Tips to get the most out of your pet sitting experience
Sazar – Ready for my tummy rubs – Professional Pet Sitting Etc. -Pet Sitting -Dog Walking -Pet Care
What you can do to get the most from pet sitting,
so your pet can have the most fun
Author, Dorinne Whynott, Owner of Professional Pet Sitting Etc.
Pet Sitting is the best alternative for pet care. When you must leave your pets, many people call a pet sitter. You may need just a visit to let your pets out while you are at work or you need pet care while you go on a business trip or maybe you are lucky enough to go to Hawaii for the next three weeks.
Keep in mind the easier you make things for your sitter, the more time the sitter gets to spend giving your pets one on one attention, which is what they need. Your pets miss you and need that special one on one attention that only a pet sitter can give while you are away.
Here are a few things that will help your pets have more fun with their pet sitter instead of missing you:
- Pre-package your pet food – if your pets are on a strict diet or even if they aren’t, measure out and prepackage each meal in a ziploc so that the sitter just needs to grab, dump in the bowl and feed. If you feed canned food, try buying single serving or some pet owners have placed pre-measured food in covered bowls in the refrigerator (never leave canned food un-refrigerated for more then two hours, canned food is a meat product and will produce harmful bacteria, for more info – Is your Canned Food Safe). This works really well for all homemade and raw diets with their added supplements as well. Another benefit for pre-packaging is this will ensure you will have enough food for the time you are away. I would also advise to pre- package a few extra days, just in case.
- Prepackage any medications and or supplements, again pre- package a few extra days, just in case.
- Get your pets accustomed to the schedule you have reserved. If you have made a reservation for a sitter to visit 3 times per day and your pet goes out to the bathroom 6-10 times per day, Your pet may have accidents and feel horrible or be in discomfort. If your pet is old/young, needs to go out often or if you have a pet that is used to you being home 24/7 or has anxiety when left alone, Maybe your pet needs to be in an easy to clean area or an area that has no hazards or maybe you need to book a sitter to stay overnight with your pet with a few visits during the day. These are possible things to consider and you may need to adjust the reservation or talk with your pet sitting company to come up with alternatives and adjustments. You can find out if the reservation you booked is right for your pet just by doing the same routine everyday for about 2 weeks prior to you leaving. Only let them out for those same times, no longer. Feed them at those same times, see how long it takes for you to get everything you want the sitter to do and how long it takes for your pets to eat, go to the bathroom. That way you will know if what you booked will work, if not you can adjust to more visits, more time or need an overnight. Keep in mind that for some pets, any change in routine will upset them and they may have accidents in the house, even if they haven’t done so in a long time, even if you booked great visits. They may stop eating or have an upset tummy. However, they will always be happier in their own home rather then anywhere else.
- Get pets accustomed to their special area if different then normal. If your kitty is shy and hides from people but needs medications, please get them used to being confined in a small area devoid of any hiding areas or furniture to hide under. We don’t want to risk your kitties lashing out as we try to get them from under furniture. Accustom your pet to the new area a week or two before you go away so they are not stressed by too much change all at once.
- Make sure the keys you give us work easily and quickly. Every second that we spend trying to get keys to work, is time taken away from your pets. We want to make sure that each pet gets as much one on one time as possible. If you have locks you don’t use, for example, some people only use the deadbolt and not the doorknob or vise versa. Please disengage the unused locks some how so that our sitters who lock everything, don’t accidentally lock them or put tape over it so it can’t be locked.
- Make things. Easy and uncomplicated. For example – We’ve had feeding instructions of feed a handful of dry food with a small amount of wet food, sprinkled with warm water. Depending on one’s hand and interpretation, it could vary wildly even though it may seem simple. We would much rather have pre-packaged food because then we know for sure you have the correct measurements. And your pets will be on the right feeding schedule.
- Put everything that we will need in one area. If everything we need to do our pet care visits are in one easy to find area, like the counter, we don’t have to go searching here and there. Again, every minute we search, takes time.
