With sickness and/or hospitalization due to COVID-19 looming as a real possibility for many pet owners in the United States and across the world, Pet Sitters International (PSI) is encouraging pet owners to plan ahead for pet-care arrangements, just in case.
PSI, the world’s largest educational association for professional pet sitters and dog walkers, encourages pet parents to contact their local professional pet sitter to discuss their pet-care plan. Those in need of a professional pet sitter can visit petsit.com/locate to search by ZIP/postal code for a pet sitter in their area.
“Pet parents—particularly those who live alone—should have a plan in place to ensure their pets are cared for in the event that they become seriously ill or hospitalized due to COVID-19—or any other illness, for that matter,” said Beth Stultz-Hairston, president of PSI. “While no one wants to think about emergencies or illness, it is wise to always have a plan in place for the safety and protection of your pets.”
Professional pet sitters have long asked clients to provide emergency contacts and to fill out Emergency Pet Guardianship documents in the unlikely event they were delayed or unable to return home from work or travel, but now professional pet-sitting businesses are also working with clients to determine a plan of action if they were to fall ill from COVID-19 and/or be hospitalized. Pet owners should check with their pet sitters to see if they would be available to care for their pets in that situation and to finalize a plan, including how frequently pets should be visited, payment plan, who would care for the pets long-term if needed, etc.
PSI member Laura Stauffiger, owner of Laura’s Critter Care, LLC, in Amherst, New York, said, “My business is on standby for any clients that have requested pet care should they become ill/hospitalized. All clients are in our client software portal with credit cards on file.”
Jeanne Crockett, PSI’s 2020 Pet Sitter of the Year™ and owner of Crockett’s Critter Care in New Bern, N.C., said, “I would also ask clients to update their pet information for my records—including vaccine history, any medications, and where pet supplies and food are currently kept. I would also advise clients to keep some emergency cash somewhere so the pet sitter can purchase additional food if needed immediately.”
For pet owners who are in good health but still need pet care, many professional pet-sitting services are still available to provide essential services where permitted, whether clients need someone to walk their dogs while they work long hours or need someone to pick up pet food or take their pets to the vet.
“During this time of global uncertainty, professional pet sitters and dog walkers continue offering vital services in their local communities, providing pet owners with peace of mind that their pets are receiving the best care,” Stultz-Hairston said.