Going away and need someone to take care of your pet? Here are somethings you need to communicate before leaving your pets with a sitter.
- Feeding Routine
Provide clear instructions regarding how to feed your pet. It is helpful for them to know what food your pet eats, what time they are fed and how much they are fed. If you have more than one pet and they are on different diets be sure to provide written instructions in regards to which food is for each individual pet! Make that they will not run out of food while you are away. Does your pet get fed treats? If so how often and what treats are acceptable?
- Exercise Schedule
Maintaining a similar schedule can help to make your absence less stressful for your pet. Let your sitter know how many walks your dog gets per day and for how long. Do you take your dog to the off-leash park; if so how often and for how long? For cats let your sitter know what their daily routine looks like. Do you provide play sessions with a certain toy? Are they allowed to go outside? How much time do you spend petting or grooming them?
- Health Conditions or Medications
Always outline any medical conditions or medications that your pet may need. It is often helpful to put this information in writing. Make sure that your pet sitter will not run out of your pet’s medications while you are away unless you have discussed this in advance. Give clear directions on how and when to give the medications. Be sure to also provide any help tips or tricks that you use to give your pet their medication to make it as stress-free as possible for both your pet and their caretaker!
- Make sure they know the no’s!
If your pet sitter has not spent a lot of time in your home with you and your pet they may not be familiar with your pets rules. Is your pet allowed on the furniture (are there certain items that are allowed but not others)? Are they left to roam freely when you are not home or are they confined to a crate or a certain area of the household? What type of play activities and behaviours are permitted? This information is also applicable if your pet will be staying somewhere other than your own home!
- The little things
Are there any habits or idiosyncrasies that may be helpful? Make sure that your pet sitter is aware of the little things that you do on a daily basis to keep your pet out of trouble! Does the door to your basement or bathroom need to be closed at all times? Does your pet like to destroy shoes or certain articles of clothing? Think back to any situations or trouble that have arisen with your pet over the years to help you to determine the little things that you do on a daily basis to keep your pet (and home) safe that your pet sitter may not think of.
- Veterinary and Emergency Contact Information
Provide easily accessible contact information for your veterinary clinic. Be sure to notify the clinic when you will be away and who will be looking after your pet. Indicate clearly what your pet sitter is allowed to authorize and at what point you would like to be contacted for authorization of services or treatments. Also, leave contact information for where to call for veterinary care outside of the regular hours of your veterinary clinic if an emergency situation arises. Discuss how the financial details will be handled. Is your pet sitter going to be paying for services and you will reimburse them? Have you made special arrangements with your veterinary clinic to keep a credit card on file or are you able to pay for services upon your return?
- Your Itinerary and Contact Information
This may seem like a no-brainer, but this can be easy to forget about everything else that you need to prepare! Provide as much contact information as possible such as cell phone numbers, e-mail addresses, phone numbers of relatives you may be staying with or hotel phone numbers (and room number if possible). Provide an itinerary, so they know where to contact you at any given time.
Going on a vacation or trip is an exciting and sometimes stressful experience when making arrangements for our pets! By providing your pet sitter with all of the details above you can make sure that you are minimizing the stress for you, your pet and your pet sitter. If your pet is staying at a boarding facility, they will typically have an intake form which outlines the information that they require. Provide all of your pets details in writing and make time to go over everything in advance if at all possible.
Written by Janet Hofos.