How to Get Amazing Service from Your Pet Sitter
As your trusted pet sitters, we know that you want us to be the best friends that we can to your pets. And of course, ensuring that your home is secure and protected is also important to us.
Most popular and experienced sitters have a full calendar year-round, especially so over the end-of-year national and religious holidays. This means that they’ll be on a long hustle from the early hours until late in the evening, every day.
By helping your sitter prepare for your absence, we can work together to ensure that everyone’s pets get ample time for cuddles and brushing, meals, potty breaks and playtime, and that your experience with your sitter’s services is a positive one!
Where in this beautiful world are you?
Before you travel, make sure that you have given your pet sitter a contact name, phone number and email where you can be reached while you’re away, including the land line of the home, hotel, ranch, etc where you’re staying. In the event you are unable to be reached due to accident or injury on your end, poor cell service, or lack of an international data plan, we need to be able to reach you or another designated decision-maker, in case of emergency in your home or with your pets.
If you don’t have an international data plan, in a situation with poor wifi access such as a cruise ship, or you’re in an area with poor mobile service, we will use instant, secure messaging via WhatsApp (decent security/privacy), or Signal (extreme security/privacy — Available for Apple & Android) to communicate, ensuring that we can reach you right away.
Extra litter and waste bags, clean litter boxes
Take a couple of minutes to clean all litter boxes and add fresh litter before you leave. Have at least one FULL container full of clean litter set aside. If you use a Litter or Diaper Genie for litter disposal, please pull a clean, knotted bag from the unit before you leave. (Consider providing a spare Genie bag insert, too, just in case!) Also, if you use a can or other outside container for storing dog poops before trash day, please leave that bucket clean and empty before you leave.
Food, treats, and supplies
Some pets eat a basic kibble diet, while others require special preparation of raw meats, fruits and vegetables, or animals/insects meant for carnivorous critters. Please ensure that you’ve purchased all food, ingredients and approved treats that your pets require before you leave. Try to provide at least 3-5 extra days of food, in the event your travel arrangements change.
Many special diets or lighting set-ups require expensive shopping trips, sometimes to specialty stores. If we need to shop for fresh food, hard to find treats, or back-up lighting/electronics (for reptiles, fish, etc), etc please leave sufficient cash in a secure spot in your home for whatever might be needed, or to send us money for supplies via PayPal.
Unusual pets? Choose your local emergency contact wisely!
Have a small crocodile or large python for a pet? Maybe a full grown, sometimes sassy scarlet macaw? At least one emergency contact should be familiar with your pets and willing/able to feed them, care for them, and in a serious crisis, provide or arrange for safe transport to a safer location, if we are unable to reach your home. (Severe weather, disaster, fire, etc).
Medications and medical supplies
Have at least 3-5 extra days of medication available, in the event your travel plans change. If it looks like something is running low, please have it refilled and ready for your sitter at your home. (In the case of diabetic pets, not having their insulin readily available can put the pet at risk for a serious health event.) With some compounded meds, or certain controlled substances, refills might be delayed as much as 3-4 business days. Please plan ahead to help avoid a medical emergency — your sitter and pets will be so grateful that you did!
Dishes and trash
The areas of the home that we use the most are the sink and kitchen counter areas, and the kitchen trash cans. You can help your sitter to work efficiently in the home by keeping these common areas free of excessive dirty dishes or a full trash can.
Take sick pets to the vet before you leave
If you notice that your pet has a new injury or medical condition, please pay a visit to your vet before your trip. If you’re too busy before your trip, feel free to call us. We offer pet taxi services! We will of course seek medical care for your pets while you are away, if needed. However, if the pet receives veterinary care and treatment beforehand for a new or existing issue, this ensures that all pets on our daily roster get consistent care, and that we have the opportunity to adjust our schedule for any new meds or treatment needed for your pet.
Keep emergency contacts current
Keep your list of emergency contacts up to date and let us know of any changes to these contacts. Ensure that at least one contact has a key or other approved access to your home and let us know who that is. Most importantly, if you are going to travel over the holidays and have listed someone as your emergency contact, please check to confirm that they will be in town and ready to help, in case of emergency. Often, folks provide contacts, and then forget to let the contacts know that they are an active back-up over the holidays.
New pets? Please let us know right away.
