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While it’s not uncommon for pet parents to travel with their pets, this isn’t always possible. Using pet sitting services allows cats and dogs to stay where they’re most comfortable, in their own home. That can help avoid the stress and anxiety of being in an unfamiliar location surrounded by human and animal strangers.
Generally, a pet parent's pet sitter cost will vary based on numerous factors, such as:
The pet parent’s location
If the pet sitter will drop in during the day (number and length of visits per day) or spend the night (some pet sitters may care for their client’s pets in their homes)
The type and number of pets the pet parent has
The age(s) of the pet(s)
If a pet has any special needs or requirements (additional walks, medications, vet appointments)
If it’s a holiday
The pet sitter’s experience
If there's an emergency the pet sitter needs to handle
If the person hired is a professional pet sitter (employee of a company or runs their own pet-sitting business) or a hobby pet sitter
After pet parents do the hard work of finding and hiring the right pet sitter, it’s time to prepare for their trip. Those preparations should include making sure the person they hired has everything they need to ensure proper care of their pet with a thorough pet sitter checklist.
Most pets (cats and dogs) are creatures of habit that thrive on routines. Alterations to their schedules can confuse them or cause them to become anxious. An anxious pet may become fearful, refuse to eat, or get destructive.
While pet parents aren’t home, the pet sitter should maintain the pet’s usual schedule. Leaving detailed instructions for feeding and daily routines will help ensure this happens. Pet parents may consider using a pet sitter template to provide essential information, including:
The pet's schedule for feeding
The type of dry food or wet food to feed and daily food intake
Food sensitivities or allergies (if any)
Walks (when/how often, length, any usual routes the dog takes)
Anything special a pet parent usually does that might make the pet feel more comfortable (for example, one-on-one time, daily belly rubs, or snuggling for a few minutes on the sofa)
Instructions for leaving the pet(s) home alone
Does a pet have any medical needs? Do they have a history of health concerns? A pet sitter should know all pertinent health information for any pets in their care. For instance, if a pet requires daily medication, pet parents should provide details such as:
The type of medication
When and how to give the medication
Or, if a pet has a history of urinary tract infections or ear infections, they should write down:
Prevention measures they take
Typical symptoms the pet exhibits
What to do if an issue develops
The pet sitter should know about any special needs a pet might have, such as hearing or visual impairments and mobility issues. They should be aware of a pet’s quirks or fears, such as anxiety around strange animals, a fear of loud noises, or any particular places on the pet’s body they don’t like to have touched. For instance, if a pet has a fear of storms, pet parents should inform the pet sitter about any calming products they provide or a safe space in the home where the pet stays. Pet sitters, especially if they’re new, may also find it helpful to know what the pet’s usual behaviors and body language look like so they can quickly detect if something’s off.
The pet sitter should have all of the pet parent’s current contact information in case of an emergency or if they have any general questions or concerns about the pet. That may include the pet parent’s cell phone number and an email address they regularly check. Pet parents may also consider leaving the landline number for their accommodations (hotel, family member’s home number, etc.) if the pet sitter has trouble reaching them.
Pet parents should also make sure to leave the names and emergency phone numbers for:
Their regular veterinary clinic
The local emergency vet
Their primary and secondary emergency contacts (people who they trust to make decisions regarding their pet’s care on their behalf)
To make everything as easy as possible for the pet sitter, pet parents should place all of their cat or dog’s essential supplies in easy-to-find locations. That way, the pet sitter won’t have to waste time searching through every part of the home to find what they need. Pet parents should include the location of essential items, including food, feeding supplies (can openers, scoops, food bowl, water bowl), treats, medications, toys, leashes, pet carriers, and cleaning supplies in their instructions. If they have more than one pet, they may also want to label the items to avoid potential confusion.
Finally, pet parents should make sure they leave enough food, treats, and medication to last the duration of their trip. That way, they won’t have to ask their pet sitter to run errands while they’re away.
Even in the hands of the most experienced pet sitter, accidents, injuries, and illnesses can happen. Pet parents should provide a pet care safety plan and assemble a clearly labeled pet first aid kit. They should place the kit in an easy-to-find (yet inaccessible to pets) location, and write down where to find it in their instructions.
Items to include in the emergency kit should include:
Cotton balls/cotton swabs
Syringes or eyedroppers
When it comes to pets with anxiety (or who might become anxious in certain situations), pet parents want to do whatever they can to ensure their cats and dogs feel safe and comfortable. A pet sitter allows pets to stay in the comfort and familiarity of their own home while their pet parents are away. If pet parents need additional tips for hiring a pet sitter or managing their pet’s anxiety, Fuzzy is here to help. With only a few clicks, they can speak with licensed vets online any time, day or night, to get the advice and recommendations they need to keep their pets happy and healthy.