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How to prepare for leaving your dog with a pet sitter

Pet sitter

When you can’t bring your pet with you while traveling, the thought of leaving your furry friend in someone else’s care can be distressing and overwhelming. Hiring a pet sitter to come stay in your home can help minimize stress for your dog, but finding someone you trust can be challenging. 

How can you determine if getting an in-home pet sitter is the right choice for your dog? How can you set your dog and your sitter up for success?   

Table of contents 

Why hire a pet sitter? 

Hiring a good pet sitter has many advantages for both you and your dog: 

  • Peace of mind for you – Go on your trip assured that your dog is happy and well taken care of. There can be many uncertainties when dropping your dog off at a boarding kennel or doggy daycare facility, or even a friend’s house. With an in-home pet sitter, your pup will be in a familiar, controlled environment with individual attention that you can direct. It’s the closest thing to staying home with your dog yourself. 
  • Less stress for your dog – Staying home will eliminate the potential stress that can come from being in a new environment, having a different schedule, and interacting with lots of other dogs. Your dog won’t have to deal with (and you won’t have to worry about) social or environmental stress or the risk of injury and illness that can come with staying away from home. Dogs thrive with routine and consistency. For some dogs, particularly those who are not very social or have health issues, having a pet sitter can be the best choice. 

Finding a good fit 

If you have determined that hiring an in-home pet sitter is the best option for you and your pup, it is important to find the right fit. Finding someone you trust makes all the difference.  

  • Get recommendations – Seek referrals from your veterinarian, groomer, or dog-owning friends, family, and neighbors. Start by looking into the sitters they have used and recommend. 
  • Check client reviews – If you’ve found a sitter online through services like Rover or Care.com, reading reviews can be an effective way to hear from real clients about their experiences. Just be sure to take these reviews with a grain of salt. Ask for references that you can talk to. 
  • Meet and greet – Contact perspective sitters well in advance and arrange to meet at a public space such as a park. It’s important that your dog has a chance to get to know the sitter before your trip—maybe even ask if they can leave you with a T-shirt so your dog can get used to their scent. Discuss things like your dog’s quirks, preferences, and what your expectations are. If the initial meeting goes well, you may want to invite them to your house to give them a tour and go over instructions in more detail. 

Your dog’s health and happiness are top priority. Finding a capable pet sitter that both you and your pup like and trust will help ease stress around leaving your dog at home while you are traveling. 

How to prep for an in-home dog sitter 

You’ve determined that an in-home sitter is a good option for you and your pup. You’ve done your research to find a sitter that you like and trust. Setting your dog up for a successful stay with a sitter also includes preparing your checklist of supplies and instructions. 

Here are some items you should consider having ready for when your pet sitter arrives: 

Dog: 

  • Food – Make sure your dog has plenty of food and treats—maybe even extra! Be sure to keep your dog’s diet consistent leading up to your trip, as quick changes can cause gastrointestinal upset. Provide detailed instructions about food and mealtimes, including times and quantities. 
  • Medications – Don’t skimp on instructions for any medications your dog is taking, and make sure they are labeled. Clearly indicate how and when to administer medications, whether they should be given with food, and any tips for if your pet doesn’t take their meds easily (try peanut butter, pill pockets, or spray cheese!).  
  • Schedule – Dogs like routine, so keeping a consistent schedule while you’re gone will help minimize your pup’s stress and make life easier for everyone. Write down a detailed schedule, including meals, exercise, and any other daily activities. 
  • Other important info – Every dog and every household are unique. Your pet sitter would rather you provide very detailed information than not enough about your dog’s personality, preferences, and house rules. Let them know your dog’s likes and dislikes as well as his quirks. Don’t hesitate to let them know if you prefer they don’t have visitors or visitors with pets while in your home.

House: 

  • Keys – Let your pet sitter know where they can find house keys and provide detailed instructions about locks and any alarm codes. If you do have an alarm system, inform your sitter what to do if an alarm goes off. 
  • Appliances – Your pet sitter’s experience will be much more pleasant if they know how to operate your household appliances. Provide clear instructions on how to work the TV, thermostat, internet, and anything else. You should also indicate where the circuit breaker and water shut-off are in case of emergency. 
  • Accommodations – Provide clean bed linens and towels for your pet sitter to use during their stay. Make sure your house is stocked with basics like paper towels, toilet paper, and cleaning products. Let your sitter know what toiletries, food, or anything else they are free to help themselves to in the house—and what they aren’t. This can help to avoid any awkwardness if they mistakenly use your favorite expensive shampoo or eat the cake you were saving in the fridge. 

In case of emergency: 

  • Contacts – In addition to your own, provide the phone numbers of your veterinarian, a local friend or family member, and neighbors or landlord. You should also provide the numbers for Animal Poison Control and at least one emergency veterinarian in your area. 
  • Health information – Consider putting together a folder with copies of your dog’s health records, including medications, immunization history, microchip information, and pet insurance card. If an emergency pops up while you’re gone, your pet sitter will have all the critical information on hand.   
  • Other safety info – Your folder of important records should also include a clear photo of your pup in case they get lost. Make sure your dog is wearing a collar with identification tags at all times and is microchipped. Provide instructions for your pet sitter about keeping your dog on leash and how to securely close doors and fence gates.   

How can ElleVet CBD + CBDA help your dog while you’re away? 

Leaving your dog in someone else’s care can be stressful for you and your dog. ElleVet can help set your dog up for success when staying home with a pet sitter. We recommend starting your dog on our chews or soft gels a few days ahead of your trip and giving them the appropriate dose twice daily. Instruct your sitter to give ElleVet’s CBD + CBDA soft gels or chews twice daily with meals to help keep your dog calm for the duration of your trip. 

If your dog is highly stressed about being away from you or you are leaving them with a pet sitter for the first time, give the appropriate amount of our high potency Calm & Comfort product about an hour and a half ahead of leaving them with the sitter. You can also provide some Calm & Comfort situational use chews as an emergency stash in case your dog becomes highly agitated or stressed. These chews are extremely effective in addressing your dog’s acute level of stress without sedating them. 

ElleVet CBD + CBDA products can help your dog manage their stress and calmly adjust to a pet sitter, and you both will be much happier! 

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