Please let us know before you book your next service if you have added another beloved critter to your household. Depending on the type of pet and the care needed, our visit times and pricing may need adjustment and we might also need new paperwork filled out, and vaccinations verified. Last, we might request to have a meet and greet with certain new pets to evaluate if we’re still a fit and the new pet accepts us.
What happens if you kick the bucket while you’re traveling?
Sometimes, we just don’t plan too well, because hey, who really wants to think about scary things? But we must, if our pets are to remain safe and secure. Please let your sitter know which emergency contact is the one to call in case of dire emergency such as your death or serious incapacitation. That way, we can assist in setting up ongoing care for your pets until your family can take over.
Have a credit card on file at your regular vet AND your preferred emergency vet.
If they won’t keep your credit card info on file for privacy/security reasons, consider providing it to your sitter or to a reliable, trustworthy local contact who can facilitate payment on your behalf. Having a local contact is important–they may need to come to the vet in person to pay. Most sitters don’t cover vet bills for clients, so be sure to make paying for regular or emergency veterinary services as easy as possible for your sitter, so we can get right back to caring for your pets.
Pick it up and stow it!
If your pets aren’t kenneled, and have free run of the house or a specific room, we ask that any items that can be chewed, licked, eaten, swallowed, or shredded are put up and out of reach of your pets. This is includes inappropriate, and sometimes dangerous, chew items such as rawhide toys and treats or dog toys that can easily be torn open, and stuffing or squeakers inside swallowed. We reserve the right to pick up and stow anything we deem dangerous or inappropriate.
No Rawhide Allowed — We will never allow dogs to chew on any kind of rawhide treats and will not provide chew treats that cannot be finished without supervision, to keep your pet safe. We will work with you to provide appropriate chews, toys and puzzles while you’re away.
Picking up dangerous items also includes prescription or recreational drugs, throat lozenges, or anything else small enough to be ingested.
Consider pulling all shades and window blinds up out of reach of your pets, if they might scratch or chew them, pull up and secure any window treatments that hang within reach of your pets, and secure any drawstrings. Not only are blinds and window treatments potential sources for injury and accidents when pets are left alone for long periods of time, they are also some of the first things to be chewed on, clawed at, and destroyed if you have a scared, anxious or unhappy pet who is not happy being alone for any length of time.
Senior & Special Needs Animals
Because these types of pets are our bread and butter, we know how awful it can be running out of supplies, special diets, or meds while the owners are away, especially if pain killers are involved (hip/joint issues, surgery, etc). Oldsters and special needs animals are very much like puppies, or young children. Illnesses and injuries often take a harder toll on very young, senior or health/mobility compromised pets. Help us ensure that your special critters have everything they’ll need while you’re away.
Based on the senior/special needs pets you have, and their health status, have the following available:
- Plenty of extra clean belly bands (typically for male dogs), doggie diapers, or other items for use with incontinent pets.
- Ample pet-safe wipes, for cleaning up animals’ tummies, genitals and such during diaper or belly band changes.
- A basic pet first aid kit (we bring our own kits, but its always smart to have your own. We can help you build it, too!)
- Enough medications or treatments to last 3-5 days past your arrival date, in the event an accident or emergency on your end prevents your scheduled return.
- Directives: make sure that your advance directives/veterinary authorization forms for health-compromised pets are kept current, so that we are clear about what your wishes are or who to call, should an emergency arise. We should always be able to accurately communicate to your vet what your wishes are, so that they can help make the best decisions for your pets during a health crisis.
- Disabled pets: if your pet uses a mobility cart, or any kind of special harnesses, belly supports etc, please ensure that everything is clean and in good condition before you leave, and that extras or repair supplies are available, depending on the item. We’re very handy and carry basic tools with us for small fix-it jobs, but typically, custom-built carts, harnesses etc will likely need major repairs taken care of by a specific company or resource.
- If you have a pet whose soiling or incontinence might result in bath time, please have appropriate shampoos, rinses, medicated shampoos, spare towels, brushes, blow dryer, etc ready to go. The faster we can get waste messes washed off, the better for your pet and for preventing messes from being tracked around the home.
We are always honored to be the ones your critters choose to hang out with and we strive to make them feel happy and loved. By working together, we can ensure that your pets will be safe, warm and content during your time away from home.
Thank you for hiring a professional pet sitting service to care for your critters!