You’ve hired a pet sitter, your bags are packed and you’re ready to run off on your vacation. Sounds good, right? Not so fast! Have you prepared your home and pet for the pet sitter, yet? Leaving your home and pet in the care of the pet sitter does take a little prep work in advance. You must get your home and pet ready so your pet sitter can do the BEST job!
Meet and Greet/Trial Run through
If you’ve already schedule your pet sit visits, hopefully your pet sitter has already met your pet! If not, don’t do anything else until you’ve done this. It’s so important to make sure your pet is comfortable with the pet sitter. In fact, it is in your pet’s best interest to do a trial pet sit before you leave for vacation. The trial pet sit should occur while you are not home. This will let you and your pet sitter know exactly how your pet may respond while you are not home. Your pet may think it’s all fun and games while you are there but once you’re out of the picture, it may be a different story. You’d be surprised how differently pets can act without the presence of their pet parent.
Pet Schedule and Supplies
Anything your pet sitter needs to care for your pets should be made easily available to him/her. For starters, leave a schedule. This schedule should include any routines or rituals involved in your pet’s care. What time does your pet usually eat? What time does your pet go out for a potty break or walk? Does your pet take medication? If so, when and at what dosage? Leave food and treats out with instructions on how much your pet eats as well as frequency of meals. Also leave out leashes and harnesses or put in writing exactly where those items are stored. Cleaning supplies are important, too. Paper towels, carpet cleaner and other pet friendly cleaning supplies to help clean up any messes. Your pet may have an accident while you are away and your pet sitter should not have to go searching for any of these items or other items they may need.
Be sure to close off or secure any rooms, cabinets or closets that you don’t want your pet to get into. Scan the floors and be sure to pick up shoes and other items that your pet may be tempted to pick up. Your pet may be a little stressed when you leave and during times of stress, dogs chew as a means of coping. Your pet may act out during times of uncertainty so think of the worst possible scenario and do your best to put in place measures to prevent those things from happening.
Clean Up Your Home
We all know that your home is your sanctuary, but if you leave dirty messes that harden, get sticky, have an odor, or just are left out, those all can become extreme hazards to your pet who might feel like exploring more than he might normally when you are in town. Be sure to pick up and clean up your home. Especially if you are hiring a pet sitter to sleep in your bed. Your pet and pet sitter will love you for it!
Securing Your Home
Be sure to lock and secure your home before you leave. All external doors and gates should be locked. If at all possible, set your internal and external lights on timers so your home looks inhabited at all times. What areas are off limits to your pets and pet sitter? Make your pet sitter aware. What steps do you take when there’s a power outage or storm? Make your pet sitter aware of the location of the circuit box. Leave a flash light as well as a few night lights on throughout your home. If you have an alarm system, let your pet sitter know who the access code is as well as the name and number of your alarm company. In the event that the alarm gets set off, what steps should your pet sitter take?
Advise a trusted neighbor or friend in your community of your departure. Leave their phone number with the pet sitter. It’s also advisable to have your friend your pass your friend as they are in route to work or errands throughout your absence. The more eyes on your property, the better. If this friend, neighbor or anyone else has access to your home, please make your pet sitter aware and vice versa. There should be no surprise visitors or people coming and going while you are leaving your home and pets in the hands of a pet sitter.
Fill out any and all paperwork that your pet sitter requests. Leave your pet sitter with your contact information as well as where you will be taking your vacation to. Information that may seem trivial at the moment, can become really important should an emergency arise. Tell your pet sitter who you want contacted in the event that you not reachable. Also, let your pet sitter know how to proceed if your pet has a medical emergency. This is all information that is ordinarily addressed in your pet sitter’s paper work but should you choose to hire an independent contractor or someone else to sit for your pets, all of this information needs to be divulged. Don’t forget to carry your pet sitter’s phone number with you so you can easily reach out if you want to check in on your pet or have any questions or concerns while you are away.
Whew! That was a lot of information, wasn’t it? Being prepared will only serve to allow you and your pet to have the best vacation ever. Isn’t that what a vacation is all about? A little peace and a whole lot of peace of mind! Remember what Ben Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Happy Planning!