- Keep things simple. We are coming in for pet care visits that include giving fresh food and water, scooping litter boxes, for some medications and bring in mail/newspapers. We LOVE information, the more information we have the better. A note with pet care updates and your emergency numbers is great. No need to leave pages and pages of notes. All pet care should be online so sitters can read and familiarize them selves with the information before. It is recommended that you read through your online information about a week or two before you go away to make sure it is as up to date as possible. Just leave last minute things you may have forgotten, emergency numbers, and notes that only pertain to this one time you will be away (like the lawn people will be here on Thursday).
- Always leave numbers to reach you – Make sure that we have cell phone numbers, destination numbers and two emergency people for every time you go away. If a water heater breaks or your pet becomes ill, your emergency people will take over, if you can’t be reached. If you are on a cruise, they have ship to shore lines. If you are camping, the campground can reach you. There should always be a way to reach you by cell AND by a destination number.
- Alarms, we hate them but know in today’s world, they are becoming necessary. Make sure they are working properly and that we have step by step instructions. Each alarm is different, some you must hit 1 after the code, some are 2, some are away, , some are nothing, some key pads have to be hit softly, some hard, some give us 20 seconds, some 60 seconds. It’s a night mare. We hate them and we will probably set them off, so please be understanding. Alarms are the most stressful part of our job.
- Make sure everything fits properly and in good working order. Collars should be on tight enough to never slip out of. They should only be loose enough to fit 2 fingers between your pet’s neck and the collar. We would be devastated if your pet were to get loose. We’ve had many close calls due to ill fitted collars. Make sure collars are not so worn they may break at some point as well as leashes that are partially chewed.
- Train, train, train. Train your dogs to walk nicely on leash if we are to walk them, so it is pleasant for them as well as for us. It’s much safer for everyone as well. Most pets, but especially dogs really do like to know what is expected of them and know their boundaries. Many pets given to shelters are because owners never trained them and owners got tired of their bad behavior. Pets are only as good as their owners have taught them. Yes, I know, sometimes its a pain to have to once again get up and get the cat off the counter (I have a chronic feline counter surfer) or to train your dog to walk nicely (because you normally have them loose in your yard but once a year you take them to a vet and they drag you all over the place) but it is good for them. Pets should sit and wait for their food or treats and not knock anyone down, or take your hand off, or start fights with the other pets in the home. One thing all pets should know as well is “drop it” . Swallowing something dropped on the floor like human medication is a huge problem and its a serious problem that could be life threatening. Training your pets creates harmony and your pets will respect you. You will spend more time with them because they will be more pleasant for you to bring places. Plus you and your pet will enjoy each other for a lifetime. Not to mention the enjoyment between your pets and sitter when you are away (and safety). Pick one thing at a time to work on, do it for just 10 minutes a day consistently. In a few short weeks, you will see the change. If you need ideas or suggestions for training, never hesitate to call.
- Should we be aware of anything – Tell us if there is anything we should be aware of in the neighborhood, will neighbors or kids stop by, are there dogs in the neighborhood that will be loose and charge out after us on a walk, recent breaking in the the area.
- Make sure wherever we need to go with your pets is safe – If we can have fun with them in the yard, make sure that any escape routes are securely fixed, no holes in fencing in, under or over. If we are using invisible fencing, make sure you leave instructions for us, that the batteries are good and just in case, leave leashes. We don’t want to have your pets get loose far less then you do. If we need to walk your pets in certain areas, make sure that it is cleared of any debris, nails, etc. If it is suppose to snow, please make sure you ask someone to clear snow and ice from the driveway, walkways, decks, stairs and wherever we are to take your pets.
- If your pets are not feeling well, please do not leave them alone with us. They need their mom and dad when they are not feeling well. Someone should be there all the time in case of emergency and things turn worse. If they are not eating, lethargic, or not acting normally before you leave please cancel your trip, have a friend stay at your home 24/7 or have them stay at the animal hospital. We worry about your pets. We are not veterinarians, we may know a lot but we do not want to make a decision about your pets that you may not want plus we would feel horrible if anything happened.
