Getting To Know You
Your pet sitter needs to know you, your pets and your household routines in order to do the best possible job in caring for your pets while you are away. You can help out by providing detailed information to your pet sitter prior to the pet-sitting assignment.
__ Provide verification that your pet is up-to-date on its shots. Have your pet wear current vaccination tags on its collar.
__ If your pet is prone to chew, please leave “chew toys” and take proper precautions to guard your personal items and home furnishings from his teeth while you are away.
__ Make a list of your pet’s favorite hiding places. This will prevent the pet sitter from worrying if your pet is not where expected.
__ Be sure to tell your pet sitter about any unusual habits your pet has; i.e., destructive behavior when left alone, change in bowel or eating habits, etc.
__ During the initial consultation, please try not to “force” your pet to like the pet sitter. Some pets are shy and can’t be expected to warm up to a stranger immediately. With time and patience, trust will build and a friendly relationship will be established.
__ If you own both dogs and cats, please do not ask the sitter to “ignore” the cats (i.e., not charge) during the visits. It is impossible because the sitter’s conscience would not allow the oversight of a cat in need of food, medical care or human attention.
Preparation is Key
Be prepared with all the information your pet sitter needs; gather this information in advance so you won’t overlook any important details.
__ Schedules are important! Make your reservations for a pet sitter as far in advance as possible and remember to call the company if you are coming home later or earlier than expected. This will allow the pet sitter to plan for extra visits or serve additional clients.
__ Have everything necessary to care for your pet in one general and visible area. This includes food, treats, utensils, food and water bowls, medications, leash, can opener, toys, paper towels, cleaning supplies, garbage bags, litter and scoop, broom and dustpan and/or vacuum cleaner, towels (for rainy walks), newspapers (if paper training), watering can for plants, etc.
__ Provide extra food, litter and supplies just in case you are not able to return when anticipated.
__ Be sure to leave plastic bags for sanitary disposal of feces. Pet sitters are happy to perform this task while you’re away, but shouldn’t be expected to clean up accumulation prior to your absence!
__ Clean out the refrigerator before leaving to avoid smelly food spoilage, and wash any dishes in the sink to prevent ants or other pests.
__ For the comfort of your pet, adjust your thermostat before leaving on your trip and advise your pet sitter within what range to keep it. A closed-up home can get uncomfortably hot in a short time.
__ Tell the pet sitter if bathrooms or any other household areas are off limits to your pet and/or sitter. Secure access to these areas before leaving home. Also, make the pet sitter aware if your cat happens to love shredding the contents of the bathroom trashcan or if the toilet is prone to run or become clogged.
__ If you’re leaving anything specifically for your pet sitter; e.g., homegrown tomatoes on the counter, candies, a monetary tip, be sure to leave a note. Otherwise, most pet sitters are so honest and trustworthy you may arrive home to find rotting tomatoes!
__ Will other people be checking on your pet? If so, help avoid confusion by making it clear what the pet sitter is responsible for and what other visitors will be entrusted to do.
__ Notify your veterinarian in writing that a pet sitter will be caring for your pet and authorize the vet to extend medical care during your absence if it becomes necessary.
Securing Your Home
In addition to keeping your beloved pets safe, happy and well cared for, a professional pet sitter also attends to the safety and security of your home while you are away. Here are some tips you can do to help.
__ Make sure your pet sitter is aware of anyone who may be on your premises or entering your home during the pet-sitting assignment.
__ Use timers on interior lights to go on at dusk and off at bedtime as well as motion sensors on exterior lights. If evening visits are scheduled to your home, the pet sitter will really appreciate this safety precaution!
__ Make sure doors and windows are securely locked before leaving. This should include garage doors, sliding glass doors and basement doors and windows. If outside doors have panes of glass near a push-button lock, consider installing a dead bolt lock as well.
__ Advise gate security that a pet sitter will be visiting your home and authorize entry.
__ Inform your neighbors of your absence and use of a pet sitter.
__ Mow the lawn before you leave and arrange for exterior maintenance as necessary during your absences from home.
__ Make sure any fences are secure and gates are locked.
Pet Proofing Your Home
Your pet’s health and safety are at stake and these important checkpoints need to be in place whether you are getting ready for the pet sitter or not
__Household cleansers, furniture polishes, disinfectants, insecticides, antifreeze, fertilizers, perfumes and make-up can be dangerous to dogs. Make sure cupboards and storage areas (garage) containing these items are secured. A bored or determined dog can go “where they’ve never gone before.”
__Are the toilet lids down in any accessible bathrooms?
__See that medications are locked up. The sound of pills rattling in a plastic bottle may entice the pet to chew the bottle open.
__Remove candy and nuts from coffee tables or locations where a pet can reach them. Chocolate is toxic to dogs and nuts can be dangerous as well.
__Check to see that any hobby supplies; i.e., paints, glue, needles and thread, etc., have been placed away from an inquisitive pet’s reach.