Will you be enjoying the long weekend and traveling without your fur family this coming Labor Day? As sad as it is, it’s probably not the first or last time you’ve had to separate from your pet for a few days. Whether they’ll be staying with a friend, a dog sitter, or at a pet boarding facility, we’ve got a few need-to-knows for whoever is watching over your pet this coming weekend as part of our Pet Sitter Checklist! You’re prepared, are they?
At Wags to Wiskers Pet Supplies, we try to be the best place for pet supplies AND resources, advice, tips, and knowledge that can benefit our pet parent customers. For localized resources for pet sitters or partners in the pet boarding industry, feel free to speak with a staff member at your local Wags to Wiskers Pet Supplies stores in Ann Arbor (2270 W. Stadium Blvd, Ann Arbor, MI, 48103) or Chelsea (1192 S. Main St, Chelsea, MI, 48118).
Pet Sitter Checklist
Even if you use an app like Rover that includes a messaging feature on their platform, it’s best to share contact information in case of issues with WiFi on your travels. Make sure your pet sitter has an alternate contact info as well if you or your phone is unreachable. This requires that you inform your alternate contact of the following need-to-knows as well!
You should also provide contact info for your pet’s veterinarian, and a 24-hour emergency hospital isn’t a bad idea either!
If a disaster happens to the food you provide them with, you can also give them their favorite pet store’s address if they need to re-fill! We’ll be able to help them with past order history to make the entire process quick and easy so give them our address to!
How to Handle Emergencies
Unfortunately, they do happen, and you don’t want your pet sitter or your pet to be hanging in the wind if they do. If an emergency occurs in your absence, do you want your sitter to make medical decisions for your pet on your behalf? If so, it is important to have a discussion about what this means—and authorize it with your veterinary hospital before leaving town. If not, you may give your veterinarian consent to make decisions about your pet’s care or request to be contacted directly if an emergency arises.
While some of our pet parents want and expect pictures, texts, and updates every day, others might only want their sitter to drop by twice a day to let the pet outside and make sure they have food and water.
Some items worth covering:
How often should the pet be let outside or walked?
How much food are they given, and when?
Any behaviors to watch out for?
While these details are likely ingrained as part of your daily routine, they may not be so obvious to your pet sitter so they are worth covering.
From daily medications for disease management to nutritional supplements and flea control, it’s important to ensure your pet sitter knows about any medical treatments your pet may need while you’re away—and how to give them.
It’s a good idea to ask your pet sitter about their comfort level in administering medication. While some may be as easy as wrapping a pill in a treat or mixing it in with food, other medications or pets may require more to do or even training.
It’s important to provide a detailed list of all medications and dosages so your pet’s care is correct and consistent. If your pet requires numerous medications, it may be better to have an experienced professional be your pet sitter rather than a friend or acquaintance.
Similar to the Expectations portion, it’s necessary that your pet sitter understand how much food your pet gets and when to get it. You should also cover allergies, specific treats or chews, and allowance of people-food.
Pet boarding can increase stress levels in pets which may affect their appetite. Any strategies to get your pet to eat, especially in the presence of strangers for nervous or anxious animals, is a topic that shouldn’t be forgotten on your pet sitter checklist. Be sure to give your pet sitter some pointers on encouraging your pet to eat, such as gently warming their food, adding a bit of low-sodium broth or water, or sprinkling in a few favorite treats.
If your pet is going to another home, it’s important that they maintain similar rules to what they would experience in your home so that your training doesn’t get undone! If your pet sitter is dropping in to your house, the same reasoning applies.
So, go over off-limits areas for your pet, sleeping arrangements, and behaviors that are or aren’t allowed such as barking, jumping, scratching, climbing, and so on for dogs or cats.
Give your pet sitter a heads-up about what behaviors are usual or unusual or indicators of potential issues that can arise. For instance, if your dog has stiff joints in the morning, that’s not an emergency and your pet sitter should know that.
Last and certainly not least, help your pet sitter out by getting their relationship going on the right foot. Introduce them beforehand, give your sitter strategies on what your pets like and don’t like, or even think about including your pet sitter on a walk or visit prior to your vacation!
Our team at Wags to Wiskers Pet Supplies is happy to help in any way that we can! We also employ a staff of serious pet lovers that can help with further resources, ideas, and experiences! Hope to see you at Ann Arbor’s best pet store soon! Or Chelsea’s best pet store!