How to Prepare for Hiring a Pet Sitter for the First Time

Leaving your beloved dog behind at home isn’t easy for most pet parents.  Your good intentions might encourage you to bring your dog along on a trip, but sometimes it’s not in the best interest of your dog. Pet parents often cancel business trips and vacations because they don’t want to leave their dog home alone. Hiring a pet sitter is an excellent way to have the best of both worlds for you and your dog. Pet sitting allows your dog to receive excellent care, and you will have peace of mind knowing you can enjoy your trip.

The following information will help you prepare for hiring a pet sitter for the first time.

photo of a woman kissing a dog

How To Find a Pet Sitter

This task can be one of the most stressful situations pet parents can face. Your goal is to find a pet sitter that is trustworthy and experienced in taking care of dogs. You can search online or ask the veterinarian, friends or family for recommendations. All pet sitters should have a passion for dogs and express this easily when meeting your dog for the first time. Here are some questions to ask during your interview:

  • Do you have experience pet sitting?
  • Do you have references I can contact?
  • Do you have a website?
  • Do you have a passion for dogs?
  • Is your schedule open for the time frame I need you to pet sit?
  • Are you comfortable entering and exiting my home with a key?
  • Do you know what to do in an emergency situation if my dog gets sick?
  • Do you have the ability to take my dog for a walk and provide the proper amount of exercise on a daily basis?

How to Prepare for the Pet Sitter to Arrive

Now that your bags are all packed, and you are ready to take your trip, it’s time to focus on preparing for your pet sitter. The following checklist will help you create the ultimate guide to caring for your dog.

  • Purchase a  folder or binder from a local store – This folder will hold all the information you will provide to your pet sitter. Keeping all the information in one place makes it easy for the pet sitter to refer to relevant information.
  • Contact the veterinarian – Once you know the name of your pet sitter contact the veterinarian office and provide them with the information. It’s essential they know the name of the person caring for your dog in case of an emergency situation.
  • Create an emergency plan – Things happen suddenly, and it’s best to provide your pet sitter with an emergency plan to assure your dog gets medical assistance as quickly as possible. Your emergency plan needs to include the veterinarian office name, address and phone number. You should also include a local animal hospital that is open 24 hours for emergency situations.

Once you have the above information prepared it’s time to gather plenty more information that is needed to care for your dog. All of the items on the checklist below need to be mentioned in the folder as well as be presented to the pet sitter.

  • A list of  your dog’s medical conditions or allergies.
  • Information about when and how to give your dog medication.
  • Your dog’s microchip information.
  • A picture of your dog.
  • Pet insurance card.
  • Information about your dog’s daily routines.
  • Information about feeding your dog which includes how many times a day and what type of food.
  • Information about your dog’s daily exercise needs such as walks and running around in a fenced yard.
  • Information about your dog’s personality traits and any problems that might arise which includes any anxiety issues.
  • Place items in one area of your home for the pet sitter to find quickly. These items should include a dog leash, food, treats, medication, dog clothes, grooming tools and any other items needed to care for your dog properly.

Remember the pet sitter is going to have access to your home whether or not they choose to stay overnight or visit your home several times a day to care for your dog. It’s recommended that you prepare your home by storing your valuables in a locked safe which cannot be found easily.

You can also prepare your home a bit further by placing baby gates in doorways where your dog should not go. Setting timers for your lights to go on and off at certain times of the day are extremely helpful when leaving your dog home alone.

Plan to introduce the pet sitter to your dog a few days before you leave for your trip. It’s essential to allow your dog to become friends with a pet sitter, so they are more comfortable while you are away. Encourage the pet sitter to take your dog for a walk and develop a bond with your dog before you leave the house.

Preparing for hiring a pet sitter for the first time might seem overwhelming but if you follow the tips mentioned above the process will go more smoothly than you expect and you will feel confident you are leaving your dog in excellent hands!