Not to brag, but we pet sitters are the unsung heroes of your vacation time.
We’re here for you and your pets when you need to take a business trip, a relaxing getaway or even just head out for a night on the town.
But as much as I love pet sitting, I’ve encountered a few frustrating situations repeatedly. With that in mind, let’s take a look at 5 things your pet sitter wishes you knew.
1. Leave Contact Information
This seems like a no-brainer, right? With today’s technology, it usually is.
But people leave town for all types of reasons, including holiday vacations and family visits, but also for meetings or conferences, where phones are often turned off.
If you’re leaving town, supply the pet sitter with contact information for yourself and also 2-3 friends that can be called on in the case of an emergency. Leave your pet’s veterinarian’s information, such as where they are located, a telephone number and if they do after-hours service, as well. If your vet doesn’t work after hours, leave the number for the local emergency animal hospital.
2. Explain Medical Issues
Many people downplay the seriousness of their pets’ medical conditions so as not to frighten off a pet sitter. But doing this can have serious consequences for the most important people in the equation — your pets.
Give pet sitters all pertinent information about your pets’ medical problems, even if it requires going over a lot of details. A good pet sitter is not going to run away when faced with a few medical issues to deal with. And if she does, then chances are she’s not a good sitter.
Meet with your pet sitter as many times as necessary before your trip to go over medical issues and discuss how to administer medication. Also, have a detailed explanation written up (this can be reused, if necessary) so your pet sitter has something to refer to while you’re away.
3. Talk About Quirks
While you may be accustomed to your dog’s disappearing skills, your pet sitter is not. If your pet sitter is not prepared for your dog to Houdini himself, he could get injured or lost.
This happened to me not too long ago. The clients had a fenced yard, and I was outside with 1 spaniel and her 2 brothers. Suddenly, she was outside the fence, kicking off a 4-hour chase that could have ended badly. When I called and alerted the client to what had happened, he said “Oh yeah, she’s a real escape artist, it happens a lot with her!”
That kind of information is vital for your pet sitter to have. We don’t think less of you or your pets if there are some quirks — our biggest concern is doing what’s necessary to keep your pet safe.
4. Home Visitors
If you have regularly scheduled maintenance or someone coming to fix the furnace, please let your pet sitter know. There is nothing scarier than hearing a knock at the door when you’re not expecting it and having someone tell you that they are there for a repair.
If maintenance workers need access to the house, alert your pet sitter to their arrival window and what they will be fixing. Your pet sitter should be on hand to ensure these people don’t randomly wander through your house or that landscapers don’t accidentally let dogs loose.
Take some of these factors into consideration when working with a pet sitter:
5. Pet Sitters, Not Prisoners
Pet sitters don’t stay in the house 24/7. We do leave throughout the day to do errands or check up on our own properties.
Good pet sitters make it a point not to be gone more than a couple of hours at a time, and a pet sitter contracted for an overnight job will be in the house the majority of the time — all through the night and most of the day.
This does not apply to simple visits. A visiting pet sitter should spend the entirety of their 30-60 minutes with your pet.
When you find the right pet sitter, it’s like adding a member to the family. You and your pets will come to love him or her, but remember to communicate. At the end of the day, your pets are the real winners.