While many of us wish that we could take our pets with us everywhere we go, sometimes it’s just not possible. That’s when we have to turn to others for help in watching our beloved pets. Hiring an experienced pet sitter (be it a friend, neighbor, or professional) to stay at your home can help make time away from home a little less stressful for everyone and put both you and your pet’s mind at ease. But, to make certain that everything goes smoothly, there are a few things that you should do before you hit the road.
If you have to leave your furry friends behind, we’ve put together a complete pet sitter checklist to make sure that both your pet and sitter stay happy and healthy while you’re away:
Create a folder with all essential information in the event of an emergency. This should include:
- A pet care safety plan that lists emergency contacts, including your veterinarian, local police, poison control, and a history of health concerns for your pet.
- A list of any and all of your pet’s medications.
- A copy of your pet’s immunization history.
- Your pet’s microchip information.
- Your pet insurance card, if applicable.
- Your local government registration number.
- A clear and recent photo of your pet.
Take the time to fill your pet sitter in on all relevant information concerning your pet and his or her personality as well as routine. You know them best, so this exchange of information will better help the sitter care for your pet while you’re away. You should discuss:
- Your pet’s daily routines.
- If your pet is on a prescription of some kind, how and when to administer each of your pet’s medications.
- Your pet’s daily food intake, including dry food, wet food and/or treats and where you keep them.
- Your pet’s favorite games and toys and where you keep them.
- Your pet’s personality. For example, do they get along with other animals and people? Does he or she have any anxieties or fears towards people, objects or sounds?
- Your pet’s favorite hiding spots, walking spots, parks, etc.
Stock up on all supplies that will be needed. Make sure you have enough food, clean water, treats, etc. to get your little buddy through the entirety of your absence with extra to spare. You should have the following ready and on-hand:
- Food (dry food, wet food and treats) as well as clean bowls that are easy to get to.
- Any and all medications with specific instructions on when and how much to give.
- Harnesses and leashes.
- ID tags.
- Grooming supplies, such as shampoo, brushes, toothbrushes and toothpaste when necessary.
- Cleaning supplies, such as paper towels, cleaners and doggie bags to clean up messes while walking.
- Their carrier, if needed, or just to have on-hand in the event of an emergency.
Prepare your home and pet for your departure. This means taking care of any potential safety hazards and spending some quality one-on-one time with your beloved companion to get them ready to handle a few days without you. Your final preparations should include the following:
- Lock up all valuables in a safe, hidden location, and remember, this is not just to hide them from possible intruders; it’s to make sure your pet can’t get ahold of them and choke or get sick.
- Close off areas of the house where you don’t want your pet to go.
- Make sure all hazardous products, including cleaning supplies, insect repellant, weed killers, rat poison, medicines, etc. are out of your pet’s reach.
- Check your backyard fence for any holes, and secure all gates to make sure your pup can’t get out.
- Introduce your pet sitter to your pet before leaving to make sure that everyone gets along.
A little preparation can make all of the difference when it comes to leaving your pet alone with a sitter. So, take the time to go through your checklist, and make sure that both you and your pet feel at ease.