Dog Sitting While On Vacation: What You Need to Do Before Your Trip

Published: 4/15/2021
Warm weather has hit, and it’s vacation time again. Unfortunately, it isn’t always possible to bring Fido along, and finding a sitter is inevitable. Trying to prepare for a sitter can be a whirlwind, and as humans, we’re liable to forget something. That’s where this guide comes in. We’ll detail everything you should be doing to prepare your home, dog, and sitter for your time away, so you can rest easy and enjoy your vacay.

Introduce the sitter the right way.

Introducing your sitter correctly is so important, especially when dealing with shy or anxious pets. Have the sitter come bearing treats — but don't have them approach your dog right away. Instruct the sitter to throw a couple of treats in your dog's direction and gently call Fido to them.

Use calm body language to convey to your dog that the sitter is a safe person and that Fido should be comfortable with them. It's best to introduce the dog sitter before the dog sitting appointment, so try to schedule a meet-and-greet a few days in advance. Starting off on the right paw will ease your pet's anxiety and make for a more pleasant staycay for your pup.

Give the sitter a tour

Before you leave, show the sitter around. Tell them where they will be sleeping, where the restroom is, and where you keep the paper products and cleaning supplies. Be sure to give them any access codes and teach them how to operate the remote, stove, and anything else they may need to use.

Label everything

Label your pet's food and medication, especially if you have a multi-pet household. Not only will this eliminate confusion, but it can prevent medication mismanagement. On the food bag, place a post-it note with the exact amount of food your pet eats and how often. Write out detailed medication instructions, including whether they should give it with food and how often to give it.

Set out things your sitter might need

Your sitter is bound to forget where something is, even with a tour of the house. Make it easier for the nanny by leaving out things they may need. Pick a high shelf or countertop and make a basket with cleaning supplies, toilet paper, leash, and poo bags. This will ensure they have everything they need in a spot away from Buster's reach. 

Store valuables and dangerous items out of Fido’s reach

Shoes can be a tempting snack for dogs while their owner is away. Avoid disappointment by putting away footwear and anything else you don't want to be destroyed in a locking tote or closet. Be sure to relocate any potentially dangerous houseplants or chemicals you have lying around also. 

Secure your backyard

After squaring away the inside of your house, you'll need to tackle the backyard. Make sure you secure any holes in your fencing before you depart for your trip. If you're unable to fix any escape routes, be sure to tell your nanny to keep Fido on a leash while in the yard. Pick up any trip hazards lying around outside to prevent falls while you're away.

Give detailed written and verbal instructions

Every dog is different — that's why you should give thorough written and verbal directions for each pet. Detail your fur-baby's schedule, including their normal medication, feeding, and walking times. This will prevent confusion and minimize uncertainty for your pet and sitter.

Update your pet's ID tags and leave them on your dog

Besides serving as identification if your fur-baby gets loose, ID tags will help your sitter tell them apart from other household pets. Make sure the contact info on your pet's tags is correct in case they escape.

Leave a list of contact information

Create a list of emergency contact numbers for your sitter. Include your landlord, vet, neighbors, and multiple forms of contact for yourself while you're away. You never know when an emergency might happen, so it's best to prepare for them just in case.

Find a trustworthy sitter

Need help finding trustworthy local sitters in your area? Check out the dog sitters on the Wag! app! We have a whole network of local dog sitters who will care for your fur-baby in your home.

Check out our guide on preparing your home and dog for a dog sitter for more information.