The professional pet-sitting industry is growing rapidly because many pet owners feel that there are advantages to using pet sitters, rather than traditional pet care options. Reasons people use pet sitters include:
Possible reduced stress on pets because pets are cared for in their own homes
No "travel trauma" to pets because they do not need to be transported anywhere
Exposure to illnesses and parasites of other animals is minimized
Required vaccinations are often less restrictive then those necessary at a kennel
Pets stay on their regular routines and do not need to adapt to a new environment
No inconveniencing neighbours, friends, or family members
Professional pet sitters are often licensed, and insured for liability including care, custody, and control of the pets in their care. Many pet sitters are also bonded or insured for theft. Pet sitters usually have training, such as pet first aid certification, animal husbandry classes, or pet sitting accreditation. A number of professional organizations exist to help pet sitters improve their services.
In many areas, no special occupational license is required for pet sitters. The term "licensed" is often used by pet sitting professionals to refer to licenses to do business, kennel licenses, and/or animal transportation permits available within the coverage area of the business. These licenses may or may not be required, depending on the location. Licenses are not available in all areas.
There are many different services which can be offered by pet sitters.
During vacation pet sitting, a pet sitter visits a client's home several times, as required. The exact length of visit is determined by both pet owners and pet sitters, averaging about fifteen to forty-five minutes. Most pet sitters bill clients on a per-visit basis, including additional charges for multiple pets, travel expenses, and special tasks. Less commonly, pet sitters offer live-in care.
Pet sitters also provide dog walking services. Disabled clients and the elderly often hire pet sitters to exercise and care for their pets if they are unable to do so.
Pet sitters may also offer other more aggressive methods of exercise for dogs during dog walking appointments. These may include jogging, running, inline skating, bicycling, or dog scootering with client dogs.
Pet sitters also provide some home sitting services for clients, tending plants, and giving homes a "lived-in" look to deter crime.
Pet sitters are sometimes hired to transport pets.
Pet sitters sometimes provide pooper scooper services for client yards.
Insurance and bonding
Most professional pet sitters are insured through nationwide Pet Sitter insurance providers.
As of 2007, the major American and Canadian pet sitting insurance providers include claim limits from 2 million to 4 million per claim for liability claims. They also include coverage for care, custody, and control of the client pets from $10,000 to $200,000 per occurrence. Coverage is included for fire damage, lost keys, and other negligence claims. Because many North American pet sitting insurers do not provide coverage to minors, most professional pet sitters are over eighteen years of age.
As of 2007, the major UK pet sitting insurance providers include similar claim coverages as the USA providers. The limits for liability claims range from £750 to £10,000.
Most pet sitter insurance plans provide coverage for pet transport. They also provide services for most animals, except those that may be used for other business ventures, including farming.
Some resources recommend that pet sitters be bonded. That recommendation has been dismissed by many professional organizations in recent years.
A dishonesty or fidelity bond claim generally applies when a pet sitter is convicted in criminal court of theft from a client home. When the pet sitter is convicted, the bond will reimburse the client for the loss, and then seek reimbursement from the pet sitter. This process often requires many years, and usually relies on a criminal law court conviction.
Many pet sitters have decided to seek actual insurance coverage for theft instead of procuring a bond. Theft insurance coverage does not require convictions, and usually includes coverage for accidental breakage, mysterious disappearance, and accidental damage to items in a client home.
Other insurance topics
Pet sitters are generally not protected from injury to themselves by regular pet sitting liability coverage. Pet sitter liability insurance usually covers injury to other people and other pets.
In the USA insurance professionals recommend that homeowners carry homeowners insurance or umbrella insurance before hiring a pet sitter.
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