September is National Pet Sitter’s Education Month. In today’s world, pet owners everywhere are finding it advantageous to have someone come to their home to care for their pets. Pet sitters manage all kinds of tasks. These include dog walking, feeding, cleaning litter boxes, and administering medications. Pet sitting also provides additional TLC for your pet. Some sitters also take care of household tasks like watering plants or bringing in the mail while a pet owner is away.
When hiring a pet sitter, it is important to be sure that you are hiring an experienced and certified professional. You can also use someone that you know and trust, who has the knowledge and skill to take care of your pet. There are times when a pet owner must travel. This can cause worry and anxiousness when leaving their furry friend at home. Good communication is important. This way the pet owner and the pet sitter are ready for anything. Creating a plan provides optimal care for a pet and gives owners and sitters peace of mind. The ASPCA and AKC have wonderful information and resources available to help both pet owners and pet sitters.
Key points you can use to develop your optimal pet care plan:
Information about your pet. This includes their name, age, weight, and any health issues they may have. You should include a list of medications they may be taking and their license and/or microchip information.
Travel itinerary. Owners should provide information about where they are going and how to be reached in the event of an emergency.
Emergency contacts. Make a list of people who are familiar with the pet and can make medical decisions in the event the owner is not available. This information should also include contact information for your veterinarian and preferred emergency clinic. Providing your veterinarian with a letter naming those who are authorized to make decisions regarding your pet in your absence is also very helpful.
Medication information. If a pet is taking medication, give detailed instructions about the dose, how often it is taken, and how it is administered to the pet. Provide information on the medication, what it is for, and any possible side effects.
Feeding, Behaviors, and Routines. Routines are very important for a pet. Pet sitters should know how much food a pet eats as well as when they eat. Understanding behaviors is also a key component to understanding how to best care for the pet. Include information about any quirks, likes, dislikes, and commands that they may follow. Keep dogs to their normal walking times. Cats often have favorite hiding places which can be helpful for a pet sitter to know.
Other ways to provide the best care for a pet when an owner is away:
Periodic Communication. It is always good to have periodic communication while the pet owner is away just for an update. A text or photo update is a great way to provide that. WhatsApp is very useful, especially if the owners are traveling internationally.
Emergency Fund. Leave a few dollars in an envelope in the event the pet sitter needs to replenish any supplies.
Toys. Leaving toys in a bin or specific area for the pet sitter will encourage more playtime.
Leaving a pet in the care of a sitter can be a stress-free experience if you plan ahead. Accidents or emergencies can happen. Knowing what to expect and how to address any problems that may occur creates a great relationship between the pet, its owners, and caregivers.