Using Your Pet Sitting Service Most Effectively
Using Your Pet Sitting Service Most Effectively
Once you have made the decision to enlist the services of a pet
sitter, you will find you have discovered a new friend for your pet
and someone who will be of great help to you. To ensure a
successful relationship with your pet sitter, we suggest you follow
these simple guidelines:

Give Us Your Pet's History and Habits
In order to schedule the visits, your sitter will want to know the
important routines in your pet's day -- eating, sleeping, walking or
playing. Your sitter will want to know about all the major and minor
health problems your pet may have (honesty is important here) and
detailed information on any medication as well as your desires in
case of emergency. Tell your sitter where favorite toys are kept or, if
your dog is a "chewer", where the chew toys are. (Also guard
against personal items being chewed while you are away.) Tell
your sitter where your pet's favorite hiding places are. This will
prevent panic by the sitter looking for your pet. Your pet sitter needs
to know of any unusual habits your pet may have (such as changes
in bowel movements, eating habits, fears, etc.) Provide some
written verification of up to date vaccinations for your pet (tags on
collars are good). Provide identification tags on all pets, including
cats.

Plan Ahead
Call to make your pet sitting reservations as early as possible --
especially for holiday times. If you don't have an extra key to your
house, you will need to have one or two made for your sitter before
you go away (make sure you try it out first). Buy extra food, litter and
supplies for when you will be away and in the event you may stay
away longer than you had anticipated. If your dog is not used to
walking on a leash, you should practice with him before leaving. Be
sure your dog's collar fits properly for walking and has an
identification tag.

Prepare Your Home Before You Leave
Clean out food from your refrigerator that may spoil when you are
gone and don't leave dirty dishes in the sink that could attract pests
and interfere with the sitter's work. Leave some piece of clothing
that you have recently worn near where your pet sleeps to "remind"
him or her of you. Leave your vet's phone number in case of
emergency. Move valuables away from windows. Leave the right
sized food and water bowls out for your pet's use and clean the
bowls out before you leave. Put away bikes, outdoor toys and lawn
furniture as they can be easily stolen. Leave everything needed for
the care of your pet in one general area so the sitter doesn't have to
search for leashes, food cans, and especially medicine. If the sitter
will be visiting in the evenings, provide a timer light in the house so
the sitter won't have to walk into a dark house. It will be friendlier for
your pet as well. Mow your grass and arrange for a neighbor to
shovel snow. If you live in an area that has extreme winter weather,
arrange for a neighbor to have a key to your home in case of
emergency and in the event that the sitter is unable to make a visit.
Be sure the sitter has the name and number of your neighbor.
Inform neighbors who may be looking out for your property that a
pet sitter will be making visits to your home.

Communication is Important
Get the telephone number of the place(s) where you will be staying
while away so that you can leave it with your pet sitter for
emergencies. If you find you will be returning earlier or later than
expected, call to inform your pet sitter as soon as you know.
Remember to check the time difference if you call the sitter with
some new instructions after you leave. Please be considerate of
those who have offices in their homes. Call during office hours
unless it's an emergency. Let the sitter know if there are any rooms
that are "off limits" for pets and sitters. If other people might also be
checking on your pet or house, let them and the sitter know who is
responsible for what and when they may be in the house (and let
them exchange telephone numbers). Leave a list of numbers that
may be helpful to a sitter in any emergency: vet, electrician,
plumber, maid service, yard or pool maintenance, etc. Tell your
sitter where you keep items like the vacuum cleaner, mop, broom,
dustpan, trash bags, etc. in case of spills. Make sure the sitter
knows the location of your fuse box or circuit breaker and where to
find new fuses.

Other Services May Be Available
If plants are to be watered, your sitter will want to know where your
plants are located and how often and how much they should be
watered. Lights can be turned on in the evening and off in the
morning and curtains can be opened and closed. Newspapers
and mail can be picked up. Tell your sitter where you would like
them to be placed.

Safety Is Critical
Secure any outside gates to a dog lot or swimming pool. Make
sure all the doors and windows are locked. Unplug any appliances
that won't be used to prevent damage during electrical storms or
injury to pets. Consider leaving a radio on while you're away. It
could be a crime deterrent and may also keep your pet company.
Don't leave anything out that could be harmful to your pet --
Christmas tree tinsel and pine needles, strings or ribbon or
anything that could accidentally be swallowed. Never leave your pet
in a garage -- there are too many hazardous substances found
there such as fertilizers, antifreeze and pesticides. If you must, be
sure to pet-proof the area. Make sure your clothes dryer is closed
and close all back doors. Do not hide keys outside for the sitter or
other people who may be entering your home. Be sure that all pets
are inside the house that are supposed to be. If the cat(s) escape
before you leave, be sure to inform the sitter so he or she knows to
look for the animal outside and does not waste time hunting inside.