By Wag! Staff
Published: 02/06/2023, edited: 03/10/2023
You've finalized your travel plans, booked a local pet sitter, and packed your bags — now what? Read on for everything you need to know about preparing your fur-babies (and your home!) for a pet sitter.
How can you make sure your animal companions are comfy while you're away? Here are Wag!'s top tips for preparing your dogs, cats, and other pets for an overnight sitting service.
Before the sitter
arrives, create a list of your pets' preferences, quirks, and needs.
Don’t forget to mention that Daisy needs help up the stairs and that Max
refuses to use the doggy door. Will your pet sitter have a "hairy" Houdini on their
hands? Mention that too!
Documenting any good, bad, or indifferent
qualities will help make your sitter's job easier. Not to mention it'll keep your pets calm and cozy in your absence.
Create an hourly schedule with feeding and medication times, typical potty break times, and when your pets typically go to sleep. Encouraging your sitter to maintain your pets' regular schedules will help your fur-babies feel more comfortable while you're away.
Let your sitter know the potential consequences of deviating from their usual routine, too. Does your pup need to go potty
as soon as their paws hit the floor? Does your woofer really start
woofing if they don't have a walk by noon? Does your feline get feisty when they're fed after their usual breakfast time? Discussing these things will ensure your sitter is prepared for whatever your pets may throw at them!
Your fur-babies might try to get away with things that they know not to do when you're around, so jot down any rules you expect your pets to follow. No pets allowed on the bed? No treats after 8 PM? Your sitter needs to know these things — not just to keep your house in order, but also to avoid confusing your pets.
If this is your first pet sitting service, socialize your pets (cats included!) with as many
humans as possible before the big day. Having a well-socialized (or even
moderately socialized) pet will lessen the stress on your fur-baby and the
Related: Why Socialization is So Important for Dogs
your pet sitter is caring for a small mammal or reptile instead of a
dog or cat, be sure to include detailed care and handling instructions.
While you'll want to choose a pet sitter who's experienced in caring for
these animals, be clear about your pets' needs — even things you might
think are common sense.
Your pet care plan should include instructions for:
your pet sitter is watching your dog, they'll need to venture outside
at some point to take Sparky for a spin around the block. Here are a few
things you should do to ensure your sitter is prepared come rain, shine, or snow:
Don't make a scene or have long, drawn-out goodbyes with your pets, since emotional goodbyes often intensify separation anxiety, especially for dogs. Give the same farewell as you would when leaving to run errands.
Now that you've got your pets prepped for their adventure with their new BFF, here are a few ways you can help your sitter feel relaxed and welcome during their stay.
Before you head out, give your sitter the grand tour of your home. Be sure to specify off-limits rooms and areas. You'll also want to let them know about any special considerations for items or appliances they may need to use, including your:
Have your pets' food, leashes, treats, medication, special toys, and other essential items in a specific and easy-to-find location. For small dogs, the counter might be the right place, but you'll need to get more creative with big dogs, climbers, or cats.
Always keep potentially dangerous or toxic items, including medication, out of your pets' reach.
Your pet sitter is your guest, so show them the same respect you'd want to receive when spending the night in someone else's home. Before you leave, take out the trash and ensure any rooms or areas your sitter will access are nice and tidy.
your sitter should clean up after themselves and your pets, it's not
fair to expect them to clean up after you. If you do expect them to do
any additional cleaning, be sure to let them know (which leads to our
If your sitter is staying for several days, discuss your expectations with them regarding housekeeping. For example, if you want them to wash, dry, and fold any towels or bed sheets they've used, be sure to disclose that and show them how to work your washing machine and dryer.
Try to keep your sitter's cleaning tasks to a minimum. They'll have their paws full caring for your animals, so do your best to help make their job as easy as you can. And if you do ask your sitter to go above and beyond on cleaning tasks, don't forget to tip in kind!
Related: How Much Should I Tip My Pet Caregiver?
Make a list of phone numbers and
addresses for important contacts for your sitter in case of an emergency.
Be sure to include contact info for:
Don't forget to include alternative forms of contact for yourself too. It may be helpful to make a few copies of the list for the sitter to take with them on errands or when taking Archie to appointments.
you let your cat roam outside, let your sitter know beforehand. Show
them any entrance and exit points your cat typically uses, and tell your
sitter where they typically go and what times they usually return. If
you'd prefer that your sitter doesn't let your cat out, let them know
Here are a few more ways you can keep your outdoor cat safe during a pet sitting service:
Consider investing in a GPS collar. Many
GPS collars include apps that show your cat's location in real time.
This can help your pet sitter locate your cat quickly and retrieve them
Have your cat microchipped before the service. A microchip can help ensure your pet's safe return if they give your sitter the slip. While microchips don't have GPS, the chip will show your address and contact info when scanned. Be sure to keep your contact info up to date with the microchip registry database.
Provide toys and activities if you don't want your sitter letting your cat outside. Outdoor cats who are kept indoors might get a bit grumpy about the sudden change in routine. If your sitter won't be letting your cat out while you're away, provide "pawlenty" of games, activities, and toys your cat can play with to keep them mentally and physically stimulated.
pet parents spend hours or days preparing the inside of their home but
completely forget about their yard. Before heading off, here are a few things you should check:
Choosing a sitter you can trust is paramount. This person will be practically living in your home while caring for your animals, so it's essential to choose someone who's responsible and nurturing. Carefully screen prospective pet sitters, and check references, too.
Download the Wag! app to find a dependable pet sitter near you!
© 2023 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.
Download the Wag! app
© 2023 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.
Download the Wag! app