Three Important Steps To Prepare For Your Pet Sitter

Leaving your pet at home while you travel can be stressful for both of you! But there are steps you can take to make your absence go more smoothly.

Woman playing with a Cocker Spaniel puppy

Although difficult, sometimes it is necessary to travel without your pet. Whether you hire a professional or have a friend or family member stay with your pet, what can you do to prepare for your pet sitter?

LEARN MORE ⇒ Tips for finding a good pet sitter

Woman snuggling calico cat in veranda

First step: prepare your animal for the pet sitter

Finding the right person to stay with your pet while you’re away will help ease a lot of anxiety. If you’re still looking for that person, check out our tips for choosing the best pet sitter.

Once you have an excellent keeper lined up, it’s important to make your reservations well in advance. Good pet sitters have busy schedules, and booking early will ensure you have the sitter you prefer.

When your trip is booked, but before you leave, it’s worth allowing time for your pet and sitter to get to know each other. Pay the security guard to stop for 15 minutes a few times in the week or two before your trip. Knowing that your pet is happy to see the sitter arrive will bring you a lot of comfort while you’re away.

If the sitter walks your dog, plan to take a short walk around the neighborhood together. List all of your dog’s favorite places. And if all goes well, give the leash to the keeper on the way back.

Finally, make sure your pet’s ID tag is up to date and securely attached to its collar.

Smiling woman with happy Cocker Spaniel puppy with a ball

Step two: prepare your house for the pet sitter

You can prevent accidents and make things easier for your pet sitter by preparing your home before you leave.

Start by putting away any toys that could pose a choking hazard while your dog is left alone. Also put away anything your dog might be tempted to chew on and shouldn’t chew on, such as pillows, plants, shoes, and trash.

Next, place everything your pet sitter will need for your pet while you’re away in a place that’s easy to find, but out of your pet’s reach. Be sure to leave plenty of food, medicine, treats, garbage bags, cleaning supplies, and a pet first aid kit.

Take out your dog’s bowls, leash and toys while you’re away. Also let your caretaker know where their carrier or crate is, in case of an emergency.

Make sure your yard is secure and anything that could hurt your pet is put away. If your yard isn’t completely secure, make sure your sitter knows not to let your dog out unless he’s on a leash.

Close-up of a smiling brown cocker spaniel puppy

Step Three: Prepare written instructions for your pet sitter

Expecting your pet sitter to remember your pet’s detailed care instructions is too much to ask. Instead, prepare post-it notes, a journal, or index cards with the information she’ll need to keep your pet healthy and happy.

Respect the schedule

Pets find comfort in routine. You do not believe me ? Try serving your pet dinner 15 minutes late! Keeping things consistent while you’re away can help ease the anxiety your pet feels while you’re away.

You can help prepare your pet sitter to meet your pet’s schedule by writing it down. For a few days before you leave, pay attention to the details of your pet’s habits and take a few notes to leave with your sitter.

Pet Personality Profile

Pets all have their unique personalities and likes and dislikes. For example, if your pet is a cuddler, it’s a good idea to let your sitter know they’re expecting a buddy when they settle down on the couch.

Female pet sitter and dog snuggling on sofa

Other pets might only be interested in affection if you have a treat in your hand. Preparing your pet sitter with some information about your pet’s personality and preferences will let them know what to expect. It might also help him recognize if your pet’s behavior is abnormal, indicating that something more serious might be affecting him.

Strike out the rules

Just like children, pets will test if the rules still apply while you’re away. Make sure the sitter knows if you want your pup to be on the couch, sleeping in your bed, or sharing dinner from the table.

8 things to leave to your pet sitter

Of course, you do to leave the written instructions you have gathered. Also, don’t forget to prepare these things for your pet sitter:

  1. Your emergency contact details and travel itinerary.
  2. Your pet’s veterinarian’s phone number and address, along with their vaccination records, medication doses, schedule and special tricks you use to administer the medications, and your pet’s insurance card animal. Also contact the veterinarian’s office to let them know that your pet sitter is licensed to care for your pet.
  3. At least two names and phone numbers of people you trust to make decisions about your pet in case you cannot be reached. (Be sure to ask these people ahead of time!)
  4. Alarm codes and a spare key. When the keypad batteries are exhausted, there is no way to open the door without a key. As an extra backup, leave a key with a neighbor.
  5. Food and treat instructions, including portion sizes, the number of meals and treats your pet eats per day, and what times they are usually fed. Also let your sitter know if there are any foods they absolutely cannot eat due to allergies or other reasons.
  6. Leave your pet sitter a map showing your dog’s favorite walking routes and favorite places to visit. Let him know approximately how long you spend on your hikes and what gear (leash, harness, treats) you use.
  7. If your pet is playing in the yard, let your sitter know how it works. Should time spent outdoors be monitored? Will your dog expect him to throw the Frisbee or the ball? And how long does your dog plan to play outside?
  8. If your pet sitter is staying with you, let them know where to sleep, how to run your TV, how to run the heating/air conditioning, and if you’re comfortable having other guests in your home.

Don’t make a fuss

While leaving your pet behind can break your heart, sobbing and whining will only create anxiety for your pet. Take a quick walk or play a game of fetch and when it’s time to go, keep your start relaxed.

The goal is to fix these details in advance so your pet won’t even notice you’re gone!

This post was written for Richard, who is about to travel without his dog for ten days. He can’t wait for his daughter to stay with her spoiled pooch and asked us for some tips to make things easier for both of them. Do you have any additional suggestions that might help?

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