How to Pick a Pet Sitter – A Checklist

These tips will help you plan ahead and put your mind at ease so you know all the details are covered keep your pet safe and healthy.

  1. Be sure your pet meets your pet sitter beforehand. The pet sitter and your pet should have at least one opportunity to get acquainted, go on a walk, play, etc. The best case scenario: ask a friend or relative who is qualified and already knows your pet, take care of it in your absence. However, not all of us are lucky enough to have that situation, so try getting a referral from someone you know or search online for Pet Sitting services that provide in-home pet care (and then request references for those people that are listed as pet sitters). Your local veterinarian can also often be a great source for references of people who provide Pet Sitting services and very often, employees who work in a Vet’s office often do Pet Sitting on the side and they are usually well qualified because they already love animals and work in a vet’s office.
  2. Confirm the exact dates and times you will be traveling. Agree to touch base with your pet sitter the day prior to your departure, just to make sure all communications are in sync and that any and all questions have been answered before your departure.
  3. Provide your pet sitter with complete access to your home. Be sure you give your pet sitter all of the appropriate keys, security codes, passwords, etc. to gain entry to your residence, and let your neighbors know someone will be coming and going from your residence to care for your pet.
  4. Provide your vet’s information. Provide the name, address, and phone number of your regular veterinarian, in addition to providing all the information for your secondary choice of a vet, just in case your vet is not available.
  5. Make an emergency contact list. Be sure to leave a list of all your necessary contact information (cell phone number, hotel, flight number and itinerary, schedule, etc.) where you can be reached in case of an emergency. Additionally, it is always wise to also leave the name of a local friend or family member, in case you cannot be reached immediately.
  6. Keep to the routine. Ask the pet sitter to stick to a routine (feeding, walking, grooming) that is similar to your regular routine with your pet. This will provide your pet with as much continuity in your absence as possible.
  7. Provide all necessary information on your pet’s food, treats and medications. Write out a list that includes the name and brand of all food and treats that you feed your pet and provide a schedule for feeding and offering treats. List any or all medications that your pet is taking and provide a schedule for administering them.
  8. Help your pet sitter get to know your pet. Provide a list of your pet’s favorite toys and habits, along with a list of any unfriendly dogs in the neighborhood that might present problems on the walk route. Also, let the pet sitter know if your dog has any quirks or fears.
  9. Provide a basic guide to the areas within your home & yard where your pet is allowed/ Spell out whether you allow your pets on the furniture, kitchen counters, beds, etc. The goal is to maintain similar boundaries and rules to the ones you enforce, so as not to allow unwanted behaviors to develop while you are away.
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