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Traveling This Summer? Information to Tell Your Pet Sitter

So you’ve decided that it’s too much hassle to travel with your pet, and you think they would be more comfortable at home rather than at a boarding facility. No problem, some animals are! Once you’ve found someone you can trust to take care of your pets (and your home) while you’re on vacation, here are some things you should remember to tell them about your pets.

1) Their regular feeding schedule. Your pets are probably on a schedule, and they are used to eating at a certain time of day. Part of the convenience of having a pet-sitter come to your house is that your pets can keep to their regular schedule. Be sure to tell your pet-sitter if your pets normally eat in the morning or evening (or both), and around what time they usually eat. Be flexible, but it’s best to not make drastic changes in feeding schedules if you can avoid it.
2) Their regular bathroom schedule. We all know it. Somewhere 15 to 60 minutes after eating, Bella is just dying to go outside. Let your pet-sitter know what your pet’s bathroom habits are, so they can be prepared. This also helps them to know if Bella isn’t feeling quite right tonight.
3) Where is the food kept, and how much do they eat? Be sure your pet-sitter is feeding the right amount of the right kind of food. We all know overweight pets that are on restricted diets, and some have special food. Make sure your pet-sitter knows what and how much to feed your pets.
4) Medications, schedules, and side-effects. Is Fluffy on medication? Does she need to get it twice a day or just once? Should it be before eating, after eating, or does it matter? Make sure these things are all written down for your pet-sitter. Also let them know if the medications have any expected side effects. For example, some medications may make an animal urinate more than normal. Make sure your pet-sitter knows what to expect.
5) Any “special” behavior to be aware of. All our pets are special, and some love to remind us of that. Does your dog always sit and stay at her food bowl until you release her to eat? Does your cat toss his food all over the floor before he eats it? Be sure to let your pet-sitter know if your pet has any normal, special behaviors that they should watch out for. This will help them recognize what is normal for your pet, and will help them recognize if they are not feeling well that day.
6) Favorite toy. They all have it. A favorite toy, or a blanket, or a Kong, or a ball that they just can’t be without. Let your pet-sitter know what this is for your pet, so they can be sure to bring it on any walks or play time.
7) Favorite hiding place. Is your cat a hider? Many are! Just make sure your pet-sitter knows where to look. Should they expect Spot to meet them at the door, or will they have to go look for him? Is it okay if he doesn’t come out to eat while your pet-sitter is waiting, or does this mean he doesn’t feel well today? (Dr. John and Dr. Marybeth have one cat who better be waiting by the door, and one who never wants to meet new people. Just make sure your pet-sitter knows what to expect from which cat!)
8) Location of extra food, medications, leashes, toys, etc. Do you have a stockpile somewhere of an extra bag of food, or a refill of medication stashed in a cabinet? Let your pet-sitter know where these are in case they run out while you’re gone. It’s also a good idea to keep a spare leash and collar on hand in case one gets lost or chewed up. What happens if that tennis ball gets lost in the woods? Let your pet-sitter know where the extras are so Flash always has something to chase.
9) Emergency phone numbers. No one expects it, but sometimes emergencies happen. Be sure to leave your phone numbers and your veterinarian’s phone numbers somewhere handy in case of an emergency. Give your pet-sitter some idea of what you would like them to do in case they can’t reach you during an emergency.
10) Location of first aid kit. Have you put together your pet’s first aid kit yet? Make sure you have one handy, and let your pet-sitter know where you keep it. Just in case.

Some pets get so stressed during change that keeping them in their own environment is the best thing while you go on vacation. It’s up to you to decide what is best for your pet – to travel with you, to stay at a boarding facility, or to have someone come to your home to take care of them. Make sure you have gone over these important things with your pet-sitter before you go, and give them the chance to ask any questions they might have about how to best take care of your pets. We’re all just looking for someone who will take care of our pets just like we do when we’re there!

Editor’s Note: Don’t forget to make sure your sitter knows about any supplements your pet may be taking, and what the schedule is for these. Is your pet in need of energy to play away the hot, summer days? Learn more about Poly-MVA for Pets and how the vitamins and antioxidants in this formula can boost your furry friend’s metabolism and immune system. Click here for more info.



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