I have here in front of me the magazine published by Pet Sitters International and it has some interesting stats and figures from 2017 on why people use a professional pet sitter. So without further ado the top six reasons people said they used a professional pet sitter in 2017.
1. Peace of Mind
66.2% of people surveyed said they used a professional pet sitter because they felt more comfortable leaving them in the hands of a pet care professional than trusting a friend, neighbor, or the kid next door. Peace of mind is the commodity that we really sell. Pet sitting and dog walking is the service we provide but peace of mind is why people seek out professional pet care.
2. Well-Being of Pet
60.6% of those surveyed gave this as one of their answers (as we are now well over 100% I'm guessing people were allowed to pick multiple reasons). Well-being of pet has more to do with mental and physical health over what harm could become them. With the canine influenza raging in some parts of the country and kennel cough always a concern for dogs and not to mention any clustering of animals increases the risk for disease. Kennels and boarding facilities are by their nature a place where animals are at risk to be exposed to illness. Kennels and boarding facilities can also be quite stressful to dogs and cats and can be even worse for those that already have some level of anxiety. Staying in a familiar location by themselves or with their close pack mates is going to be a less stress and healthier alternative to boarding.
58.2% of those surveyed gave this answer. PSI extends this by saying not having to rely on a friend or neighbor but that is more being a burden on someone else rather than personal convenience. When I see the term convenience and apply it to pet sitting and dog walking services I think of how I personally like to get an early start to beat traffic. If I had to board my pets I would take them the night before I was to leave so I could still get an early start but that is inconvenient in its own way. If I were to wait until the morning of with most boarding facilities not opening until 7:00 or 8:00 AM I am going to end up in the teeth of traffic on busy travel days. This also ties into dog walking with doggy day care drop off being at a later time and perhaps not on the immediate way to someone's office. No matter where the doggy daycare is located time is going to be added to a commute and I remember how much I enjoyed commuting in traffic when I had an office job. More of it is the last thing I'd want.
4. Additional Services
28% of people surveyed appreciate all the little things we do. What we call basic house sitting task like bringing in the mail, trash to and from the curb, and rotating of lights and blinds. We have been asked to do other sort of little tasks for people while they've been out of town. My favorite is one time while I was taking care of a couple of cats I was asked to take a picture of a day-planner and text it to the client because they forgot if they had an appointment on a certain date and needed to know right then. We have also had clients call us in the middle of thunderstorms because they'd locked themselves outside and we were the only ones with a key that they could get a hold of.
23% of those surveyed listed pricing as determining factor in choosing a professional pet sitter. This is an interesting one for us because our pricing varies on the level of pet sitting or dog walking service a person would like. We do have mid-day dog walking clients that want or need multiple visits a day and we have pet sitting clients that want an overnight plus multiple visits a day. For those clients and for most with only one pet we are not going to be any cheaper and are more expensive than boarding. However for clients with multiple pets and especially multi-species pets we are going to come in cheaper than the alternatives. Our most popular vacation pet sitting service is three 30 minute visits a day and that comes in at $58 a day where at one popular local kennel you're going to pay $76 for two large dogs. Our prices are only by the time so it is no different for two, three, four or even more dogs. We had a house with seven dogs once and we charged them the same rate we would have for a house with one or two dogs because it took us the same amount of time to take care of them.
6. Crime Deterrence
15% of those surveyed used a professional pet sitter because it would help prevent a break in. Note the pet sitter isn't what is preventing the break-in nor is making the house looked lived in. While having a driveway free of newspapers and trash cans taken to and from the curb at time and lights rotated will make it less obvious someone is out of town the real deterrent to the break-in is the loud, furry, barking thing living in the home. In this 2017 Guardian article the sound of a barking dog was listed as the number 2 deterrent to potential burglars. So if your dog is at the boarding facility for the week and you forgot to stop the paper and mail and all the lights are off the chance for a break-in is higher than if their are no obvious signs anyone is out of town and there happens to be a barking dog inside.
There you have it. The top six reasons pet owners hired pet professionals to provide pet sitting and dog walking services in 2017. If you have any other reasons we'd love to hear them in the comment section and if you haven't tried out the services of a professional pet sitter or dog walker do ahead and give us a call.