young woman playing with beagle on rug

Prepare an instruction booklet for your pet sitter.

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What to prepare when you’re welcoming a pet sitter at home

By Justine Seraphin Country Manager

Updated on the

There are many reasons why you may need a dog sitter at home. But if you are choosing this option, you must, ahead of time, prepare your home for the pet sitter.

If you’re going away for a night, weekend, or on holiday, you may want to get a dog sitter for your pet. This may even be the case if you work long hours and don’t want your dog to feel lonely or anxious. You could, of course, opt for day care or boarding kennels, but have you ever considered getting a pet sitter at home?

This type of pet sitting service involves a sitter staying at your home to care for your pet. Pet sitters offering house sitting services too may take care of both your house and pet while you’re gone.

This option is great for dogs who feel comfortable inside their own space and would be anxious staying outside of their familiar bubble. But it doesn’t come without inconveniences. Preparing your home for your sitter might be more work than you think! So check out our handy tips on how to do it best.

Ensure your home is pet-proofed 

The last thing you’d want for your pet sitter is for them to go through the stress of rushing your pet to the vet clinic if something goes wrong. And of course, you want your dog to be safe and happy while you’re away!

So before your pet sitter arrives, make sure anything breakable and/or any toxic foods are safely put away. If there’s a room your pet is not allowed access to, make sure it is locked. Ensure your garden is well fenced-in, and that your pet’s ID tags are up to date, just in case. This is sure to give you and your pet sitter some peace of mind before your departure.

Leave detailed instructions on your home and your pet

The perfect pet sitter will want your pet to feel as though nothing has changed, even if you’re not there. Of course, this is quite a feat, but if you leave detailed instructions with your sitter, then they’ll be better able to achieve this.

You could, for instance, type up a little instruction booklet. Create your pets’ profiles, and include information like what their favourite treats are, how long they like their dog walks to be, or whether they like to be tucked in before bed. This will ensure your sitter does the best job possible spending time with your best friend!

Additionally, you should include important information about the house. If your plumbing usually makes a strange noise in the middle of the night, this is something worth mentioning to your pet sitter so they don’t worry unnecessarily. More information, such as the alarm code or emergency contact phone numbers should also be inside this booklet. In a moment of need, it's good if your sitter can find these quickly and easily.

Provide easy access to everything your sitter needs to care for your pet

Your pet sitter will need a number of things while you’re away. This may include your pet’s food, treats, lead, jacket, toys, poo bags, and maybe even medication!

You can make it easier for your pet sitter by making sure all of this can be found easily. In fact, it’s a good idea to keep all your pet’s supplies in the same place so there’s no confusion.

In addition, you should make sure there’s more than enough supplies for your pet sitter to go through until you return. Your sitter shouldn’t have to worry about going to buy the proper brand of food or renewing your pet’s prescription. If you must, get extra food, treats, poo bags and medication before you leave, just in case.

Discuss your expectations with your pet sitter before you leave

As with asking for any service, you should be very clear about what you expect from your pet sitter so that there are no surprises on either side.

For example, if your pet sitter house sits too, then you might expect them to keep the house clean and tidy or take out the rubbish. If this is the case, ensure your house sitter has easy access to all the cleaning supplies as well as clear instructions on how to dispose of the rubbish and recycling.

Another example might be how much you expect your pet sitter to keep in touch with you. If you want them to give you a daily update, ensure you make that clear before you leave your home and your pet with them. If, on the contrary, you would prefer to only be contacted in case of an emergency, then you should discuss this with your sitter as well.

Exchange phone numbers and emergency contacts

This might be the most important tip of all. If, despite all of your preparations, your pet sitter still encounters some last-minute problem, then it is of the utmost importance that they are able to contact you, or a trusted neighbour, friend, or even veterinarian in your area.

Include all of these essential phone numbers in your instruction booklet. Additionally, give your emergency contacts a heads-up that someone will be staying in your home and caring for your pet. They should be prepared to answer a call from your sitter if need be.

Finally, ensure you have your sitter’s phone number and email address saved so that you can easily contact them at any time if you want to check in.

Pet sitting is a huge responsibility for the person who’s looking after your home and your pet. So ensuring our sitters feel comfortable while they’re doing this should be our top priority as good pet owners!

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