Leaving your pet at home while you’re traveling can be stressful for you both! But there are steps you can take to make the time you’re away go more smoothly.
Though it’s difficult, sometimes it’s necessary to travel without your pet. Whether you’re hiring a professional or having a friend or family member stay with your pet, what things can you do to prepare for your pet sitter?
READ MORE ⇒ Tips For Finding A Great Pet Sitter
Step One: Prepare Your Pet For The Pet Sitter
Finding the right person to stay with your pet while you are away will help relieve a lot of anxiety. If you’re still looking for that person, check out our advice on choosing the best pet sitter.
Once you have a great caretaker lined up, it’s important to make your reservations well in advance. Good pet sitters have busy schedules, and booking early will ensure you’re able to get the sitter you prefer.
When your trip is booked, but before you leave, it’s helpful to make time for your pet and the sitter to get acquainted. Pay the sitter to stop by for 15 minutes a couple of times in the week or two leading up to your trip. Knowing that your pet is happy to see the sitter arrive will give you a lot of comfort while you’re away.
If the sitter will be walking your dog, plan to take a short stroll around the neighborhood together. Point out all your dog’s favorite spots. And if things go well, give the leash to the sitter on the way back.
Finally, be sure your pet’s ID tag is current and is fixed securely to his collar.
Step Two: Prepare Your House For The Pet Sitter
You can avoid accidents and make things easier for your pet sitter by preparing your house before you go.
Start by putting away any toys that could be a choking hazard while your dog is left alone. Also put away anything your dog might be tempted to chew on that he shouldn’t, like pillows, plants, shoes, and trash.
Next, put everything your pet sitter will need for your pet while you’re away in a place that’s easy to find, but is out of reach of your pet. Make sure to leave plenty of food, medication, treats, waste bags, cleaning supplies, and a pet first aid kit.
Get out your dog’s bowls, leash, and any toys you want him to have while you’re gone. Also let your sitter know where his carrier or crate is, in case of an emergency.
Check to ensure your backyard is secured and that anything that could injure your pet is put away. If your yard isn’t completely secured, be sure your sitter knows not to let your dog out unless he’s leashed.
Step Three: Prepare Written Instructions For Your Pet Sitter
Expecting your pet sitter to recall your pet’s detailed care instructions is asking too much. Instead prepare Post-it’s, a journal, or index cards with the information she’ll need to keep your pet healthy and happy.
Sticking To The Schedule
Pets find comfort in routine. Don’t believe me? Try serving your pet’s dinner 15 minutes late! Keeping things consistent while you’re away might help relieve any anxiety your pet feels in your absence.
You can help prepare your pet sitter to stick to your pet’s schedule by writing it down. For a few days before you leave, pay attention to details of your pet’s habits and make some notes to leave for your sitter.
Pet Personality Profile
Pets all have their unique personalities and things they like and dislike. For example, if your pet is a cuddler, it’s a good idea to let your sitter know to expect a buddy when she settles in on the sofa.
Other pets might only be interested in affection if you have a treat in your hand. Preparing your pet sitter with some insights into your pet’s personality and preferences will let her know what to expect. It could also help her recognize if your pet’s behavior is off, indicating something more serious could be affecting him.
Ruffing Up the Rules
Just like kids, pets will test whether the rules still apply while you’re away. Make sure the pet sitter knows if you want your pup on the couch, sleeping in your bed, or sharing dinner from the table.
8 Things To Leave For Your Pet Sitter
Of course you’re doing to leave the written instructions you’ve been gathering. In addition, don’t forget to prepare these things for your pet sitter:
- Your emergency contact information and trip itinerary.
- The telephone number and address of your pet’s veterinarian along with their vaccination records, medication dosages, schedule, and special tricks you use to administer the medication, and your pet’s insurance card. Also contact the veterinarian’s office to let them know your pet sitter is authorized to care for your pet.
- At least two names and telephone numbers for people you trust to make decisions about your pet in case you are unreachable. (Be sure to ask those people in advance!)
- Alarm codes and a spare key. When keypad batteries die, there’s no way to open the door without a key. As additional backup, leave a key with a neighbor.
- Food and treat instructions, including portion size, the number of meals and treats your pet eats per day, and the time he’s usually fed. Also let your pet sitter know if there are foods he definitely can’t have because of allergies or other reasons.
- Leave your pet sitter a map showing your dog’s favorite walking routes and preferred spots to visit. Let her know approximately how long you spend on your treks and what equipment (leash, harness, treats) you use.
- If your pet plays in the yard, let your sitter know how that works. Must time outside be supervised? Will your dog expect her to throw the frisbee or ball? And how long does your dog expect to play outside?
- If your pet sitter will be staying in your home, provide instructions about where to sleep, how to work your television, how to operate the heat/air conditioning, and whether you’re comfortable having other guests in your home.
Don’t Make A Fuss
Though leaving your pet behind might be breaking your heart, sobbing and wailing will only create anxiety for your pet. Take a quick walk or play a game of fetch and when it’s time to leave, keep your departure casual.
The goal is to nail down these details in advance so your pet doesn’t even notice you’re gone!
This post was written for Richard, who’s preparing to travel without his dog for ten days. He’s looking forward to having is daughter stay with his spoiled pooch and asked us for some tips to make things easier for them both. Do you have any additional suggestions that could help?