Pet boarding/sitting tips from the BBB

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- We're right in the middle of the busy summer vacation season. And while some people opt to take their beloved pets on vacation with them, some can't do that.

The Better Business Bureau of Arizona offers several tips for pet owners to think about during the vacation season.

Make an appointment to visit the boarding facility. You should spend some time to observe how staff interacts with boarded pets. Also, ask about veterinary services if your pet gets sick.

And for those who opt for in-home pet sitting, be sure to check them out first.

"You have to make sure you're comfortable with that individual that will be in your home while you're not there," says the BBB’s Felicia Thompson. "So it's really important to find out if that pet-sitting company has done background checks on its employees or what the due diligence is to make sure not only your pet is protected but your possessions are protected."

The BBB has these additional tips for choosing a pet boarding/sitting service:

- Call to see if the facility can accommodate your pet’s needs. During busy periods and holiday seasons, a facility may have limited availability.

- Make an appointment to visit the facility. Does it look and smell clean? Is the facility free of odors, dirt, and flea or tick infestation? Check the lighting, temperature control, bedding, sleeping quarters and exercise area.

- Observe how the staff interacts with the boarded pets.

- Determine the facility’s requirements for pet immunizations.

- Make sure your pet has appropriate access to water and food.

- Ask questions about supervision to determine how frequently someone checks on your pet to determine your pet’s well-being.

- Inquire about the facility’s procedures should your pet become ill. Question how veterinary services are chosen should your pet require medical services.

The BBB also offers the following tips when choosing an in-home pet sitter:

- Schedule an appointment to meet with the pet sitter and determine if there is a charge for this meeting. Have a list of questions to ask the individual.

- Observe the pet-sitter with your pets. Are they comfortable with them?

- Inquire about the agency’s and the individual’s pet-sitting experience.

- Determine if the pet-sitter is bonded and insured; ask for proof of coverage.

- Inquire whether the pet-sitting service performs a criminal background check on its employees.

- Ask for references; follow up and check with those references.

- Ask how the pet-sitter deals with an animal’s illness. Determine if they have a way to transport your pets should medical services be required.

- Check the company’s record with BBB by visiting or by calling 602-264-1721.