Top Tips For Selecting Pet Care For Senior Pets
November 06, 2017 • Health & Wellness
November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month, a time when pet advocates across the nation will encourage people to open their homes to senior pets. Senior pets bring special joy to their owners, but they also have special needs, and pet owners may wonder who will be able to provide quality care for their senior pets when work or travel keep them from home.
Fortunately, there are professional pet-care options for pet owners who need someone to provide care while they are traveling for work or pleasure—or when their schedules prevent them from regularly exercising their pets. Pet Sitters International (PSI), the world’s largest educational association for professional pet sitters, advises pet owners that using the services of a professional pet sitter can ensure their senior pets maintain a healthy routine.
“Physical and mental exercise is critically important for senior dogs and cats, as it keeps them entertained and helps them burn excess calories,” explains PSI President and Founder Patti J. Moran. “Professional pet sitters can ensure that senior pets benefit from regular physical and mental activity, even when their owners are away.”
Pet owners should be sure they do their homework to ensure they are hiring true professionals to care for their pets.
“Senior pets make excellent companions, but it is important that pet owners—and anyone they entrust with their pet’s care—be knowledgeable of the specific needs of senior pets, tuning into even the most subtle of changes,” explains Denise Fleck, author of The Autumn & Winter of Your Pet: Make Those Senior Years Golden.
PSI shares three important questions owners of senior pets should consider before booking pet-care services:
1. Is the person a professional pet sitter? “Often times, pet owners, and even news outlets, use the term ‘pet sitter’ carelessly, referring to anyone—from a family friend to the neighborhood teenager asked to check in on your pet—as a ‘pet sitter,’” explains Moran. “It is important that pet owners understand that pet sitting is a professional career and professional pet sitters offer peace of mind that other pet-care options cannot.”
PSI advises pet owners to ask seven important questions of any potential pet sitter. The questions are outlined in PSI's free Pet-Sitter Interview Checklist.
2. Does the sitter have experience caring for senior pets? “Just as some people are ‘dog people’ and others are ‘cat’ or ‘bird’ people, there’s no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to finding the right pet sitter to meet the specific needs of you and your pet,” Moran advises. “Pet owners should inquire about a potential pet sitter’s experience with senior pets and any specific training they’ve had, such as Pet First Aid & CPR or if she’s earned the CPPS-Certified Professional Pet Sitter® designation.”
3. What exercises/activities will the pet sitter complete with the senior pet? Pet owners, in consultation with their veterinarians, should know their senior pets' specific mobility concerns and exercise needs. This is an important topic to discuss with any pet sitter, including how much time the pet sitter would be able to spend with pets on visits and what type of activities should be involved.
PSI also recommends that pet owners schedule an initial consultation with a potential pet sitter prior to booking services and provides pet owners with access to the largest online directory of professional pet sitters free-of-charge.
About Pet Sitters International
Founded in 1994 by Patti J. Moran, author of Pet Sitting for Profit, Pet Sitters International (PSI) is the world’s largest educational association for professional pet sitters, with member pet-sitting businesses in the United States, Canada and more than 20 other countries. PSI members have access to the widest array of business services and educational resources available in the professional pet-sitting industry. PSI’s Official Pet Sitter Locator is the largest online directory of professional pet sitters, and pet owners can visit petsit.com/locate to find local professional pet sitters.
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