As caring pet owners, we have all been there. Whether it is a last minute business trip or a well-planned out vacation, the question arises, “Who will take care of our pets?” Pet sitting can be the answer.
When boarding a pet is not in the pet’s best interest, looking for someone to do home care can be a good solution for the comfort of the pet.
Several options are available, of course. There is a family member, a neighbor or neighborhood kid, a friend, or a professional pet sitter. All of the above are good solutions, so long as the person caring for our pets behaves responsibly.
As a professional pet sitter and loving owner of several animals of my own, I am personally connected to the concerns that revolve around leaving a pet behind in someone else’s care. After all, how can we enjoy a trip to the beach, hiking in the mountains, or a dream vacation when in the back of our minds, we are worried about our pets at home?
For starters, set the person pet sitting up for success! No one knows your pets and their routines the way that you do, so keep that in mind when you ask someone to care for them. Here are some tips on how to make your time away from home less worrisome when it comes to your pets and property.
- Think carefully about whom you consider to care for your pets. Many people will first think about asking a neighborhood kid. Friends and family can be an option if they live close by. Be selective in your choice if this is the route you take. Consider that person’s schedule, whether or not he or she has transportation, and whether that fits with your pets’ needs. A local professional pet sitter can usually be found by using a Google search or looking at the Pet Sitters International (PSI) directory. Many professional pet sitters are bonded and insured. Whoever is pet sitting, should make sure their schedule fits your pets’ needs. A back up neighbor or friend with a key is a big plus in case your sitter cannot make it due to severe weather conditions or in case of any emergency.
- Inform your veterinarian that you will be going out of town and give them the name of the pet sitter who is pet sitting for you. They may want to have a credit card on file in case a pet needs to be seen in your absence. If you are a horse owner, you may also want to inform your farrier in case a shoe needs to be replaced.
- Having too much information is better than not having enough. My pets’ routines change sometimes. Before I place my pets’ care in the capable hands of my farm sitter, I write down my routine as I go through it. That way I know I won’t leave anything out. You should try this. Then you can edit the information and put it in an order that is most efficient for the pet sitter. This is VERY helpful and before the end of the visit they, will likely be going through the care routine as easily as you do.
- Don’t assume your sitter knows your pets! When writing down care information, be sure to write a description of the animal so everyone gets the right food, medicine and care. Label everything! If everything is clear, it is more likely pet sitting will be a success.
- Pill boxes are a lifesaver if your pets receive medications. This ensures the pet gets the correct medication at the right time. If a pill box is not available, make sure that each medication and dosage is clearly marked. Using plastic snack or sandwich bags that are clearly labeled with the pet’s name, date and time of administration can be a good substitute for pill boxes.
- If pet sitting overnight is not an option for your sitter, make sure that if your pet needs time outdoors or exercise, you provide an adequate number of visits to prevent distress on the part of the pet and accidents in the home. Be sure the pet sitter knows where cleaning supplies are kept.
- Your pet sitter is also taking on the responsibility of who enters your home.
- Let the sitter know where the breaker box and water turn off valve is. You may ask to have lights turned off and on to deter criminal activity.
- Professional pet sitters may carry insurance policies that protect you and the sitter from property damage and personal injury. Examples of this would be an overflowing toilet or an incident where your pet bites another dog or a person on their walk.
- Don’t be cheap. You know what your pet is worth to you in unconditional love and companionship. Shortchanging your pet can end up being more costly in the long run. Pay for that extra insurance up front by putting your pets in good hands from the start. Peace of mind is everything.
- These days, with our advanced technology, it is so much easier to stay in touch. Most pet owners love to get updates on their pets while they are away. Receiving a short text with an update, funny story about a pet shenanigan, or a photo is a great way to keep pet owners connected to their furry, feathered, or scaly loved ones while out of town. Let the pet sitter know how often you would like to receive these updates.
With these tips, you will have a more successful bridge between your pets and your pet sitter’s needs. Your pets will enjoy the comfort of their own space while you are away on business or having fun! Done properly, pet sitting can be done safely and without incident.