As much as we love spending time with our pets, we can’t always be with them 24/7. Although it’s difficult, sometimes it’s necessary to leave our pets at home when we travel. So, we’re going to share 3 key steps you can take as a pet parent whether you’re hiring a professional sitter, or having a friend or family to take care of your pet to ensure your time away from home will go smoothly and stress-free.
1. Familiarise your pet with the sitter
It’s important to find the right person to leave your pet with while you’re away as this can reduce a lot of anxiety. If you’re hiring a professional, it’s best to make sure you book as far in advance as possible as good pet sitters have busy schedules.
Once you have someone confirmed to take care of your pet, it’s helpful for them to visit your home a few times in the week or two before their stay, and similarly if you’re leaving your pet at a family or friends’ home, pop round a few times. This is so your pet and sitter are well acquainted and your pet will be used to their new surroundings.
For dog owners, another helpful tip is for you to go on walks with your dog and their sitter, point out your dog’s favourite spots in the neighbourhood or their favourite park to play at. You can also try to give the sitter the leash on the way back so your dog can warm up to them.
2. Make sure your house is prepared
To make things easier for your pet sitter and to avoid any accidents, it’s essential to ensure your home is well equipped with your pet’s daily needs and tools required in case of emergencies.
- Keep your home hazard free – put away any small toys or clutter that can be a choking hazard when your pet is left alone.
- Clear any valuables – store away things that you do not want your pet to damage, scratch or chew on such as shoes, cushions, plants and rubbish.
- Prepare all your pet’s essentials – lay out your dog’s leash, any toys you want them to have, bed, carrier or crate that is easily accessible for the sitter. Ensuring your pet has enough food, waste bags, medication (if necessary), treats, and pet first aid kit are also key.
- Secure your back garden – make sure your garden doesn’t have any gaps or broken fences that your dog can escape from. If your garden is not completely secured, it’s important that you make the sitter aware so they can keep your pet on a leash while being out in the garden.
3. Leave key instructions and notes for your sitter
Although you may just be a call or message away, it’s always helpful to have written instructions, key notes or an itinerary of your pet’s schedule for your pet sitter to refer to.
It can also be too much to expect your pet sitter to remember every single detail to care for your pet. Post-it-notes and lists go a long way to ensure your pet is happy and safe while you are away. Here’s a few helpful notes you can leave your pet sitter:
- Your pet’s schedule / day-to-day routine.
- Your pet’s personality, any behaviours they should be aware of.
- Any allergies your pet may have and medication they need to take.
- Emergency contact numbers and your trip itinerary.
- Your pet’s veterinarian contact details and address in case of an emergency. It’s also important to let your vet know your pet sitter is authorised to take care of your pet.
- Any specific rules about your pet’s diet – Portion sizes, feeding times.
- Next of kin contact information just in case your sitter cannot reach you.
- Spare keys and house alarm information for your sitter.
In the end, rest assured that your pet will be safe and happy as long as you’ve made all the necessary arrangements and preparations. Lastly, avoid making a fuss when you leave as this will only trigger your pet’s anxiety. Try to go for a walk or play a game of fetch before it’s time to part ways with your pet to keep your departure casual.