services, dog kennels, and pet-friendly hotels have taken off in recent years.

Of all options available, pet sitting is usually the preferred one for many pet owners for several good reasons. Whether it be a dog, cat, parakeet or gerbil, most pets feel safer in their own familiar surroundings.

And staying at home not only eliminates the stress on pets. It also lessens the trauma for owners who fear they may be exposing their pet to unfamiliar foods or environments, or exposure to other animals' illnesses.

How to choose a pet sitter

Before you invite a pet sitter into your home, experts advise that you hire someone who is trained or certified for the job, or is bonded or covered by liability insurance to cover possible accidents or negligence.

Also ask about what related services are provided - such as grooming, walking (for dogs), play time (for cats) or other activities. Do they provide a written contract detailing their services? Do they have a backup pet sitter in case they become ill? Finally, don't forget to inquire about possible references so that you can contact those who have recently used their services.

Let them know before you go

Once you do find someone you trust, relieve your own separation anxiety by working with your pet sitter before you go on your trip. Make sure the sitter knows where to easily locate such necessary items as:

  • for cats, the location of your cat box and where you store the kitty litter

  • for dogs, the location of collars, leashes or halters

  • food, treats and favorite pet toys

  • any medications your pet may need

  • where you store your pet carrier

  • emergency contact numbers for local veterinary services

More about pet sitters around the Web

Detailed, expert advice is widely available online, including directories of pet sitters in the U.S., U.K. Canada and worldwide, plus tips on to what to look for in a good pet sitter, and how to work with them ...

Choosing a Pet Sitter - The U.S. Humane Society guide to the benefits of hiring and working with a cat or pet sitter, video presentation, and pet sitter resources.

National Association of Pet Sitters - Locate a certified pet sitter in your area by dialing the 800 number, or searching online by U.S. zip code, with information for pet owners on benefits of pet sitters, best qualifications, how to choose one, and related tips before you go on holiday or vacation.

Pet Sitters International - Searchable database of accredited pet sitters in the U.S., U.K., Canada, and worldwide with related articles & features on Take Your Dog to Work Day, proper pet care, tips & advice.

Pet Sitters Center - Directory of USA pet sitters - Use the clickable map to locate a cat or pet sitter in all 50 states, with listings featuring contact info and Web links where available.


More about dogs in the Chiff Pet Guide:
Traveling with pets How to choose the best dog trainer
Top dog-friendly cities in the USA How nutrition affects your dog's behavior
Tips on buying dog health insurance  

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