Keeping Pets Happy and Healthy in the Summertime

As summer temperatures rise, it’s important to ensure our furry friends stay comfortable, healthy, and happy. For pet owners, especially those living in flats or without access to a garden, keeping pets cool can be challenging. Here are some practical tips to help keep your cats and dogs cool during the summer months.

General Tips for All Pets

  1. Hydration is Key: Ensure your pets have constant access to fresh, clean water. In hot weather, pets can dehydrate quickly. Consider adding ice cubes to their water bowls to keep the water cool for longer.
  2. Avoid the Hottest Parts of the Day: Exercise your pets early in the morning or late in the evening when temperatures are cooler. This helps prevent overheating and protects their paws from hot pavements.
  3. Grooming: Regular grooming can help your pets stay cool by removing excess fur. For dogs, consider a summer trim, but avoid shaving them completely, as their fur also protects against sunburn.
  4. Cool Mats and Fans: Invest in cooling mats, which provide a cool surface for pets to lie on. Fans can also help circulate air in your home, making it more comfortable for your pets.

Tips for Dogs

  1. Frozen Treats: Make homemade frozen treats for your dog. You can freeze dog-safe fruits like blueberries or slices of watermelon in water or low-sodium broth to make delicious, cooling snacks.
  2. Avoid Overexertion: On particularly hot days, reduce the intensity of exercise. Short walks and indoor playtime can help keep your dog active without the risk of overheating.
  3. Shady Spots and Paddling Pools: If you have a balcony or a small outdoor space, create a shady spot for your dog to relax in. A shallow paddling pool can provide a fun way for your dog to cool off.

Tips for Cats

  1. Cool Resting Spots: Cats often seek out cool surfaces in the summer. Provide additional cool resting spots by placing tiles or cooling mats around your home.
  2. Wet Towels: Dampening a towel and placing it in your cat’s favorite resting spot can provide a cool place for them to lie down.
  3. Encourage Hydration: Many cats prefer running water. Investing in a cat water fountain can encourage your cat to drink more and stay hydrated.

Tips for Smaller Homes

  1. Indoor Exercise: Without a garden, it’s crucial to find ways to keep your pet active indoors. Puzzle toys, interactive play sessions, and treat-dispensing toys can keep pets mentally and physically stimulated.
  2. Climate Control: If your home becomes very hot, consider using air conditioning or fans to keep the temperature down. Ensure that any open windows are secure and have screens to prevent your pet from escaping or falling out.
  3. Cool Corners: Create cool corners in your flat using fans, cooling mats, and even frozen water bottles wrapped in a towel to provide a chilled spot for your pets.

Keeping your pets happy, healthy, and cool during the summer requires some planning and creativity, especially for those living in flats or without access to agarden. By ensuring they stay hydrated, providing cool resting places, and adjusting their exercise routines, you can help your pets enjoy the summer months comfortably. Always be mindful of signs of heatstroke, such as excessive panting, drooling, or lethargy, and seek veterinary help immediately if you suspect your pet is overheating.

With these tips, you can ensure that your beloved cats and dogs stay cool and content, even during the hottest days of the UK summer.

Travelling with Pets

How to Travel with Your Pet: The VetBox Guide

Traveling can be an exciting adventure for both pet owners and their furry companions. However, ensuring the comfort and safety of your pet during trips requires careful planning and preparation. This comprehensive guide covers everything from finding pet-friendly accommodations to travel safety tips, ensuring you and your pet have a pleasant journey together.

Preparing for the Trip

Health and Documentation: Before embarking on any trip, make sure your pet is healthy. Schedule a visit to the vet to ensure all vaccinations are up to date and obtain a health certificate if required, especially for air travel. Don’t forget to ask about preventative medications for travel-related issues like motion sickness.

  • ID Tags and Microchips: Update your pet’s ID tags with your current contact information. It’s also wise to have your pet microchipped in case they get lost during your travels.
  • Packing Essentials: Pack a bag for your pet that includes food, water, bowls, leashes, waste bags, grooming supplies, and any medications. Also, bring along a favorite toy or blanket to provide comfort and a sense of familiarity.

