There are times we need to be away from home for personal or professional reasons. Unfortunately, our pets can’t always accompany us. Finding someone reliable to take care of our fur babies while we’re gone can feel like a Herculean task. A good friend or family member your pet loves and is comfortable with is ideal. However, this isn’t always an option. That’s where hiring a professional comes in. But how to choose the best pet sitter?
Referrals from friends can be an excellent start. We also suggest finding a sitter through Pet Sitters International, the world’s leading educational organization for professional pet sitters. This outstanding organization is also responsible for establishing September as Pet Sitter Education Month. This month-long observance shines a light on professional pet sitters’ commitment to continuing education and on the growing number of educational resources available for professional pet sitters and dog walkers.
We’ve put together a list of what to look for in a pet sitter:
- One that specializes in your type of pet (dog, cat, both)
- Has at least five years of experience
- Can provide several references
- Trained in pet first aid
- Can show proof of insurance
- Offers options including daily visits (one, two, three or more), overnight stays, walks
- Has the ability to recognize and deal properly with medical emergencies
- Can calmly handle shy or aggressive pets
- Is upfront with fees and offers a written contract
- Has a plan in place for a backup sitter should they have an emergency
- Asks about your pet’s preferences for playing, petting, walking, etc.
- Offers a free in-home consultation (during the consult, does your pet take to them? How did they interact with your pet?)
How To Prepare Your Pet Sitter For Success
How your pet fares while you are away greatly depends on the information you leave with the sitter.
Create a ‘Catifesto’ or ‘Dogifesto’
Think of this as an instruction manual. It should include everything that is part of your pet’s daily life
- Day-by-day, meal-by-meal instructions
- How to prep the food
- Where your pet eats and how to place the dish
- How to clean the dish
- Where dish soap and utensils are located
- How often to empty, clean and replenish the water bowl(s)
Supplements and/or Medications
- Where they are located
- How and when to administer
- Which toys your pet prefers
- Where toys are stored
- When they like to play (before or after a meal?)
- How long play sessions should last
Walks (generally for dogs)
- Best times to walk
- Your dog’s favorite routes
- Where the harness, leash and poop bags are located
Litter Box (generally for cats)
- Where the boxes are located
- How often to scoop
- How to dispose of waste
- Where a broom/vacuum is located
- Where extra litter is stored
- Your phone number and email address
- Phone number of a friend or relative they can call in case of an emergency
- Your vet’s name, clinic, address and phone number
- Closest emergency vet clinic
Describe your pet’s endearing quirks and behaviors
- Explain your pet’s personality
- If you have more than one pet, include physical descriptions of each so the sitter can keep the names straight (you can use photos, too)
- Highlight your pet’s likes and dislikes, which body parts are safe to pet, if they are afraid of loud noises, etc.
- Mention where they like to nap/sleep, how to approach them, if you have more than one pet, how they interact with each other
- How your pet verbalizes or communicates stress, etc.
Most pet sitters include certain household tasks in their fee, such as watering plants, taking out the garbage and collecting the mail. Leave instructions. In addition, let them know where cleaning supplies, flashlights, candles, utensils, dishes and glasses are located and if specific lights should be kept on at night.
Even normally calm pets can feel stressed when they are separated from their human family. We suggest starting them on a daily regimen of one of our Organic Full Spectrum Hemp CBD products a week or two before you depart and instruct your sitter to provide twice a day while you are gone.
Choose from Hard Chews, Soft Chewables, several Oil Dropper potencies (including two with peanut butter flavor) and Capsules. With so many options, there is sure to be one that is perfect for your pet. Not sure about their preference? Treatibles Hard Chews and Soft Chewables are also available in Intro Packs.
This may seem like a lot of work but remember what the goal is – to keep your pet’s life as normal as possible while you are away. Not only will it reduce their stress, but yours, as well.