- Turn off any mechanical devices – We have seen automatic feeders malfunctioned more times then I can count, just give us old fashioned dishes. Electric litterboxes are known to burn out motors if one spec of dirt gets on the electric eye, give us a regular litterbox and a good heavy duty litter scoop ( please no slotted spoons), and please don’t leave water fountains on, they get slimy, are hard to clean and sometimes hard to refill, leave two to three large water bowls, let us know where they are and we will refill.
- Plants and other extras – Watering plants takes away time from your pets. If we absolutely have to water plants, please bring inside plants all to one area, an area that will not be damaged if water overflows. For outside plants, set up your watering system so that the sitter can just turn the water on when they get there and off when they leave. If watering plants takes more then a couple of minutes, please add time to your visits.
- Codes and things – If you want us to use a garage code or a code for keyless entry, these items are great but they run with batteries or are tied into your electrical system. In case there is a power outage or battery failure, make sure that we have a back up way to enter your home, such as extra keys in the office.
- Safety – Unplug as many electrical devices as you can (in case of power outages/surges, save money too). If there is anything malfunctioning in your home, please unplug it. If there is something not working right and the sitter may need to use that item (like a bad vacuum or can opener), put a note on it to not use it. Also if you have a home where it is very dark and we need to make visits at night, please leave outside lights on.
- Check weather– If the weather is going to be cold, please do not lower the thermostat too low that your pets will be too cold. If the weather is going to be hot, please make sure that your home is not an oven. Make sure that there is a cool place for your pets to be comfortable, have your central air on or give them access to a cool basement. For insurance reasons, we can not turn on anything such as fans, electric heaters, fireplaces, ovens, ac, etc. We leave your home as you leave it.
- Please make sure we have access to water, a bathroom and a phone. Many people turn off their water, which is fine. Please leave enough water for us to give your pets, wash our hands as well as dishes. Our sitters are on the road all day and must be able to use a bathroom, so please make sure we can flush toilets. Also, many people only have cell phones, leaving homes with no communication. While there is nothing we can do about that, it is advisable to have a land line. As in the case of the Boston Bombings, this year, 2013, they shut down all cell service in case the bombs were being activated via cell phone. Our sitters are on the road caring for all pets and sometimes they are in areas with no cell coverage, cell phone malfunction, or their power is low, if there were an emergency with your pet, your home, the sitter, there is no communication possible at your home.
- Paper Towels – Please leave enough Paper towels and plastic bags for any cleanups and dirty litter.
- Leave us special treats to give your pets while away – We want our time with your pets to be special. We want them to really look forward to our time with them and not miss you too much. In order to do this, we suggest leaving something special for our sitters to give your pets while you are away. Choose something they really love, but only get on special occasions, it could be a special toy or even a kong stuffed with peanut butter. We’ve given cooked steak, chicken breast, turkey, and deli meats to happy eager pets. All cut up in the fridge just waiting for the pet sitters to give to those beloved pets in our care. Oh and don’t forget the carrots, apples and bananas, cut up haddock, can squash, and tons of catnip!!! I don’t know who enjoys these special treats more, our pet sitters giving it or the pets receiving it !
When you go away to have fun on vacation or business trip, your pets miss you. Let’s make it easy, fun and enjoyable for your pets and pet sitter so that they can have as much fun one on one attention as possible.
We want your pets to look forward to you going away and seeing our sitters, which gives us all peace of mind!
About the Owner/Author
Dorinne Whynott, is a long time animal professional. She is a successful business owner establishing one of the largest pet sitting companies in New Hampshire since 1990. Click to Read her complete History.
Professional Pet Sitting Etc. is a leading business in the pet care field and continues to grow since 1990. It boasts 30+ amazing pet sitters on staff, over 3000 clients in 38 cities from Nashua to Concord, NH. Hundreds of satisfied client testimonials can be found on their website and more 5 star reviews on their Facebook page, Google+ page and more. They have sustained an A+ rating with the BBB and are unmatched in the Pet Sitting Industry in New Hampshire.
Contact us by phone at 603-888-8088
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