Choosing the Right Mode of Transportation

By Car:

  • Secure Your Pet: Use a pet seatbelt, carrier, or vehicle pet barrier to keep your pet safe and prevent distractions while you drive.
  • Breaks: Plan for regular stops (every 2-3 hours) to allow your pet to stretch, relieve themselves, and drink water.
  • Never Leave Pets in a Parked Car: Even with the windows cracked, temperatures in a parked car can skyrocket, leading to dangerous conditions for your pet.

By Plane:

  • Choosing an Airline: Opt for a pet-friendly airline that has clear pet policies. Understand the difference between cabin travel and cargo travel, and choose what is safest and most comfortable for your pet.
  • Direct Flights: Whenever possible, book direct flights to minimize the stress of layovers and reduce the risk of mishandling or delays.
  • Visit the Vet: Some airlines require a health certificate issued within 10 days of travel. Discuss sedation and hydration with your vet.

By Train or Bus:

  • Know the Policies: Many train and bus services have specific pet policies. Typically, pets need to be in a carrier, and there may be restrictions on size and breed.
  • Prepare for the Environment: Ensure your pet can handle the confined space and often crowded nature of public transportation.

Finding Pet-Friendly Accommodations

  • Research Ahead: Use websites and apps that list pet-friendly hotels, Airbnb, or vacation rentals. Check for any restrictions on size, breed, or the number of pets allowed.
  • Understand the Fees: Some accommodations may charge an extra fee for pets or require a deposit. Make sure you understand these fees and any other rules regarding pets.
  • Consider the Location: Look for accommodations with plenty of green space nearby for walks and exercise.

Safety and Comfort During the Stay

  • Settling In: Upon arrival, help your pet acclimate to the new environment. Set up their feeding station and a sleeping area with familiar items like blankets or toys.
  • Routine: Try to maintain your pet’s regular routine as much as possible to minimize stress. Stick to their usual feeding and walking schedule.
  • Exploration and Exercise: Make sure your pet gets plenty of exercise and time to explore. This can help them burn off energy and reduce anxiety.

Handling Emergencies

  • Find a Local Vet: Know the location and contact information of a local veterinarian near where you will be staying.
  • Pet Insurance: If you frequently travel, consider investing in pet insurance that covers emergencies away from home.
  • Emergency Kit: Include a basic first aid kit for your pet with items like bandages, tweezers, antiseptic wipes, and a copy of their medical records.

Conclusion

Traveling with your pet can be a rewarding experience, but it requires proper planning and consideration of their needs. By following these guidelines, you can ensure a safer and more enjoyable travel experience for your beloved companion. Remember, the key to a successful trip with your pet is preparation, awareness of their comfort level, and adaptability to the circumstances. Whether by car, plane, or train, your journey together can be a memorable adventure.

The Basics of Pet Nutrition

Essential Nutrients Every Pet Needs

Ensuring your pet receives the right nutrients is crucial for their health, longevity, and happiness. Like humans, pets require a balanced diet to thrive, but what does that look like for our furry friends? This post will explore the essential nutrients every pet needs, tailored advice for different life stages, and tips for choosing the best food.

Essential Nutrients for Pets

Pets need a variety of nutrients, each playing a unique role in maintaining their health:

  1. Protein: The building block of muscles, organs, and immune system. High-quality protein sources support growth and repair tissue.
  2. Fats: A dense energy source, fats are vital for absorbing vitamins and supporting cell function. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are essential for skin and coat health.
  3. Carbohydrates: While not all pets require a high carb diet, carbohydrates provide energy and help in digestion. Fiber, a type of carbohydrate, is crucial for gut health.
  4. Vitamins and Minerals: These support metabolic functions, bone health, and prevent diseases. Each vitamin and mineral has a specific role, such as calcium for bone structure or vitamin A for vision.
  5. Water: Often overlooked, water is the most critical nutrient. It aids in digestion, temperature regulation, and eliminating waste.

Nutrition Across Life Stages

Puppies and Kittens: Young pets have high energy requirements. Diets rich in protein and fat support their rapid growth and development. Look for specially formulated puppy or kitten foods that cater to these needs.

Adult Pets: To maintain optimal health and prevent obesity, adult pets need a well-balanced diet tailored to their activity level. Regular assessments can help adjust their diet as needed.

Senior Pets: Older pets may require diets lower in calories but higher in fiber, with added joint support and adjusted protein levels. Regular veterinary checks can guide dietary adjustments to manage age-related conditions.

Choosing the Best Food

Selecting the right food for your pet can be daunting with the myriad of options available. Here are some tips to help you make the best choice:

  • Read Labels Carefully: Look for foods that list a high-quality protein source as the first ingredient. Avoid foods with excessive fillers or by-products.
  • Consider Special Dietary Needs: Allergies, sensitivities, and health conditions may require special diets. Your vet can recommend specific formulations.
  • Think about Food Type: Dry food, wet food, raw diets, and homemade meals all have pros and cons. Consider your pet’s preferences and nutritional needs when choosing.
  • Consult a Veterinarian: Regular check-ups can help identify nutritional gaps or excesses in your pet’s diet. A professional can offer guidance tailored to your pet’s health status.

Proper nutrition is the cornerstone of a healthy life for your pet. By understanding the essential nutrients your pet needs and how these needs change with age, you can make informed choices about their diet. Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to pet nutrition, and what works for one pet may not work for another. Consult with your veterinarian regularly to ensure your pet’s diet supports their health and wellbeing at every life stage.

5 tips for caring for your pet’s teeth

February is Pet Dental Health Awareness Month, a month that raises awareness of the importance of dental care for our pets. Just like humans, dogs and cats need regular dental care. Poor dental hygiene can lead to serious health issues such as periodontal disease, tooth decay, and even heart or kidney problems. So, to help you keep your pet’s pearly whites in top condition, here are five essential tips for maintaining their dental health…

Tip 1: Regular Brushing

The best place to start is to build teeth brushing into their weekly routine. Just like with humans, brushing your pet’s teeth is crucial for preventing plaque build-up and maintaining oral hygiene. Use a pet-specific toothbrush and toothpaste (never use human toothpaste, as it can be toxic to pets) to brush your pet’s teeth at least 2-3 times a week. Start slowly, allowing your pet to get accustomed to the sensation, and gradually increase the frequency. Be sure to reward your pet with praise or treats to make the experience positive.

Tip 2: Dental Chews and Chew Toys:

Chewing on dental toys and treats can help remove plaque and tartar build-up while also providing mental stimulation for your pet. Look for dental chews and toys that are specifically designed to promote oral health, such as those with ridges or textures that help clean teeth. However, be mindful of the ingredients, and choose products that are safe and appropriate for your pet’s size and dietary needs.

Tip 3: Regular Vet Check-ups

Schedule regular dental checkups with your veterinarian to monitor your pet’s oral health and address any issues early on. Your vet can perform a thorough dental examination, including cleaning and scaling if necessary, to remove stubborn plaque and tartar. They can also identify any underlying dental problems or issues that may require further treatment.

Tip 4: Monitor their Diet and Nutrition:

A healthy diet plays a significant role in your pet’s overall health, including their dental health. Provide your pet with high-quality, nutritionally balanced food that promotes dental health. Avoid feeding them table scraps and treats that are high in sugar, as these can contribute to tooth decay and gum disease.

Tip 5: Keep a close eye!

Pay attention to any changes in your pet’s behaviour or oral health, such as bad breath, swollen gums, difficulty eating, or excessive drooling. These could be signs of dental problems or other underlying health issues that require attention. By being proactive and observant, you can address potential issues early on and prevent them from progressing into more serious conditions.

And that’s it! Your pet’s dental health is essential for ensuring their overall well-being, and by implementing these tips into your pet care routine, you can help keep your furry friend’s smile bright and healthy for years to come. Remember, a little effort now can lead to big benefits down the road, so make dental care a priority for your beloved companions this Pet Dental Health Awareness Month and beyond.

Keeping your pet safe when out in the dark

As the dark nights of winter are with us, there are many challenges for our four-legged friends, from reduced visibility to potential hazards such as reduced visibility, traffic dangers and wildlife predators. In this blog, we will explore essential tips and precautions to ensure the well-being of your pets when venturing out in the dark. 

Dogs

Dogs are naturally active and curious, and love the opportunity to explore their surroundings, regardless of the time of day. When darkness descends, however, it’s crucial to take extra precautions to guarantee their safety. 

Our tips:

  • Invest in reflective gear, such as a collar or harness with reflective strips, making them more visible to passing vehicles and pedestrians. 
  • For added protection, consider attaching an LED light to their collar.
  • Choose well-lit routes during nighttime walks, avoiding poorly lit areas where potential hazards may lurk.
  • Consider training your dog to respond to commands, especially in low-light conditions, as this is another key aspect of keeping them safe during nocturnal adventures. 

Cats

Cats are known for their nocturnal tendencies and might find the darkness alluring, however exploring outside in these conditions may also introduce unique risks. 

Our tips:

  • Consider keeping them indoors during the darkest hours and coldest nights. 
  • If your cat insists on exploring the night, equip them with a breakaway collar featuring reflective elements to enhance visibility. 
  • Create a well-lit outdoor space, such as a catio, that will allow your cat to indulge their nighttime instincts in a secure environment. 
  • Be cautious of potential nocturnal predators 

As responsible pet parents, it’s our duty to prioritise the safety and well-being of our cherished companions, especially when the sun goes down. We hope these tips will help you ensure your pet can enjoy the darkness without compromising their security.

8 Ways To Keep Your Pets Entertained Indoors in Winter

As the cold and dark weather settles in our pets often get less outdoor playtime, so finding ways to keep their brains stimulated indoors becomes a priority. When venturing outside is not an option due to harsh weather conditions, there are plenty of stimulating activities and fun games you can try to ensure your pets remain happy, healthy and engaged within the cosy confines of home. 

Here are our 8 recommendations on how to keep your pets stimulated and active during unpleasant weather conditions this winter.

1. Invest in some Interactive Toys and Puzzles

Interactive toys and puzzles designed to engage your pets mentally and physically have many health benefits. Puzzle feeders for dogs and treat-dispensing toys for cats are excellent choices for keeping them mentally stimulated for some time. These toys encourage problem-solving skills while providing a fun challenge, despite having to stay indoors due to harsh weather.

2. Create a DIY Indoor Obstacle Course

Set up an indoor obstacle course using household items such as pillows, cardboard boxes, hula hoops, cones and tunnels for your pets to navigate. Guide them through the course using treats or toys as motivation. This activity not only promotes physical exercise and mental stimulation, but you also get to spend quality time with your pets which will keep them happy and healthy overall.

3. Play Hide and Seek

Engage your pets in a game of hide and seek. Hide their favourite toys or treats around the house and encourage them to find these hidden treasures. This game stimulates their sense of smell and keeps them mentally active. If you’re feeling up to it, why not play with them yourself and find a place to hide around the house? Putting time aside for playtime will not only keep your pets engaged, but it’ll also bring them joy by giving them your time and attention.

4. Play Indoor Fetch or Catch

Play a modified version of fetch or catch indoors using soft toys or lightweight balls. This activity helps burn off excess energy while reinforcing bonding and coordination skills with your pets.

5. Schedule time for Training Sessions

Engage in training sessions with your pets to teach them new tricks or reinforce existing commands. Use positive reinforcement techniques like treats or praise to encourage the behaviour.

6. Invest in some Interactive Feeding

Consider using interactive feeding devices or slow feeders for meals. This not only slows down eating but also turns mealtime into a mentally stimulating activity for pets. You can easily find the appropriate food dispenser for your pets online to keep them mentally engaged.

7. Rotate Toys and Activities

Keep things fresh by regularly rotating toys and activities. Introduce new toys, switch up the arrangement of obstacles in the indoor course, or vary the games to prevent boredom and maintain interest from your pets.

8. Entertain pets with Music and TV Time

Play calming music or pet-specific TV programs designed to entertain and relax pets. Some channels feature visuals and sounds that are appealing to cats and dogs, providing them with entertainment.

Winter weather doesn’t have to mean a lack of stimulation and activity for your pets. By implementing these indoor activities, toys and games, you can ensure that your furry companions stay mentally engaged, physically active and content during the colder months. Remember, each pet is unique, so observe their preferences and tailor activities to suit their individual needs for a happy and healthy indoor lifestyle.

How Can I Best Take Care Of My Pet This Winter? Here’s Our 8-Step Guide.

It’s that time of the year again. The temperatures drop and the days become shorter which means our beloved pets require extra care and attention to stay warm, healthy and happy. Winter can be a challenging time for animals, as cold weather poses unique risks. Additionally, it’s essential to remember that pet care is a year-round commitment, including maintaining regular flea and worming treatments, like VetBox, even during the colder seasons.

Want to find out how you can best look after your pet this winter? You’ve come to the right place! Below is our 8-step guide of things to be mindful of when caring for your pet during winter:

1. Make an Effort to Understand Winter Risks for Pets

Winter brings about a set of challenges that can affect your pet’s health. For instance, exposure to cold can lead to hypothermia, especially in smaller and short-haired breeds. Moreover, chemicals used during winter, such as antifreeze, can be toxic to pets. It’s crucial to understand these risks to ensure your pet’s safety and comfort.

2. Create a Warm and Safe Space

Ensure your pet has a warm and cosy place away from cold drafts and damp areas in your home. Bedding should be thick and comfortable, and for pets that spend time outdoors, proper shelter is essential. Also, consider a pet-safe heating solution if necessary.

3. Manage Outdoor Time

While some pets enjoy playing in the snow, it’s important to limit their time outside during extreme cold conditions. For breeds that are more susceptible to cold, consider using pet coats or sweaters when you venture outdoors. After dog walks, check and clean your pets’ paws to remove any salt or de-icing chemicals that they might have stepped on, which can be harmful if licked off.

4. Be Mindful of your Pet’s Diet and Hydration

Your pet’s dietary needs might change in winter. Some pets require more calories during the cold months, while others who are less active, might need less. It’s important to ensure your pet has access to clean, unfrozen water at all times, so do regularly wash and refresh their water bowls.

5. Maintain your Pet’s Mental Stimulation and Exercise

Due to winter’s rainy, wet and colder conditions, your pet may spend less outdoor time which means, finding ways to keep them fit and mentally stimulated indoors is crucial. Interactive toys, puzzle feeders and indoor play like hide & seek can help keep your pet active and engaged even if the weather prevents you and your pet from exploring outdoors.

6. Keep Up-to-Date with Grooming and Health Checks

Winter can be tough on your pet’s skin and coat. Regular grooming helps prevent matting and dry skin. It’s also a good opportunity to check the body of your pet for any unusual signs that might require veterinary attention.

7. Maintain a Year-Round Parasite Prevention

Contrary to popular belief, fleas and worms are not just a summer problem. These parasites can survive indoors during winter, making year-round flea prevention crucial for your pet’s health. VetBox offers a convenient and effective way to ensure your pet is protected against fleas and worms throughout the year, not just in the warmer months. 

Check out how to get started using VetBox here to protect your pet against fleas, ticks, roundworms and tapeworms.

8. Give Extra-Special Care for Senior Pets

Older pets, or those with health conditions, may need extra care during winter. They may be more vulnerable to the cold and might require adjustments in their diet, exercise and medication.

Winter care for pets involves a bit more than just keeping them warm. By understanding the unique challenges of the season, being mindful of all the above tips, and continuing with regular health checks and parasite prevention with products like VetBox, you can ensure your fur friends stay happy and healthy throughout the winter months.

We hope this blog has been helpful and armed you, as pet owners, with useful guidance on how to best care for your pet in winter. 

We’d love to know your winter pet care tips or experiences with VetBox in the comments below, please share them with us if you can!

8 Tips To Keep Your Pet Calm During Fireworks Night

As a pet owner, you’ve probably experienced the anxiety fireworks night can bring to your pet. The loud bangs and bright lights can be distressing, leading to fear, anxiety, and stress. However, with the right preparations, you can help your pet stay calm and comfortable during fireworks night. We’re going to provide you with 8 valuable tips to make this experience less stressful for both you and your pet.

1. Create a Safe Haven

One of the first steps to calming your pet during fireworks night is to create a safe and secure space for them. This can be a quiet room or a comfortable crate. Add their favourite toys, blankets, and bedding to make it cosy and inviting. If possible, find a space where noise from outside will be minimised.

2. Stay with Your Pet

Your presence is a significant source of comfort and reassurance for your pet during fireworks displays. Staying with your pet and speaking to them in a soothing voice can help make them feel safe and calm. Offer your pets cuddles to help ease their anxiety. Your calm demeanour can have a positive impact on your pet’s state of mind.

3. Close Curtains and Play Soothing Music

Close the curtains to block out the flashes of light from the fireworks. Playing soothing music or white noise at a reasonable volume can also help mask the sound of the fireworks. There are specialised playlists designed for pets available online, which can be particularly helpful!

4. Consider Thunder Shirts or Anxiety Wraps

Thunder shirts or anxiety wraps are snug-fitting garments designed to provide gentle pressure to your pet’s body. Many animals find this pressure calming, and these products are available for both dogs and cats which you can easily purchase online. You can try one on your pet to see if it helps them feel more secure.

5. Consult Your Veterinarian

If your pet’s anxiety during fireworks night is severe, it’s a good idea to consult your veterinarian before fireworks night. They can recommend anti-anxiety medications or other interventions that may help your pet cope with the stress. Veterinarians can also provide advice tailored to your pet’s specific needs.

6. Gradual Desensitisation To Firework Noises

Desensitising your pet to fireworks noises can be effective over time. You can find firework sound recordings online. Start with a low volume and gradually increase it while rewarding your pet with treats and praise. This process can help your pet become more accustomed to the loud sounds and less anxious.

7. Use a Lead When Going Outside

If you need to take your pet outside during fireworks night, make sure they are on a leash or in a secure, enclosed area. The loud noises can startle them, causing them to bolt and run away. Keeping them on a lead or in a secure area is crucial for their safety.

8. Ensure Proper Pet Identification

Always make sure your pet has proper identification, such as a collar with an ID tag and a microchip. In case they do manage to escape, it will be much easier to reunite with them if they have the necessary identification.

Fireworks night can be a challenging time for pets, but with the right preparations, you can help keep them calm and safe. Creating a secure environment, staying with your pet, and using techniques like thunder shirts, desensitisation, and soothing music can make a significant difference in their comfort.

Remember, your furry friend depends on you for care and support during these stressful moments. By following these tips, you can ensure a more peaceful and enjoyable fireworks night for both you and your pet.

Understanding your pet’s pain: 5 tips for recognising discomfort

September is Animal Pain Awareness Month, an important reminder for pet owners to pay attention to their furry companions’ well-being. Unlike humans, pets can’t directly communicate when they’re in pain. As responsible caregivers, it’s our duty to learn how to recognise signs of discomfort in our beloved pets. In this blog, we’ll share five essential tips to help you detect if your pets are in pain.

1. Watch for changes in behaviour

One of the most reliable indicators of pain in pets is a change in behaviour. Keep an eye out for any unusual actions, such as decreased activity, hiding, or a sudden increase in aggression. If your normally sociable pet becomes withdrawn or irritable, it could be a sign that they’re in pain.

2. Observe changes in appetite

Pain can significantly affect an animal’s appetite. If your pet suddenly loses interest in food or water, or if they’re eating less than usual, it’s a red flag. Additionally, some pets may overeat when they’re in pain due to stress or anxiety. Therefore, it’s important you monitor their eating habits closely.

3. Pay attention to grooming habits

Changes in grooming behaviour can also be an indication that your fur friend is in pain. Cats, for instance, may stop grooming themselves properly if they’re hurting. Dogs on the other hand, might excessively lick or bite at a painful area. Check for bald patches, redness or swelling, as these can provide valuable clues.

4. Limping or altered posture

Physical manifestations of pain are often evident through your pet’s posture and movement. Watch for limping, stiffness, or reluctance to move. If your pet suddenly favours one leg or seems hunched over, it’s a sign that they may be experiencing discomfort.

5. Vocalisation and restlessness

Some pets may vocalise or become unusually restless when in pain. Whining, whimpering, or yowling can all indicate distress. Restlessness, constant pacing, or an inability to settle down could be a sign that your pet is struggling with pain.

Animal Pain Awareness Month serves as a reminder that our pets rely on us to be their advocates when they can’t express their pain in words. By paying close attention to changes in behaviour, appetite, grooming habits, posture, and vocalisation, you can become attuned to your pet’s needs and potentially detect pain early. Prompt recognition of pain can lead to timely veterinary care, ensuring that your furry friend receives the necessary treatment and relief they need.

Remember, every pet is unique, and signs of pain may vary. If you suspect that your pet is in pain, consult your veterinarian immediately. Early intervention can make a world of difference in your pet’s comfort and well-being! Let’s use this month to raise awareness about the importance of recognising and addressing pain in our animal companions, because every pet deserves a pain-free and happy life. 

How to prepare leaving your pet safe and happy with a sitter

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.