How to Prepare for Your Pet Sitter - A Pre-Reservation Checklist
Updated: Sep 17, 2020
As you prepare to head out of town, it may slip your mind that there are important things to do before your pet sitter arrives. So, we went ahead and created a checklist just for you, so that you can feel prepared and ready for your vacation away!
This pet sitter checklist is here for you to make sure everything runs smoothly for both the sitter and your pets! And, as always, be sure to book your reservation as early in advance as possible to ensure you have enough time to complete your checklist!
Alrighty, onto the checklist:
The Pet Waggin’ Pet Sitting Reservation Checklist
First things first...
1. Review your home/pet information in Time To Pet and make sure it is filled out with as much detail as possible. The more detailed information we have, the better we are able to meet your expectations and provide the best care possible for your pets. To better help you with this process, feel free to review our blog post: Pet Waggin Pet Care’s Guide to Building Your Profile on Time to Pet. It goes over what we ask and why we ask it, too!
2. Have you downloaded the Time to Pet Mobile App? We highly recommend downloading it for easier access! That way, you won't have to consistently enter login information on your computer or check your email for updates. With the mobile app, visit updates will be sent directly to your phone as push notifications. Learn more about the mobile version here.
1. Let your neighbor know you will be out of town and to expect a sitter at the house.
It’s always a good idea to let a trustworthy neighbor know when you are headed out of town as they can keep an eye on your place. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to let them know to expect a sitter or walker while you are away. If a neighbor notices a new person approaching and entering your home, they may be alarmed. To avoid any panicked phone calls to you (or the police!), it’s better to give them all the information ahead of time. Note: Be sure to also list this person as one of your emergency contacts in the mobile app so your sitter knows how to contact them.
If you have a security guard or doorman for your building, make sure to notify them and provide them the pet sitter’s name and contact information. If you live in a secure building and we will be picking up and returning keys to the front desk, please check the hours for the front desk to make sure they will be there when we arrive. This is especially important for service that falls on weekends and holidays.
2. Double check all exterior gates and doors are secure.
As you are headed out on your trip, double (and triple) check all exterior doors and gates to limit the possibility of your pet getting out. Close and lock all windows to keep your pet nice and safe indoors.
3. Cancel lawn/pool service.
To avoid a potential escape, cancel any lawn, gardening, or pool services during your trip. Or, be sure to include this information in your portal care profile so your sitter is aware of when to expect them to service your home.
4. Consider putting lights on a timer.
If you go out of town often or will be gone for a while, it may be a good idea to invest in a timer for your outdoor lights. This is a great safety trick, keeping your pet(s), the sitter, and even your home, safe! You can add information about which lights to leave on and when in your Time To Pet portal care profile,
5. Are you expecting any mail or packages while you are away?
A week before your trip, it’s a good idea to pause any online ordering. This way, packages won’t arrive while you are away. If you are expecting a package or important mail; however, just let your pet sitter know. They can keep an eye out and notify you when the item arrives.
6. Notify your pet’s emergency contact.
If you haven’t designated an emergency contact for your pet, now is the time. Pick someone who lives nearby and is both reliable and trustworthy. Let your emergency contact know that you are headed out of town, and they will be contacted by the pet sitter if there is an emergency and you cannot be reached. When providing information to your pet sitter, be sure to include the emergency contact’s name and contact information.
7. Set your thermostat to a comfortable setting.
Plan ahead by looking at your hometown’s weather forecast for the duration of your trip. Set your thermostat to reflect a comfortable setting while you are away. You can also leave instructions for adjusting the temperature of your home in your care profile in Time To Pet.
8. Make sure everything is put away.
Stow away any food items, medications, or other items that your pet may think a tasty snack or chew toy. Chapsticks, glue, and shoes are a good example of items pets commonly think are there for their pleasure.
9. Limit your pet’s space.
This limits any potential damages, accidents, and trouble they can get into. Plus, if they’re confined to a certain area, your pet sitter will be able to find them easier and spend more quality time with your pet.
10. Before the pet sitter is set to arrive, check for ample supplies, food, litter, and any medications.
A good rule of thumb: visit your favorite pet store a week before your pet sitting reservation. Stock up on all necessary items including food, treats, and poop bags. If your pet takes medication(s), make a stop at the veterinarian's office to grab more. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Pro tip: stock up on extra of everything. This will prepare your pet sitter in the event your flight or trip is delayed.
11. Tell your pet sitter what they can do to spoil your pet while you are away.
The whole point of hiring a professional pet sitter is to give your pet the best possible experience. To make sure your pet is comfortable and happy while you are away, let the pet sitter know what they can do for your pet. Does your dog love to play fetch every morning? Does your cat enjoy snuggling under the covers? Pet Waggin’ has it covered!
Your Pet Sitter
12. Provide clear instructions to your sitter.
This is an important step. Make sure that all information the pet sitter may need to access your home is clearly addressed. Consider any potential mishaps (i.e. a finicky doorknob, a faulty alarm system, etc.) and address them! It may seem silly to do, but mapping out potential issues and how to solve them will make the whole experience that much better in the long run. Plus, your pet sitter will sure appreciate it!
13. Notify the pet sitter of any changes to your pet’s routine.
Routine is essential. Our pets thrive on routine and can easily be put off when things change. To keep them comfortable while you’re away, provide their pet sitter with all the information they could possibly need to ensure your pet stays on his routine.
Consider providing information related to:
Feeding instructions (we're talking things like... what does your pet eat? When? Where? How much? Should leftovers be tossed at the end of our visit or tossed at the start of our next visit? ALL the things!)
Eating habits i.e. must do a trick before eating, slow eater, free feeder, etc.
Bathroom habits i.e. always goes in the morning, prone to diarrhea, etc.
Bad habits i.e. loves to chew on shoes, barks at squirrels, etc.
Pet supply location i.e. leash, poop bags, toys, etc.
Dishes, utensils, etc. the pet sitter should use (for your pet and/or themselves)
14. List medications with as many details as possible.
Include any and all medication details; this includes the name of the medication, the dosage, frequency of use, and the condition it treats. Think of it this way: the more information, the better!
15. Prep your lockbox.
It’s always a good idea to have a lockbox outside your home as it’s the perfect tool in the event of an emergency. If you have a lockbox, here’s a pro tip: test 2 keys to ensure they work. Put both keys inside the lockbox. That way, the sitter will have access to an extra key if they get locked out.
16. Are you expecting any visitors while you are away?
To make sure your pet sitter is comfortable in your home, let them know if they should expect anyone to stop by. Additionally, it’s important to tell them who has access to your home i.e. my neighbor has a key for emergencies, my brother has a key to the garage, etc. Again, the more information the better here; that way, your pet sitter will feel comfortable and can focus all their attention on giving your pet all the love.
This checklist contains all the essentials for a smooth pet sitting experience. For more tips and tricks on preparing your home and pet for a pet sitter, visit our post on Planning for your Pet Sitter.
Remember: hiring a pet sitter is the perfect way to keep your pet happy and safe while you are away. You can rest easy knowing that your pet is in good hands with the best darn pet care specialists in all of Long Beach!