Fortunately, many professional pet sitters now offer care for pot-bellied pigs. Whether you need someone to simply feed your pet pig or take it for a stroll, a local professional pet sitter can offer peace of mind that other pet-care options cannot. Professional pet sitters provide pet care at the client’s home or property, allowing pets to maintain healthy routines in the comfort of their own home environments.
But selecting the right pet sitter to meet your family’s specific pet-care needs can take time. With numerous pet-care directory sites popping up in the last couple of years, anyone can post a profile online advertising pet-sitting services—whether they have experience and credentials or not. Pet owners should make sure that they are hiring true professionals before letting them have access to their homes and pets.
Pet Sitters International (PSI), the world’s largest educational association for professional pet sitters, recommends that pet owners schedule an initial consultation with a potential pet sitter before booking services.
“But what questions should I ask?” the owner of a pet pig may wonder.
PSI advises pet owners to ask seven important questions when interviewing a potential pet sitter:
- Does the pet sitter have the proper business license for your city or state, if required?
- Is the pet sitter insured and bonded?
- Can the pet sitter provide proof of clear criminal history?
- Does the pet sitter provide client references?
- Will the pet sitter use a pet-sitting services agreement or contract?
- Is the pet sitter a Certified Professional Pet Sitter™ and/or has he or she participated in other pet-care training, such as pet first aid?
- Is the pet sitter a member of a professional and educational association, such as Pet Sitters International?
In addition to asking these questions, Alisha Tomlinson, PSI member and owner of Heavy Petting Pet Sitting in North Carolina, advises that it is also important that owners of pet pigs provide some specific information to any pet sitter they decide to use. Tomlinson encourages owners to explain the pig’s exact routine to the pet sitter, indicate how much food the pig should receive, and where it is okay to touch the pig.
Sarah Palmeri, owner of The Sitters in Massachusetts—and also a PSI member—recommends that it is also important for the pig’s owner to share if it is potty-trained, is allowed both indoors and outdoors, what commands the pig is familiar with and, of course, what the pig’s favorite treat is.
PSI has found that its professional pet-sitting members adjust and expand their services to meet the needs of their pet-owning clients. A pet owner should ask if a potential pet sitter has experience caring for pot-bellied pigs, but even if the professional pet sitter’s answer is no, the pet owner may still decide to book services based on the pet sitter’s reputation and level of experience and training in the pet-care industry.
Oftentimes, professional pet sitters without “pig expertise” are able to quickly adapt to a pig’s routine and follow the care plan when given detailed instructions by the owner—or with a “trial run” before the actual pig-sitting services are needed.
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. In addition to asking the seven questions suggested above, make sure any potential pet sitter meets you—and your pig—in person before securing services.
Finding a professional pet sitter to provide the right pet-care services requires an investment of time—time to do phone interviews, conduct an in-your-home meeting and thoroughly check references on those you’re considering hiring. But, once you find that perfect professional pet sitter, you’ll have peace of mind—and your pig will be in “hog heaven!”
PSI provides pet owners with free access to its Pet Sitter Locator, allowing you to search for local professional pet sitters free of charge at petsit.com/locate.
While PSI recommends a professional pet sitter when vacation or work keep you from home, there’s one week we recommend bringing your pig with you—during the annual Take Your Pet To Work Week™! To learn more about this annual event that celebrates pets and promotes adoptions, visit the PSI website.