You probably know the standard things you should do when preparing for a pet sitter:
- Leave them instructions on how and when to feed your pet
- Leave a schedule of medications (if needed)
- Let them know the dos and don’ts – things that your pet is allowed to do in the house (like get on the furniture) and things they aren’t (like eat pizza from your plate)
- Leave your travel and contact information
- Leave your veterinarian’s information
There are several very important things that most people don’t think of when preparing for a pet sitter, however.
- Make Sure Your Pet’s ID is Up-to-Date
Whether it be a microchip or visible ID tag (both are recommended), ensure that the information provided is accurate. In the case of an ID tag, you’ll want to ensure it’s not so worm that it’s hard to read. Be sure to verify the information is accurate on the microchip at least a month in advance of the sitter’s visit, because it could take weeks to change the information. If you use a traditional engraved tag, you may need to get a new one made. If you use a digital pet ID tag with a smartphone-scannable QR code, like a PetHub tag, you can verify and update information merely by logging into your computer.
- Share All Medical Conditions – Both Current and Old
If your pet needs daily medication, you probably won’t forget to mention that condition and how to care for it. However, don’t leave out “old” injuries or illnesses either. Did your dog hurt its back two years ago? Mention that too so the sitter knows to be careful and watchful for a re-injury. Did your dog have a seizure once 5 years ago? Mention that too. Those things can reoccur years later, especially when a pet experiences a change in environment or stress. Your pet sitter can better recognize symptoms if they know it’s a possibility (even though it may be only a remote possibility).
- Show Them the Pet First Aid Kit
As a responsible pet parent, you have a pet first aid kit in the house. Is it stocked and up to date? If not, make sure it is. Then let your pet sitter know where to find it. Or better yet, place it where it’s visible so the pet sitter doesn’t have to try to remember which closet you tucked it in.
- Notify Your Veterinarian
Of course you left your veterinarian’s information with the sitter, but did you know that most veterinarians can’t (or won’t) treat a pet that does not belong to your pet sitter without permission? Give your vet a call and let them know your sitter has your approval to seek treatment for your pet on your behalf. You may need to leave a credit card number to guarantee payment. You may also want to give the sitter a signed letter of “care” permission in case the sitter has to take your pet to an after-hours emergency vet.
- Leave A Local Backup Emergency Contact
Vacation is a time when people to try to unplug. Although you are worried about your pet at home, you likely won’t be by your phone 24/7. Maybe you leave it on the beach chair and go for a swim. What if you forget it in the cab? Also, what if your sitter has their own emergency come up and they need to stop caring for your pet? Leave the contact information of a friend or family member near home for the pet sitter (or maybe more than one) so they can help out the pet sitter, and your pet, if needed.
Remembering these important extra steps will help ensure the sitter can care for your pet to the best of their ability while you’re away.
Thanks to PetHub.com for this article. PetHub is the world’s fastest way to get lost animals home again, and offers smartphone-scannable digital ID tags for animals that can be easily updated on the fly with a computer or smartphone.