Leaving your pet at home while traveling can be stressful for both of you! But there are steps you can take to make your time away go smoother.
Although difficult, sometimes it is necessary to travel without your pet. Whether you hire a professional or have a friend or family member with your pet, what can you do to prepare for your pet sitter?
READ MORE ⇒ Tips for finding a good pet sitter
Step One: Prepare your pet for the pet sitter
Finding the right person to stay with your pet while you’re away will help ease a lot of anxiety. If you’re still looking for that person, check out our advice on choosing the best pet sitter.
Once you’ve found a great caretaker, it’s important to make your reservations on time. Good pet sitters have busy schedules, and booking well in advance ensures you get the sitter of your choice.
Once your trip is booked but before you leave, it’s helpful to take time to allow your pet and the sitter to get to know each other. Pay the sitter to come by for 15 minutes a couple of times a week or two before your trip. Knowing that your pet is happy for the sitter to arrive will bring you much comfort in your absence.
If the sitter is walking your dog, schedule a short walk around the neighborhood together. Point out all of your dog’s favorite spots. And if things go well, give the sitter the leash on the way back.
Finally, make sure your pet’s ID tag is current and securely attached to their collar.
Step Two: Prepare your home for the pet sitter
You can avoid accidents and make your pet sitter’s job easier by preparing your house before you leave.
Start putting away any toys that could pose a choking hazard while your dog is left alone. Also, put away anything your dog might try to chew on that he shouldn’t, like pillows, plants, shoes, and trash.
Next, stash everything your pet sitter will need for your pet while you’re away in a place that’s easy to find but out of your pet’s reach. Make sure you leave enough food, medication, treats, trash bags, cleaning supplies, and a pet first aid kit.
Get out your dog’s bowls, leash, and any toys you want him to have while you’re away. Also, let your babysitter know where their carrycot or crate is in an emergency.
Make sure your yard is secured and that anything that could hurt your pet is cleared away. If your yard isn’t fully secured, make sure your sitter knows not to let your dog out unless they’re on a leash.
Step Three: Prepare written instructions for your pet sitter
Expecting your pet sitter to remember your pet’s detailed care instructions is asking too much. Instead, prepare Post-it’s, a journal, or index cards with the information she needs to keep your pet healthy and happy.
sticking to the schedule
Pets find comfort in routine. Do not believe me? Try serving your pet’s dinner 15 minutes late! Keeping things consistent while you’re away can help alleviate any anxiety your pet may feel while you’re away.
You can help your pet sitter stick to your pet’s schedule by writing it down. A few days before you leave, pay attention to your pet’s habits and make some notes to leave for your sitter.
Pet Personality Profile
Pets all have their unique personalities and things they like and dislike. For example, if your pet is a stuffed animal, it’s a good idea to let your sitter know they’re expecting a pal when they curl up on the sofa.
Other pets may only be interested in affection if you have a treat in hand. Prepare your pet sitter with some insight into your pet’s personality and preferences so they know what to expect. It could also help her recognize if your pet’s behavior is wrong, which may indicate something more serious might be affecting him.
Ruffle the rules
Just like children, pets test whether the rules still apply while you’re away. Make sure the pet sitter knows whether you want your pup to sleep on the couch, in your bed, or to share dinner at the table.
8 things to leave to your pet sitter
Of course you do, leaving behind the written directions you’ve collected. Also, don’t forget to prepare these things for your pet sitter:
- Your emergency contact information and itinerary.
- The phone number and address of your pet’s vet along with vaccination records, medication dosage, schedule and any special tricks you use to administer the medication, and your pet’s insurance card. Also contact the veterinary office to let them know that your pet sitter is authorized to look after your pet.
- At least two names and phone numbers of people you trust to make decisions about your pet in case you are unavailable. (Be sure to ask these people beforehand!)
- alarm codes and a spare key. If the keyboard batteries are dead, there is no way to open the door without a key. For extra security, leave a key with a neighbor.
- Food and treat directions, including portion size, number of meals and treats your pet eats per day, and the time they typically feed. Also let your pet sitter know if there are any foods they are definitely not allowed to eat due to allergies or other reasons.
- Leave your pet sitter a map of your dog’s favorite hikes and places to visit. Tell her approximately how long you spend on your hikes and what equipment (leash, harness, treats) you use.
- If your pet is playing in the yard, let your sitter know how it works. Does being outdoors have to be supervised? Will your dog expect to throw the Frisbee or the ball? And how long is your dog expected to play outside?
- If your pet sitter stays at your home, give them instructions on where to sleep, how to operate your television, how to operate the heating/air conditioning, and whether you like having other guests in your home.
Don’t make a fuss
While it may break your heart to leave your pet behind, sobbing and crying will only frighten your pet. Take a short walk or play a game of fetch and when it’s time to go, keep your farewell casual.
The goal is to set those details upfront so your pet doesn’t even notice you’re gone!
This post was written for Richard who is preparing to travel without his dog for ten days. He’s excited for his daughter to stay with his spoiled pooch and asked us for some tips to make things easier for both of them. Do you have any other suggestions that might help?
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