Whether you’re new to pet sitting or have had the same great pet sitter for years, these five tips will help the pet sitting experience be better for you, your pets, and your pet sitter.
- Request that your pet sitter call you on the first visit. You want to make sure he or she started your pet sitting as arranged. Frankly, we’re all human. It’s possible that you were looking at the September calendar, not the October calendar, when you gave your pet sitter your travel dates. Or maybe your pet sitter was driving when she got your message to start this Friday, and she accidentally wrote down next Friday. To avoid any possibility of a miscommunication, request that your pet sitter call you on your first scheduled visit – if for no other reason than to just tell you she’s at your house, the spare key worked fine, and your pets are doing great. If you don’t hear from your sitter on the first visit, then call the sitter or the pet sitting company right away. Don’t let days go by before speaking with your pet sitter.
- Leave out a pen and a new roll of paper towels for your pet sitter… maybe even a pad of paper if you’d like some cute notes about your pets upon returning home. I can’t tell you how many times I was all done taking care of Fido and Fifi and was ready to write my pet care report when I realized I left my pen in the car… or at my previous pet sitting visit. You don’t want your sitter rummaging through your kitchen drawers looking for a pen, so leave a pen on the counter. You’ll have a nice report about your pets when you get home. Also, your sitter should be wiping your counters clean after preparing your pet’s food, and she should be wiping out the pet dishes, so leave out a full roll of paper towels for this service. This way, you can avoid the chance that your best guest towels are used to clean and dry the dog bowl. Plus, you may even get extra counter tops cleaned!
- Invest in a lamp timer and, if possible, leave the front light on for your sitter. Light timers are a great way to provide a lived-in look at your home when you are away. You can set the timer to have lights go on from, say, 7:00 to 11:00pm, certainly within the time frame your sitter will be at your house for the evening visit. This is a great idea simply for the security of your home, but it is also extremely helpful for your sitter. It can be a daunting task entering a home with no porch light on and no lights on inside, especially if Fido hears you rattling your keys at the front door trying to find the keyhole. If he gets too upset, your pet sitter may have a harder time entering your home. If your first scheduled pet sitting visit is at night, then leave your front porch light on for your sitter; he will be more than happy to turn it off when he leaves for the evening.
- Leave your pet sitter a note. Don’t feel like you’re a control freak if you leave a note with instructions for your pet sitter. Sure, it may be common sense to know how to take the dog for a walk. But, every dog and every dog owner is unique. How does your dog like to be walked? Does he like to take a quick potty in the backyard, then eat, then go for a walk and concentrate on a bigger potty break? Where does he like to go? What houses does he like to avoid? Or perhaps your cat has a preference about the litter box. Does she like a light dusting of litter or almost a full box? Pet sitters take care of all sorts of pets, and they’re all great in their own unique way. Please feel free to leave us a note. It will allow us to provide a better pet care experience for your pets, and you will feel better knowing that we are familiar with the specifics of your home and your pets.
- Replenish your pet supplies before you go out of town. While most pet sitters are happy to go to the pet store for you to pick up dog food or cat litter, it may take some time depending on their pet sitting schedule. You don’t want to risk your pets being without their normal brand of food or their favorite treats for long. Plus, most pet sitting services charge $10 to $20 for the trip to the store. If you are running low on supplies and are in a rush to get out of town, then give your sitter a quick call several hours before her scheduled visit to give her more time to get your supplies.
Happy Pet Sitting!