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Families today have embraced all types of pets – from the traditional dogs and cats to the more exotic iguanas – as family members. As a result of the increase of different types of pets, pet parents require professional pet sitters that have specific experience and specialized knowledge in how to care for different types of animals.

Be aware, however, that a professional pet sitter may accept clients with many different types of pets, but you as the pet parent may have to provide instruction on how to care for that particular type of pet.

Some pet sitting companies cater specifically to those with dogs and cats. However, many realize the demand for professional pet sitters by those with other types of pets, including:

Dogs

Dogs are arguably the most popular pet in the United States. A professional pet sitter who cares for dogs should have experience with canines and may even have completed dog training or dog obedience courses so she knows how to properly handle dogs and to deal with situations as they arise.

Cats

Cats occupy the second spot for the most popular pets in the United States. Some people keep their cats strictly indoors; others are outdoors, while some are both indoor and outdoor cats. Be sure to leave your professional pet sitter with specific instructions on how to care for your cats, and whether or not they are allowed outside.

Rabbits

Often cited as the third most popular pet in the United States behind dogs and cats, rabbits require specialized care and are high maintenance animals. Look for a pet sitter who has experience caring for rabbits or who is willing to learn as illness can strike very quickly and a rabbit who stops eating can die within 24 hours. Make sure you leave phone numbers for a rabbit-savvy veterinarian and an emergency veterinarian should your rabbit get sick when you are gone.

Small Animals

Small animals may not be as high maintenance as their larger counterparts but they require the same care and commitment from a professional pet sitter. Small animals may include guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, ferrets, sugar gliders, and chinchillas. If your professional pet sitter isn’t familiar with how to care for your small animal, leave her detailed instructions as to the specific care your pet needs.

Birds

From small birds like parakeets to the larger parrots, birds have found their way into the hearts of families across the country. Birds also have specialized needs – such as free fly time – so make sure you choose a professional pet sitter who is willing to give your bird the exercise she needs, if applicable, and who will care for your bird to your exact specifications.

Reptiles

Turtles, lizards, geckos, snakes, iguanas…all types of reptiles have become today’s pets. Find a professional pet sitter who is willing to care for your reptile and – if she’s never cared for one before – who is willing to learn, by following your instructions, how to care for your pet.

What type of pets do you have?