By: Rebecca Rose, In Clover founder and product developer

Did you know that March 7-13, 2010 marks the celebration of Professional Pet Sitters Week? Introduced by Pet Sitters International (PSI) in 1995, this international campaign educates pet owners about the advantages of in-home pet care and encourages the public to explore professional pet sitting as a viable and rewarding career opportunity.

For pet owners, at-home pet sitting provides a unique alternative to boarding facilities or having to rely on family and neighbors to check in on their pets. Pet sitting goes beyond simply feeding and caring for pets.  Professional pet-sitting services often provide dog walking, care of special needs pets, pet transportation and pooper-scooper services, in addition to basic pet care.

Whether you are traveling or simply working long hours, a pet sitter can provide you with peace of mind that your pets are being exercised, fed, petted and cared for in your absence. How can you make sure you choose the right pet sitter for your beloved pets?

When searching for a pet sitter, PSI recommends asking these questions:

  • Is the pet sitter insured and bonded?
  • Does the pet sitter have a clean criminal history?
  • Does the pet sitter offer to meet with you and your pets in advance?
  • How much experience does the pet sitter have caring for your particular kind of pet?
  • How much time does the pet sitter spend in your home to care for your pets?
  • Does the pet sitter provide references?
  • Does the pet sitter use a pet-sitting contract?
  • What training or Accreditation does the pet sitter have?
  • Does the pet sitter belong to a professional pet-sitter organization?

For a complete list of pet-sitter interview questions and tips, visit petsit.com/locate.

In Clover note: Resources for pet owners and professional pet sitters are available on a national and local level. Here are few additional sites to explore: