Leaving your pets in the care of a pet sitter while you’re away can be anxiety-inducing and nerve-wracking. You want to make sure your pets are in the very best hands. Whether you choose someone who visits your home multiple times a day, stays in your home for the duration of your trip, or takes your animals to stay with them until you come home, doing your homework and setting expectations will give you peace of mind and ensure your pet’s safety.
Pet Sitter Education Month, first established in 2016 by Pet Sitters International, is observed each September and is a great time to dive deeper into how you choose a pet sitter, what kind of information they should know, and how they should respond in the event of a pet emergency.
Choosing the Right Pet Sitter
Choosing the right pet sitter is a crucial decision. First and foremost, look for someone who genuinely loves animals and has experience with your specific type of pet. Check references and read reviews to understand their reliability and trustworthiness. Some pet sitters have certain training and certifications—feel free to ask them more about their specific education and training. Communication is key, so find someone who will keep you updated on your pet’s status and any concerns that may arise. Trust your instincts. If you feel confident in your chosen pet sitter, you’re on the right track to ensuring your pet is well-cared for in your absence.
What Your Pet Sitter Should Know
There are times we may feel like crazy pet parents, but in the event someone else is watching over your animal, there is no such thing as too much information. Anything you feel is important for your pet sitter to know should be written concisely so they can reference it.
Don’t forget to include:
- House rules (if they are staying in your home or visiting your home)
- A list of any medications your pet is taking and instructions for administering
- Feeding guidelines, including a list of foods your pet cannot consume, is not allowed or may be toxic
- A list of nearby animal emergency hospitals and your primary care veterinarian’s clinic, along with contact information and directions
- Access to your pet’s medical history
- A list of signs and symptoms that may signal an emergency
- Your pet’s first aid kit
- The number for the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) (888) 426-4435 (and of course that you approve/will reimburse any associated costs)
- Your pet’s routine, including any commands they answer to, when they go for walks, and what time they’re usually served meals
- Safe walking routes in your neighborhood your pet is accustomed to – and always use a leash…just in case!
- Information on whether your pet is good with other animals or whether they should remain solitary
- How to contact you for updates
A reliable pet sitter is not just someone who feeds and walks your pet; they are a compassionate guardian who prioritizes your pet’s well-being in any situation, ensuring peace of mind while you’re away.