You’ve planned your vacation and gotten your ducks in a row, with a professional pet sitter all lined up to care for your pets at home. But did you know you can help avoid any hiccups by helping your sitter out with some valuable information? Here are 15 items to check, that your pet sitter wishes all clients knew:
1. Get ID on your pets
Make sure your pet either is microchipped, or has a physical ID on his collar, or, preferably, both. In case your pet somehow goes missing, ID is imperative to get him home quickly. Include your address and phone number. Some sitters even provide temporary ID’s with their phone number. It’s all helpful.
2. Leave leash , poop bags & collar out in an obvious location.
If you want them put away, tell your sitter where they’ll be, and leave them there. Having to look for these items is frustrating for any sitter.
3. Have a Vet release form & credit card on file with your vet and sitter.
If, heaven forbid, your pet needs to see a vet, make sure you have a vet release form on file at your vet, and a copy with your sitter, allowing your sitter to make decisions in your absence. Some vets won’t perform certain procedures without your consent. Also a credit card on file there and with your sitter is helpful in case extra services accrue.
4. Leave vet phone number.
5. Leave written instructions for diet and meds.
Most sitters take copious notes, but it’s nice to cross reference in case there are any new changes to diet or medications.
6. Leave paper towels , cleaning supplies & soap handy.
Nothing’s worse than having to clean up a mess with wiggly pups and we can’t find anything to clean with. These are the bare necessities.
7. Hide a key outside or in a lockbox.
In case your sitter gets locked out, or something happens with their key (broken, lost), it’s a good idea to have it either hidden, locked in a lockbox, or with a trusted neighbor.
8. Enlist the help of a trusted neighbor /friend for backup.
Many sitters are solo, and don’t have a staff of sitters for backup in an emergency. Best to provide a name and number of a trusted friend just in case. This is also helpful in case of natural disaster, like wildfire evacuations. Pet sitters are usually very busy organizing multiple evacuations, so a neighbors’ help is huge at times like this.
9. Sign a contract with your sitter.
A legal service contract protects both you and sitter, as there are many nuances and situations that can come up. Good to have all your bases covered. Most of these points in this article are included in a contract.
10. See your vet for a checkup at least a week before you leave.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat dogs that have some illness or chronic issue that’s gone neglected far too long. This make our job more stressful, and jips your pet of playtime or walks, since we have to spend extra time medicating or treating your pet, medically.
11. Go over alarm instructions and have the sitter practice it in front of you.
Experienced sitters know most alarm systems, but best to have us do it once to make sure we have it right. Also, let us know your password, in case the alarm goes off and alarm company calls.
12. Schedule trial run visit if needed.
If your dog is aggressive, hard to handle, or cat doesn’t like being medicated, schedule a trial run way before your trip, in case the sitter would rather decline the job. Then, you’ll have plenty of time to hire someone else. Also another trial run right before your trip is ideal so your pet will remember the sitter.
13. Leave a number where you can be reached.
Important, in case there is no cell signal where you will be.
14. Be honest about your pets’ behavior.
Be respectful and let your sitter know if your pet has ever bitten any person or animal in the past. This gives us time to decide if we would rather turn down the job. When you are out of town, it’s not fair to your sitter to be surprised by pets bad behaviour. Some sitters add clauses in their contract allowing them to kennel aggressive pets at their discretion if necessary.
15. Are there any known loose dogs/problematic neighbors?
This is important information for your sitter to know, so we can be on the lookout for potential aggression/problems around the corner.
One more thing as a bonus: Ask your sitter if they have any questions/concerns/needs before you leave. Open and honest communication is key to a successful sitter relationship and happy vacations for you!