September 1, 2023
How much does your pet sitter know?
September is PSI”s Pet- Sitter Education Month!
First let me say…Pet Sitters International sets a high standard for the pet sitting industry. Education, support and the available resources they provide pet sitters trickles down to the quality of pet sitter YOU hire. Pet Sitters International has set September as Pet- Sitter Education Month.
Education comes in many forms. Pet sitters need to have experience with pets, along with compassion, caring and common sense. Growing up with pets and having to care for them provide pet experience, but the pet industry changes, so education keeps a pet sitter “in the know”. Education should be a constant and progressive way of life for a pet sitter to run their business. Yes, pet sitting is a real business!
After teaching a class on Pet Preparedness, I really realized how much education it takes to care for your own pet, let alone someone else’s pet. Putting the course together for our client’s really made me think-Pet Sitters have to know so much in regard to; CPR, First Aid, pet diets, breeds of pets, pet personalities, training, health…the list goes on.
Five Questions you must ask your Pet Sitter: (Yes, we do expect to be interviewed!)
Are you a certified pet sitter? In the state of Missouri, you do not need to be certified or licensed to pet sit in someone else’s home. A certification with a National/International Organization is a business choice for the professional pet sitter. This shows Pet Parents this person/company is invested with their profession enough to learn through required CEU’s about new and changing pet information.
You do have to be licensed with the Department of Agriculture to board or have a dog daycare in your home! Always ask for their license # and check it online to see if they are up to date requirements.
Are you bonded and insured? People coming into your home to provide pet care has access to everything you own, while you are not there! Being bonded will help recover stolen property. Insurance for your pet AND home is a must for both pet sitting and boarding! You can ask to see their policy cover sheet to make sure it updated and the coverage that is carried for each item covered. Due to insurance coverage, many professional pet sitters will NOT share visits with your friends, family or roommates.
Are you CPR/ First Aid Certified? This is as important as being insured. When tragedy hits you want to make sure whoever is caring for your pet is trained and educated to know what to do! No, we are not veterinarians, but your pet sitter should know key items to help your pet if your pet was in danger. Honestly, most people only retain about 50% of what they learn visually so certified pet sitters are required to take the CPR/First Aid class every other year.
What personal experiences do you have with pets? By this, I do not mean, I had s) growing up! Did they own/work at a rescue, do they have Vet Tech experience, or did they work at a pet-oriented business? This is an experienced learned quality you are looking for in a pet sitter. Experiences humans have determined their reactions to situations!
What kind of care do you provide regarding my home? This question rarely gets asked but is SO important! Once again, Pet Sitters will be in your home, while you are not there. They should provide some sort of help with the “someone is home” concept, getting mail, newspapers and maybe watering plants. The underlying concept is…what would you do if my house had an emergency? Someone broke in, a water leak, something quit working. Do they know how to handle these things?
Lastly, your pet sitter should be educated in the fact that a contract and all paperwork needed should be signed and discussed at a meet & greet with you and your pet prior to any pet sitting visits!
Black Paw 101: You are not just hiring a pet sitter for their time, BUT you are hiring a pet sitter for their education!
Bobbi Wilson, CPPS (Certified Professional Pet Sitter) PSI since 2018
National Immunization Awareness Month
August 1, 2023
Immunizations are one of the most debated subjects, and our pets are not excluded from this controversy.
Reasons for Immunizations:
1. Immunizations are available to prevent diseases in our pets, some of which can be passed onto humans or other pets. Humans can contract diseases from our pets such as Rabies, Blastomycosis (fungal infection),Psittacosis (bird derived), Trichinosis (raw food disease), Cat Scratch (Fever) Disease and Histoplasmosis (fungus derived)
2. Immunizations can avoid costly treatments for diseases. A yearly $20-30 vaccine could prevent a long-term costly disease.
3. Immunizations can prevent diseases if a pet has an encounter with infected wildlife. The chances of our pets coming in contact with infected wildlife can happen, possibly without our acknowledgment or in a split second given circumstances.
4. Immunizations are required by law (check your state) for your pet. Missouri requires a rabies vaccine, but some of our neighboring states do not!
5. Immunizations are required for certain forms of travel, boarding or dog daycare to prevent spread of diseases. Always check before taking your pet, as it may delay your approval for a reservation.
Dog and cat immunizations differ, of course, but there are a few that are given annually. We all should make yearly trips to the Veterinary with our pets. The overall health of a pet is not determined on our pets telling us how they feel. Without daily close observation, health issues can be missed. Immunizations are made to prevent diseases in our pets and prevent transfer to humans.
As a pet boarding provider, we are required by state law to have proof of an updated rabies vaccine for every pet we house. Bordetella is also required for most every boarding facility. This is to prevent kennel cough among dogs. Dog’s boarding from out of state should have a wellness check from a local veterinarian, as just as humans, pets can bring diseases in from other states. Missouri requires a rabies vaccination with no exemptions. All pets over 4 months old is required to have a rabies vaccination.
I am not going to lie; I have had to get the series of rabies vaccines! When we had our rescue, I was bit by a cat. The cat escaped before it could be vetted, so I was instructed to follow procedure. The shots were not painful, but the cost of the shots…about gave me a heart attack!
If a pet is older, has a health condition or is strictly an indoor cat; there are some exceptions your Veterinarian might discuss with you that might exclude an immunization. Immunizations can be determined if needed by the pet’s age, whether they live indoors only or if they are a cat or a dog.
Black Paw 101: Immunizations can be found at low-cost facilities, making them more accessible to all!
Bobbi Wilson, CPPS since 2018