Awesome – the family is off to Bali, but who is going to take care of your beloved pets while you are living it up by the pool?
These days a growing trend is for families to arrange for a pet sitter to stay in their home and take care of the family pets whilst they are on holidays. Generally, pets do better in their own environment while you’re away, so this is an excellent option if you can’t find a family member or friend to take care of your pets while you are away.
If you have never had a pet sitter before you might find the whole process a bit daunting, so below we have listed out some tips on how to ensure the whole process goes smoothly for everyone.
1. Find a Pet Sitter
There are several websites where you can find either a paid pet sitter or a house sitter that will also look after your pets, which is usually unpaid. There are even professional pet sitter organizations so you know your fur babies will be well looked after.
Before deciding on your pet sitter, read their reviews, check their references, ask them questions, if possible arrange to meet them in person before you agree for them to look after you pet.
2. Tell your Pet Sitter about your Pet
Whilst your pet sitter may have taken care of many animals before, remember that each pet has their own personalities, likes and dislikes. To ensure your pet is comfortable while your away, tell you pet sitter as much as you can about your pet. Consider the telling them the following:
- Does your pet like cuddles or prefers to be left alone?
- Does your pet enjoy meeting other animals whilst they are out on a walk or are they afraid of other animals?
- How does your pet cope during thunder storms?
- Does your pet know any commands, and if so what words do you use?
- Does your pet like to play and if so what are it’s favourite games?
3. Show the Pet Sitter where everything is in your home
Ensure your pet sitter knows where everything is that he or she might need during the pet sit and ensure they know how to use various appliances. Consider showing them where the following is:
- Your pet’s food and bowls;
- The vacuum for sucking up pet hair;
- Your pet’s grooming supplies;
- TV / Cable TV;
- Washing Machine;
- Coffee Machine; and
4. Explain your pet’s routine
Write down your pet’s routine and explain it to the pet sitter. Ensure you have noted down the following:
- When meal times are, where to feed your pet, what to feed your pet and how much to feed your pet;
- Details of any medication your pet may need including flea or worming treatments and if so on what date;
- The number of times you would like your pet walked;
- Where your pet sleeps.
5. Leave your Pet’s Veterinarian Contact Details
Whilst it is unlikely that the pet sitter will need to take your pet to the vet whilst you are away, unfortunately accidents do happen and you want your pet sitter to know where to take your pet in the case of an emergency. Ensure your pet sitter has your veterinarian’s address and phone number.
6. Explain your House Rules
It is important to ensure your pet sitter feels welcome and comfortable in your home whilst you are away, but let know what you expect from them whilst you are away. Things you might like to consider are:
- Do you expect them to do any housework whilst you are away? Vacuuming for example?
- Would you like your pet sitter to collect your mail and / or put out your rubbish bins?
- Can they give your pets any treats? If so what is allowed?
- Can the pet sitter invite your pet onto the couch or bed? Or is this a big no no?
7. Tell your pet sitter about your suburb
If your pet sitter is from out of town, ensure they know a little about the suburb you live in. Let them know where the local shops are, where the nearest bus stop or train station is. Tell them where to get the best coffee and if there are any dog park nearby they can visit.
8. Check in with your pet sitter
It is vital that you set up ways to communicate with your pet sitter whilst you are away. Usually this can be done via email or Facebook. This way your Pet Sitter can ask you anything that may have been overlooked and of course provide you updates as to how your pet is doing whilst you away.
It is also a good idea to give your pet sitter the contact details of a nearby friend, neighbour or family member so that if an issue arises and they are unable to get in contact with you they have a backup.