Spending time away from home is meant to be exciting and enjoyable, but the preparation leading up to a getaway can be overwhelming, especially for pet owners. Even if you have a professional, vetted pet-sitter, planning is key. Here is a planning guide designed to keep your pet comfortable and safe and give you peace of mind while you are away.
Leave the right supplies
Everyday Items Leave appropriate supplies such as collars and leashes, cat litter or waste bags, and crates and carriers. Make sure you provide extra food and water, medications, cleaning equipment, and a first aid kit in case of accidents or emergencies. Comfort Items Set out your pet’s favorite toys, treats, blankets, and other treasured gear. They will help your pet feel more comfortable while you are away; a warm environment promotes regular behavior and safer experiences.
If your pet has a particularly difficult time when you are away, you can place a previously worn article of clothing in your pet’s sleeping space. The familiar aroma is said to generate calming effects and decrease separation anxiety.
Create an instruction sheet
The more intensive the routine or the more animals you have, the more information your sitter will need. Be sure to include these details in the instructions for your pet’s care:
- Food – portion sizes, feeding times, allergies
- Exercise – how much and how often they should walk or play
- Bathroom habits – where your pet likes to go, how often they eliminate, and what to do with their waste
- Sleeping behaviors – where they should be resting and for how long
- Off limit areas – indoor and outdoor areas that are off limits for your pet
- Medical instructions – if your pet requires healthcare treatments
- Personality profile – identifying both “good” and “bad” personality traits to help your sitter connect to your pet more quickly and give them an idea of what habits to monitor. It’s important to be honest when developing these personality profiles.
- Contact information for the veterinarian. You may also consider signing an emergency veterinary release form with your pet sitter which outlines what type of veterinary care your pet can receive if you can’t be reached and denotes a spending cap for such situations.
Prepare your home for your sitter
Not only will your sitter be taking care of your pet, but they’ll also likely be keeping an eye on your home. To prepare for a sitter to visit your home, you will want to consider:
Access to Your Home Make sure to supply the sitter with multiple forms of entry to the house, namely a spare key and the garage code. If you have a security system, ensure the sitter has the code and understands how to use the system.
Overnight Stays If your sitter is staying nights, more preparation is needed. Show them where to sleep and provide supplies. Leave instructions that explain how to work the WiFi, HVAC systems, and other relevant technologies. Be sure to share the location of your home’s circuit-breaker and water turn-off in case of an emergency.
Additional Tasks Explain any additional activities you might ask of them. Sitters can help with anything from handling the mail, taking out the trash, or poop-scooping the yard. Keep in mind that more tasks usually entail more payment.
Local Contacts List any people the sitter might encounter during the stay: neighbors, landlords, or visitors like pool cleaners and gardeners. Their contact information should be available as well.
Communication Expectations Make sure to provide details about your trip and where you can be contacted, and how often you wish to receive communication. Most owners appreciate receiving texts or photos about their pet – talk about those expectations ahead of time.
Food Consider buying meals or snacks for the sitter as an extra thank you, or at the very least discuss which food is fair game in the pantry or fridge.
With these suggestions, and consistent communication with your sitter before you leave, you should be all set! Safe travels!
At Pet Butler, we want you and your pet to live your best and healthiest lives, which is why we offer pet waste removal and other services year-round. With 1 gram of dog poop containing 23 million fecal bacteria, scooping your pet’s poop regularly is crucial to your family’s health. We offer weekly, bi-weekly, monthly and one-time clean-up services to work with your schedule and needs.