How you and your dogs can be happy while you are away
19 December, 2011

My friend, Joanna, always gets stressed out when she goes on vacation and has to leave her dogs with a pet sitter.  And, in turn, her dogs also get stressed and sick when she is away.   She knows her pet sitter is great and competent, but wanted to know what tips I could provide her to make it a smoother transition.

TALK TO YOUR PET SITTER

It is really important to sit down and have a heart-to-heart with your pet sitter. Tell them the small details.  Let them know what the dog is allowed and not allowed to do. Do you want your dog(s) to sit before treats? What are your dogs’ favorite toys? Should the sitter play in the yard with them or sit on the couch and pet them? How is your dog’s health? Anything the pet sitter needs to be on the watch for? Also tell the pet sitter if some of the dogs don’t get along with others in the dog park or around the house.

KEEP THE ROUTINE CONSISTENT

Give it a personal touch. Make sure your sitter knows about any special rules. If your dogs are not allowed into your bedroom after they’ve been outside, then let the sitter know. If your dog has a special toy that they like, make sure the sitter knows where it’s kept.

Keep the house and routine the same.  Don’t alter their schedules down to the minutia.  Give them the same food, same time of the day, same food bowl.  The goal is to keep everything consistent so the only thing that they are missing is you!

I love my pet sitter!!!

MAKE A LIST

Make a list of anything that your pet sitter will need to know such as medication, emergency numbers and little things that might need to be done such as cleaning up after your dog or even letting them out for a certain period each day. If you normally walk your dogs an hour a night, you’ll want to be sure that you let the sitter know that this is something that needs to be done.  Always find out the protocol for emergencies should one arise if you are using a sitter. If it’s a friend or family member, make sure to let them know which vet you use.

MAKE SURE YOUR PETS ARE HEALTHY

If your dog(s) are sick, you should schedule a veterinarian appointment before you leave.  If they have allergies, make sure you have enough medication on hand.  If they are puppies, they should be up to date on all the vaccines or shots.

HAVE THE DOGS FOOD READY

Have their food ready. You should always make it as easy as possible for the pet sitter that is coming to your home. If you have specific food that your pet eats, make sure that it is in an accessible area and the amount and times each day are written down so that your pet sitter can find them.  Plan to have your pet sitter come over a day or so ahead and see where everything is kept. If you have food that needs to be prepared, it will be easier if you have this ready before you leave. You can put the individual portions in a Ziploc bag and then the sitter can just use each amount that is specified.

If you follow all of the above tips, it should be smooth sailing while you are on vacation.  Both you and your dogs can have a good time.  Happy Travels!

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