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Kansas State University
128 Dole Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506
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Source: Susan Nelson, 785-532-5690,
News release prepared by: Shelby Haag, 785-532-6415,

Thursday, Feb. 28, 2008


MANHATTAN -- A pet sitter can be an option when a pet owner must be away from home for work, vacation, emergency or other reasons and doesn't want to leave the pet in a boarding kennel.

While a kind neighbor or nearby family member may be up to the task, Dr. Susan Nelson, veterinarian and clinical assistant professor at Kansas State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, says there are some things a pet owner should keep in mind when choosing a pet sitter.

Nelson recommends pet owners consider the following when choosing a pet sitter:

* Having the pet sitter come to your home to meet your pet prior to the sitting so you can observe how sitter and pet interact.

* Asking what services the sitter offers, such as in-home grooming, walking, training and playtime.

* What training has the sitter received.

* If the pet sitter can provide written proof of insurance and or if they are bonded.

* Asking for a list of other clients as references.

* If the sitter associated with a veterinarian and if the sitter is willing to use your veterinarian for emergency.

* If the sitter has an experienced backup?

* If the sitter comfortable and experienced at giving medications and/or injections, if needed.

* How often will the sitter check on your pet and if you will require any other house-sitting duties.

* Asking for a written service contract that spells out the sitter's services and fees.

Nelson also said pet owners have their own responsibilities in make sure the pet- sitting goes smoothly, including:

* Making reservations with a pet sitter early to avoid rushed last-minute decisions.

* Making sure the pet is well socialized and accustomed to allowing strangers to handle it.

* Maintaining current identification tags and vaccinations for the pet, as well as past and current medication information in case a trip to the veterinarian arises.

* Leaving clear instructions detailing the sitter's specific responsibilities, as well as any medications the pet may need.

* Keeping food and supplies in one place, along with extras.

* Leaving a house key with a trusted neighbor as a back-up precaution.

* Showing the pet sitter the home's important safety features such the circuit breaker and security system.

* Providing written authorization for the pet sitter to act on your behalf in case of needed medical treatment.

* Discussing your wishes with the pet sitter in the event of the death of your pet.

* Leaving your complete contact information and contact information of another family member with the sitter.