What a Pet Sitter Needs

If you’re traveling this holiday season, you might have booked a pet sitter to take care of your furry (or feathered) friends while you’re gone.  If you feel anxious about leaving your buddies behind, you can help your sitter have a successful experience caring for your loved ones.  Whether your sitter will be visiting your home, or your pets will be staying at their place, here are some helpful tips:

Before you leave:

  • Have your sitter visit your home and meet your pets.  Be mindful of how they interact with each other, and how your pets react to this person
  • While they’re visiting, give them a house key if they will be coming over to care for your pets.  Explain any alarm codes, and be sure you have contact numbers for your vet and the nearest vet emergency hospital on display.  If you have an insurance card for your pet, show where that is
  • If your pet will need any medication, explain the process to your sitter
  • If your dog will be staying with them, and they also have a dog, arrange for a playdate for the two of them so you can both see how they get along

What to tell your sitter:

  • How much food to give them, and if special considerations apply (for example, if you feed them in separate rooms, one of your pets tends to eat more slowly than the other)
  • How much exercise your pets will need
  • How to keep your pet happy.  Do they like a play session in the morning?  At night?  Tell your sitter how best to bond and make friends with your pets
  • Where your dog likes to go for walks.  Do they have a specific route?
  • Will they need to be groomed?  If so, show the sitter how, and give them the brushes or combs needed
  • Your pet’s personality.  Do they fear loud noises?  Do they hide when visitors come over?  Let your sitter know who your pets are
  • House rules.  If your pets aren’t allowed on furniture at home, don’t let them start bad habits during their stay with the sitter – but be sure to bring their bed so they’re comfortable
  • Your communication preferences.  Do you want to hear from your sitter every few days?  Every day?  Once a week?  Set your expectations in advance so there’s no wondering and worrying about what’s going on with your pets

What to give your sitter:

  • Blankets and bedding, toys, medications, and pet insurance card (if your pet is staying with your sitter)
  • Their food and treats
  • Waste bags (for walking dogs, or for cleaning litter boxes)
  • All contact info.  Not just your cell phone, but an itinerary that lists hotel names, dates of stay, and hotel phone numbers or phone numbers of family members with whom you’re staying, in case you have cell phone problems

Leaving beloved pets behind when you travel always pulls at the heartstrings and makes you worry a bit, but when you’ve provided everything your sitter will need, you’ll know your pets will be in good hands.

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