You’ve found the best dog sitter for your dog, had a great meet-and-greet, and finalized your dog’s stay on Rover. What’s next? Dropping off your dog at your pet sitter’s home, or welcoming your sitter to yours for house sitting. But before you scoop up your pal’s food, leash, and bed to head out the door, consider taking these few extra steps to get your dog ready for a perfect pet sitter experience.
To make your dog’s time with your sitter as comfortable, fun, and worry-free as possible, we’ve compiled a few tips for getting yourself, your home, and your dog ready for dog boarding or house sitting before the big day.
How to get your dog ready for dog boarding
Sending your dog to the pet sitter while you’re away can be an exciting pup-cation for her, though it can also be a confusing time for your pet once the door closes behind you at the sitter’s home. To minimize separation anxiety (usually for first-timers on the first day), your experienced sitter will have some tricks up their sleeve.
You can help this process by sharing as much information as possible about your pet with your sitter before the stay starts, including tips on how to cheer up your dog—sometimes something as simple as playing fetch in the yard is all it takes to make the blues go away.
In addition to communicating well with your sitter, here are some additional steps you can take to prepare for dog boarding:
- Make sure your pet’s tag and ID are up-to-date: This is a smart rule to follow even in your own home, but especially before dropping your pet at your sitter’s house. Make sure your dog’s collar is safely secured around his neck and includes an ID tag with his name and current emergency contact information. If your dog has a microchip make sure your sitter is aware of it, and that the information on file is up to date.
- Pack a bag of goodies for your pet: Just because your dog is away from home doesn’t mean he needs to miss out on the things he loves most. Send along a bag filled with his favorite toys, yummy treats, and a comfy pet bed or blanket to make your dog feel comfortable at the sitter’s house.
- Write down feeding instructions: Include a short note with your dog’s food and treats, outlining how much and when he eats and receives treats, dental chews, etc. If your dog takes vitamins or medication, make sure to provide the exact schedule for administering those as well. Even though you discussed all of this during the meet and greet, providing your sitter with a little note at drop-off ensures everyone is on the same page about what your dog needs daily.
- Leave emergency contact info: Make a note of your preferred animal hospital and provide the name and phone number of a friend or family member as a secondary contact (in case your sitter can’t reach you during an emergency).
How to get your dog ready for house sitting
Unlike dog boarding, welcoming your pet sitter into your home means you don’t need to worry about your pet getting used to a new environment, but she may still be confused by a new sitter in the home, especially once you walk out the door.
To minimize your pet’s uncertainty, make sure to spend plenty of time introducing your sitter to your dog before the stay, and give your sitter a tour of the home, so they know where to find all the key items for your pet. A house sitter who’s comfortable in your home and knowledgable of your dog’s needs will translate into a much happier house sitting experience for your pet too.
Here are some additional steps to prepare your home for house sitting:
- Write down your house rules for your sitter: Leave your house sitter with a helpful reminder of the house rules you discussed, including your pet’s feeding schedule, number of required walks or backyard potty breaks, and things your pet may or may not do around the home (i.e., sitting on the couch, sleeping in the bedroom, etc.).
- Keep food and dog supplies in a central location: To make feedings and walks as easy as possible for your house sitter, keep your pet’s food and supplies, such as their dog leash, in an easy-to-locate spot. Your sitter should have easy access to any items your dog may require while you’re away, without having to search too hard. Things like medications, first aid supplies, towels for muddy paws, or your dog’s raincoat should all be easy to find.
- Provide the name of your vet: Supply your house sitter with your nearby veterinarian’s contact information in case any medical issues arise with your pet while you’re away. Also, always make sure to inform your pet sitter of any medical history that might be important to know about, even if your pet isn’t currently sick. What’s normal for one dog might be a big deal for another, so noting any chronic lameness, history of vomiting or diarrhea, or any other ongoing symptoms that are common for your dog to experience occasionally will let your sitter know what to look out for.
Whether you are dropping your dog off with your pet sitter or welcoming your house sitter into your home, communication and preparation are the keys to a successful, fun, and safe experience for your dog. You can learn more about how to prepare your dog emotionally before you travel without them here.