Preparation is Key

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__Schedules are important! Make your reservations for a pet sitter as far in advance as possible and remember to call the sitter if you are coming home later or earlier than expected. This will allow the pet sitter to plan for extra visits or serve additional clients.

__Have everything necessary to care for your pet in one general and visible area. This includes food, treats, utensils, food and water bowls, medications, leash, can opener, toys, paper towels, cleaning supplies, garbage bags, litter and scoop, broom and dustpan and/or vacuum cleaner, towels (for rainy walks), newspapers (if paper training), watering can for plants, etc.

__Provide extra food, litter and supplies just in case you are not able to return when anticipated.

__Be sure to leave plastic bags for sanitary disposal of feces. Pet sitters are happy to perform this task while you're away, but shouldn't be expected to clean up accumulation prior to your absence!

__Clean out the refrigerator before leaving to avoid smelly food spoilage, and wash any dishes in the sink to prevent ants or other pests.

__For the comfort of your pet, adjust your thermostat before leaving on your trip and advise your pet sitter within what range to keep it. A closed-up home can get uncomfortably hot in a short time.

__Tell the pet sitter if bathrooms or any other household areas are off limits to your pet and/or sitter. Secure access to these areas before leaving home. Also, make the pet sitter aware if your cat happens to love shredding the contents of the bathroom trashcan or if the toilet is prone to run or become clogged.

__If you're leaving anything specifically for your pet sitter; e.g., homegrown tomatoes on the counter, Peanut M & M candies, a monetary tip, be sure to leave a note. Otherwise, most pet sitters are so honest and trustworthy you may arrive home to find rotting tomatoes!

__Will other people be checking on your pet? If so, help avoid confusion by making it clear what the pet sitter is responsible for and what other visitors will be entrusted to do.

__Notify your veterinarian in writing that a pet sitter will be caring for your pet and authorize the vet to extend medical care during your absence if it becomes necessary.

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The article and checklists are courtesy of Pet Sitters International and are reprinted here with permission.