When you travel as a pet parent, you have extra things to consider besides packing your suitcase. If your furry friend can't join you on your vacation, naturally, you want to find someone reliable to care for them. Finding good pet boarding options is one possibility, or you can hire a pet sitter.
If you decide to get a pet sitter to care for your dog or cat, proper preparations can help things go smoothly. Preparing your house for a pet sitter is especially crucial when it’s the first time you’re using them. You want to ensure they have everything they need, including access to emergency numbers. It’s also important to leave them clear notes about your pet’s diet, routine, and medical information.
Hiring a pet sitter or a house sitter is a great way to ensure your pet stays safe and happy while you're away. It also allows your pet to remain in their element, at home where they're comfortable and secure.
Finding a Pet Sitter
The first step in prepping your house for a pet sitter is finding a pet sitter you trust. Sites like Rover and Bark are good places to look for professional pet services. You can also ask your vet or friends and family for recommendations.
Always check references out when searching for a pet sitter. Once you find someone you're happy with, you can book their services and plan for their arrival.
What to Do Before the Pet Sitter Arrives
Preparing your house for a pet sitter is one of the most important things you can do to make sure everything goes smoothly. You don’t want to leave things until the last minute. Otherwise, you’ll be boarding your flight, realizing you forgot to restock your dog’s food container.
Before you jet off on your traveling escapades, use this list to make sure your home is ready for a pet sitter.
Ensure You Have Enough Food and Medicine for Your Pet
Before leaving, make sure you have enough food and medicine to last your pet through your vacation. You also want to make sure there's enough to extend a few days past your return. You never know when travel plans might change, or a delayed flight may bring you home two days later than expected.
Likewise, check your stock of any other supplies your pet regularly uses, like potty pads, poop bags, treats, pet wipes, litter, etc. It's also good to have a stocked pet first-aid kit at the ready. This is also an excellent time to replace your pet's overly worn belongings to avoid any accidents or injuries.
Make It Easy to Find Your Pet’s Belongings
Create a pet station for your pet sitter to make it easy to find what they need for your dog or cat. Making your pet sitter remember where you store each and every pet item increases the chances of something getting missed.
Therefore, gather everything into one location, including your pet’s dishes, leash, treats, food, medicine, litter scoop, and other supplies. Ensure these items are still well-out of your pet's reach, so they don't help themselves to extra treats. If your dog uses a crate, leave it in an easy-to-access place.
Put Away Anything That Could Harm Your Pet
Go through your home and put away anything that could potentially harm your pet. Put away things like small toys, plants, or other things that could pose a choking hazard or be toxic. (This is good practice even when you don’t have a pet sitter.)
Also, put away any of your pet’s toys that typically require supervision. You want to limit the possibility of any problems. Basically, you want to go through the steps of kitten or puppy-proofing your home to make it as safe as possible.
Also, if there’s anything you don’t want to get broken or damaged, put it away. Tucking it away while you’re gone only takes a few moments but can save you lots of worry and stress.
Display Important Information in an Accessible Place
Leave a list of important phone numbers and other information in a prominent place. It should include your vet’s information and the number and location of the nearest animal emergency clinic. You can also include the ASPCA pet poison control hotline and at least two other contact numbers.
These other numbers could be a next-door neighbor, friend, or family member. Make sure whomever you choose to leave as a contact knows you're doing so.
Update Your Pet’s ID Tags
Verify the information on your pet’s ID tags is current. If not, make sure to get them new tags before you go.
Make a Reminder List
Leave a list of any and all reminders your pet sitter will need. The list should include your pet's routine or schedule, feeding times and amounts, and any medication dosage information. Also, include special reminders.
An example would be to remove your pet's tags when the sitter isn't home. This step helps avoid injuries if the tag catches on something while nobody is around to help.
You can also leave information for your pet sitter about things like trash pick-up days. This information is handy if they will be doubling as your house sitter.
Secure Your Backyard
If you have a cat that is not supposed to go outside, make it clear to your pet sitter. You don't want anyone ever to assume your cat comes and goes as they please
If your dog goes outside to play and potty in the backyard, ensure the yard is secure. Taking the time to do this can prevent an unfortunate doggy escape while you’re gone.
Clean Your Home
Nobody wants to stay somewhere that's smelly or unpleasant. Clean your house before you leave and make it welcoming for your sitter. Remember, they're taking care of your baby, so you want them to be comfortable and happy.
Fill Out Necessary Paperwork
Your pet sitter might have specific paperwork they want you to fill out regarding your pets. Make sure you have done so before your pet sitter arrives so they can review it and ask any questions.
Do a Walkthrough with Your Pet Sitter
If possible, arrange for the pet sitter to come over one day before you leave to meet your pet and see the house. If they’ll be doubling as your house sitter, it’s also important to show them anything they might need during their stay. For example, where to find fresh linens, extra toilet paper, how to work the remote, the Wi-Fi password, etc.
Walking through things with the pet sitter can help ensure you’re both on the same page. It’s also a good time to show them anything special about your pet.
For example, if your pet gets a particular medication, you could show them how to administer it. Or if there's a specific trick to putting on your pup's harness, etc. You can also point out any marks, lumps, or bumps on your pet, so your pet sitter knows they are pre-existing.
Time to Tell Your Pet Goodbye for a Few Days
When it’s time to say goodbye to your pet for a few days, keep your farewell short and sweet. Prolonging the moment can cause more stress for your fur baby.
Checking In with Your Pet Sitter
When you're out of town, keep your pet sitter's phone number with you. You don't want to bombard them with phone calls. But it's perfectly acceptable to check in every now and then to see how your fur babies are doing.
Keeping these tips in mind should help you rest easy when planning your next vacation. With the right preparations, your pet will be in excellent hands while you're away.
Now, all that you need to do is start packing your bags and booking your flight. Check out the rest of our blog to find even more resources and valuable info to help you be a purr-fect pet parent.