How to prepare your home for pet sitters
Planning a trip is always exciting, but it can generate a sense of stress when leaving your home for a long period of time. It’s a good idea to use a home sitter or if you have pets, a pet sitter, as this can help create peace of mind while you and your partner sip mimosas on the beach.
It’s important for your home and pet sitter to fully understand the complexities of your property, your pets, and anything else that might affect the integrity of your home. We’ve put together some information to share with your sitter to help prevent any disruptions during their stay.
Points of contact
This might be one of the most obvious things that every home owner should know but could also be one of the most essential.
Share your phone number and everything else that they would need to contact you in a timely manner as a result of something urgent.
Create a list of potential emergency contacts in case of unfortunate events, especially for local emergency services, such as vets or animal hospitals.
If you will be out of contact make sure they have any phone numbers or details of friends or family that could help.
Share your alarm codes and any security codes that could breach the home’s interior. Some systems allow you to change the code so when you get back the sitter no longer has access, which can also help ease stress. Perhaps you use several security cameras; it’s important for the pet sitter to know exactly where these are and how to access them as well. Security cameras are not welcomed by all sitters, so this is an important upfront conversation to have before a sit is confirmed.
You don’t want the sitter setting off an alarm unknowingly, since this can lead to a chaotic scene. Providing them with every alarm code will ensure not only the safety of themselves and your pets, but everything inside of your home. If you use an alarm monitoring company, don’t forget to notify them of your sitter names, in case they have to be verified if the alarm activates.
Rules of the home for your pet sitters
Every homeowner has a different way of running their home. Some people are more relaxed, while others might be very specific about how they want their home to look, feel and be maintained.
It’s important to provide your pet sitter with a set of guidelines for how you look after your home and would like them to do so too. That way, when you return it will seem as if you never left.
Provide your sitter with specific instructions as to what rooms are off limits (if they are) to both them and the pet(s) and how to treat each area of the home. Remembering also that they need to be comfortable and feel relaxed during their stay.
Happy house sitters will equate to happy pets!
Although the last thing you might be thinking of before heading off on vacation, is cleaning the property, it is important to provide a clean hygienic space for your sitters. You may be surprised to hear it’s one of the biggest complaints, that of arriving to a messy or dirty home.
Another element of this is creating a visitor policy. Without this in place, it could create a number of potentially difficult situations for your sitter to manage.
Your pet may not be friendly with everyone, and some may act completely different around strangers, so it is vital that you and the pet sitter are on the same page when it comes to visitors.
Not all visitors are a threat, but there are some circumstances when visitors can create the potential for issues to arise. Obviously there can be leniency here depending on who is watching your home while you’re away and the trust you’ve established.
Be clear about whether you are happy for visitors during the day, or even overnight. Communication is the best way to avoid any uncomfortable situations arising while away.
Pet policies - Create a checklist
Many homeowners have no other choice than to leave their dogs, cats and other animals at home. Most of the demand for pet sitters stems from the fact that their pets must be tended to and loved while away. Create a checklist for the sitter to follow that clearly states what's expected and the types of behavior they can expect from the pet.
It’s crucial to make sure the pet sitter is aware of their eating habits, bathroom habits, and how often they exercise, whether that’s a walk, garden exercise or inside playtime. This might be quite different depending on the type of pet in your household.
It’s also important to mention to the sitter the types of food, water and medication your pet will need while you’re away. Explain how often they need to be fed, walked, and how long they can be left alone in the home.
Another important practice is to explain how you, the pet owner reacts to interdisciplinary actions, stressing equal reactions to the pet’s good and bad behavior.
Caring for your property and possessions
When you use a pet sitter, they become the sole person responsible for not only the livelihood of your pet but also the integrity of your home. So apart from pet care, exercise and cuddles, there are a few other responsibilities your sitter might expect.
Here’s a potential checklist of what a home sitter may be asked to do:
- Garden maintenance, including mowing the lawn
- Keep up with trash day by taking out the rubbish and recycling waste
- Make sure the home is kept clean and tidy
- On longer house sits, monitor post and deliveries
- Pick up after your pet and care for any accidents in the home
- Dealing with unexpected emergencies, such as a water leak, or bug infestation
Make sure that you clearly explain any specific responsibilities you are expecting from them while they are there.
Appliances and utilities are an integral part of a home, and it’s important to prioritize these when leaving your home for an extended period of time. It's a good time to make sure they are working efficiently and have adequate guarantees for any necessary repairs, especially if you are leaving for more than just a few weeks. Make sure smoke alarms and CO2 detectors are working and that you've left replacement batteries where necessary.
Some of these incidents can come at a completely random time, so it’s important for the homeowner and the sitter to be as proactive as possible.
In the event of a pet breaking an item in the home, it’s necessary for the pet sitter to know what to do and in what types of situations you would want them to contact you. A good piece of advice is to reassure your sitters that accidents happen, perhaps get them to take photos, so that you can decide on your return if it’s something that might necessitate an insurance claim.
In general, your sitter should be aware of how things work in the home and how to react if something were to suddenly break.
To ensure the home is in working order and the sitter can use things while there, show them beforehand what to do if something were to suddenly stop working.
Share information on things such as your home warranty policy, that way they will be able to navigate any appliance issues in a timely manner in the instance where an appliance were to break, or the air conditioning stops working, which could be dangerous for your pet if a heat wave is coming.
It’s a good practice to leave an emergency cash fund for use in the event of something happening that requires immediate attention. Whenever you leave your home for an extended period of time, there is always a sense of vulnerability.
It’s important to pick the right pet sitter and provide them with every piece of information that will make their stay as easy as possible. Knowing that your pet and your home are in good hands will increase your sense of security, and ensure your time away is free from worry.