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Articles and Advice from our Pet Expert

Find the Right Pet Sitter to Reduce Vacation Stress and Mess

Spring fever is in full gear and with thoughts turning toward warmth and sunshine comes the desire to take a weekend trip or overdue vacation. While more people than ever before are taking their pets on vacation with them, some pets will need stay put and “hold down the home-front.”

But gone are the days when pet owners would leave Fido or Fluffy home alone with an overflowing bowl of food and an extra water dish. While some pets may be treated to their own “vacation” at a fur-bulous pet spa, resort or caring kennel, many pet owners turn to the services of a professional pet sitter so their animals can stay in their familiar home environment, maintain their normal diet and exercise routine and yet still be attended to by experienced caretakers.

If you are headed off for a little “R & R” this spring, finding a reliable pet sitter will ease your worries about leaving your pet behind. You can easily locate a sitter that services your area by visiting the Official Pet Sitter Locator at, a tool that allows you to search by zip code, type of pet and services needed.

Patti Moran, who is considered to be the pioneer of the pet-sitting industry, wrote the first book on the topic—Pet Sitting for Profit—and founded the educational association Pet Sitters International. Moran cautions that finding the right pet sitter to provide in-home pet-care services requires a well-spent investment of time and advises pet owners to allow time to do the necessary phone interviews, conduct an in-home meeting, and thoroughly check references on those you are considering hiring.

For more information about hiring a professional pet sitter check out 10 tips for finding a top-notch professional and for a list of additional questions to ask, view the complete Pet-Sitter Interview Checklist.

If you and your pet already have found a trusted sitter, don’t forget to take a moment to thank him or her during National Professional Pet Sitters Week, March 6-12!

Concerned about what mess you will come home to find?

Unfortunately, even if you leave Fido and Fluffy with the perfect pet sitter as you head off on vacation, they may not pleased about your absence. The anxiety and stress of “losing” you—even if it‘s just for a short period of time—may cause your pet to create or leave a mess in the house – not exactly what you want to encounter when you return.

The good news? Professional pet sitters have the experience and knowledge to handle all types of situations that may occur while you’re away—including cleaning up huge messes! When arranging for pet-care services, be sure to discuss clean-up with your pet sitter—and let her know if you’d like her to use your cleaning supplies or provide her own.

With a little forethought and a few secret weapons, you can make sure your sitter has all the clean-up tools necessary to care for your pet while you are away:

  • Be prepared with the basics – Let your sitter know where to find cleaning supplies or put together a cleaning tote for quick clean-up. Include cleaners, paper towels, plastic grocery bags, sponges, scrubbers, broom, dustpan, mop and vacuum. Arming your sitter with tools for immediate clean-up will help lessen the time that a mess “sits” on your carpeting or furniture.
  • Use cleaning solutions designed for pet messesBISSELL’s Pet Stain & Odor Remover allows pet owners and sitters to safely clean carpet, upholstery and water-safe surfaces with no harsh chemicals that will harm pets.
  • Scoop well, and often – No one enjoys cleaning the litter box, but scooping it thoroughly and often will help keep your cat from trying find a clean spot in the box or somewhere else entirely to relieve itself. Be sure to leave extra litter and a litter scoop for your sitter so she can easily clean and add more litter if necessary.
  • Invest in a hands-free deep cleaner– The BISSELL SpotBot Pet is a portable deep cleaning machine for hands-free removal of pet stains from carpet and upholstery. It is fully automatic and has two cleaning cycles for either surface or set-in stains— perfect for the unexpected accident. “I can tell you that in my own home, with four dogs—one of which is a puppy and another male that occasionally likes to mark, I love my SpotBot,” says pet sitting pro Moran.

Finding the professional pet sitter that is best for you and your pet can make that Spring Break trip exactly what it is supposed to be—stress relieving and fun! Coming home to a clean home free of pet messes is icing on the proverbial cake!

Kristen Buck60x60

Written by:
Kristen Levine, Pet Lifestyle Expert

March 22, 2011

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