Scroll to the bottom to download your free printable dog sitter checklist ⇓
It’s inevitable. The time has come where you have to leave your dog at home while you go away on a trip (hopefully somewhere sunny and tropical). You have a few options to consider when you are in this situation. If you happen to have a trusted family member available to watch your precious pup, consider yourself lucky.
I have lived away from family for the last four years, so my options have always been taking my pups to a doggy daycare or local animal shelter that offers boarding or hire a house sitter-more specifically a pet sitter. There are pros and cons to both. In this post, we will discuss where to find good pet sitters and how to prepare for one so you can ensure your dog is left with the best possible care while you are away.
Why Do You Need a Dog Sitter?
- Vacations and Travel: When you’re going on vacation or a business trip, and it’s not possible to take your dog with you, a dog sitter can provide your pet with the care, attention, and companionship they need in your absence.
- Long Work Hours: For individuals who have long workdays or odd schedules, a dog sitter can ensure that your dog gets regular bathroom breaks, exercise, and social interaction during the day.
- Puppy Care: Puppies require extra attention, training, and frequent bathroom breaks. A dog sitter can assist in housebreaking, basic training, and ensuring your puppy’s needs are met while you’re at work or away.
How to Find a Dog Sitter
Finding the right pet sitter can feel like a super daunting task. There are several ways pet owners can go about finding a reliable dog sitter. Here are a few ideas if you are on the hunt for a pet sitter.
- Have a Family Member or Friend Watch your Pup: Of course, this is the most ideal option because you trust a family member or best friend to take great care of your precious dog. However, this is probably not an option for many people. And, if you are reading this post, I can guess that you don’t’ have this option. However, if you do have friends with dogs, ask them who they use when they go out of town. Personal referrals are a great way to find a trustworthy pet sitter.
- Online Platform Services: Research local pet sitters in your area on websites such as Rover, WAG, or PetSitter.com. Carefully read through their bios and reviews.
- Check with Local Veterinary Clinics: Your local veterinarian may be aware of professional dog sitters in your area. They can often recommend sitters who are familiar with pet care and have a good reputation.
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Considering taking your dog to a boarder instead? Check out our ultimate dog boarding guide here.
How to Prepare for a Pet Sitter
- Initial Home Visit: If this is the first time you are using this specific sitter, it’s a good idea to organize an initial meet-up so your dog can get used to the person while you are still there. This is also a good time to go over specific details they should know before you leave for your trip.
- Prepare Your Home: Dog-proof your home by removing hazards, ensuring toxic substances are out of reach, and securing doors, gates, or fences as needed. Make sure your home is clean and organized before you leave on your trip.
- Gather Necessary Supplies: Ensure you have plenty of food, treats, water bowls, dog poop bags, and any required medications for the duration of your absence. It’s also a good idea to leave cleaning supplies (paper towels, cleaning spray, vacuum cleaner) in case of any potty accidents your dog might have while you’re away.
- Key and Access: Provide the sitter with a spare key or access instructions, along with any security codes required to enter your home.
How Much Does Hiring a Pet Sitter Cost?
Finding out how much a pet sitter will cost can vary depending on various factors, including your location, the services you need, and the specific pet sitter you choose. Sitters on online platforms like Rover and Wag! will often include their rates on their profiles so you know exactly how much they charge per day/night. If a company or person does not include their rates, feel free to reach out and ask for a quote. For example, I live in the Midwestern part of the United States and the average rate per day is about 30/40 dollars.
Printable Dog Sitter Checklist
If you are traveling and want a nice organized way to leave important information for your dog sitter, download this completely free printable dog sitter checklist. Here are the sections provided on the template. If you like to be extra organized, leave this dog sitter instructions template in a pet care binder along with anything else you think your sitter might need.
- Need to Reach Me? (Contact Details): A section for important phone numbers, emergency contacts, etc. Let your sitter know if they can reach out to you via text messages as well.
- Vet Info: A section to leave your vet’s contact information in case of emergency. You want the peace of mind knowing that if something urgent happens, the dot sitter knows where your dog gets medical care.
- Pet Information: In this section, you will leave important details about your dog including their medication needs, allergies, or any other vital details your sitter should know.
- Daily Schedule: This section covers anything your dog sitter needs to know about your pup’s daily routine. Leave detailed instructions about your dog’s feeding schedule. How much dog food does your dog get in the morning? evening? Make sure to leave proper measurements so your dog can get perfect portions like they are used to getting on daily basis. Also, include their walking routine in this section. What time of the day would you like your dog to go for a walk? How many times should they be let out daily?
- Notes: This section is for any necessary information you do not already list above. Here you can include important passcodes such as the wifi password, alarm code, garage code, etc. You could list your dog’s favorite toys, personality traits, to-do lists, etc.
Get Your Free Printable Dog Sitter Checklist Below
Download the Dog Sitter Checklist in BEIGE HERE
Download the Dog Sitter Checklist in PINK HERE
Let’s face it, it’s hard to leave your dog at home while you are away. But, by following these tips and having the proper instruction templates, you can ensure your dog will be in good hands while you are away. Now, go and enjoy your trip! Your homecoming with your pup will be one of the best things about coming home.