Pet Sitter Safety: What to Know Before You Go

December 5, 2017

a cat sitting under a couch

According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), nearly 93.6 million people will travel this holiday season. While some people and families may be able to bring their furry friends with them, many will have to leave their pets at home or in boarding facilities.  

Hiring a pet sitter to come check on your pets or stay at your house full-time while you’re away is a great way to keep your pets comfortable in familiar surroundings. However, every year, the APCC gets calls either from worried pet owners or pet sitters about something unexpected that occurred while the pet parents were away. Because let’s face it, accidents can happen no matter how prepared we think we may be. 

To help you address pet safety concerns on your next trip, the APCC has put together the following checklist of tips for leaving your pets with a pet sitter. 

Contact Information: Make sure your pet sitter knows how to reach you in case of an emergency. 

Itinerary: Give your pet sitter an itinerary of your trip. This will help your sitter to know when you may or may not be available. 

Emergency Contacts: Provide the name(s) of a person or people you trust for times when you may be out of reach. Your emergency contacts should be familiar with your pets and be able to make sound medical decisions just in case.   

Pet Information: Your pet’s age, weight, current health issues, medications, regular diet and microchip information can all be critically important pieces of information if an emergency happens while you are gone.

Veterinary Information: Make sure your pet sitter knows who your pet’s regular veterinarian is, as well as the nearest local emergency clinic. Make a list of their contact information, and include the phone number for the APCC (888-426-4435), as well. Also, let your veterinarian know when you will be gone or out of reach and give them the name(s) of who is authorized to make decisions regarding your pet in your absence. 

Medication: Make a list of any medications your pet is currently taking, the dosage, when the medication should be given and how often. If possible, go over this information with your pet sitter in person before leaving to ensure that there will be no mistakes. Also, it is best to provide the medication in a pet resistant container. Remember, dog and cats have a great sense of smell and don’t realize those flavored pills are actually medication, not just treats.  

Daily Routine: Keep your pet sitter informed of your pet’s daily routine—how much food your pet should get and when, normal walk times, etc. For our feline friends, letting your pet sitter know where common hiding spots are around your home may help sitters keep a better eye on apprehensive kitties.

Plan Ahead: Let you pet sitter know exactly what you would like them to do if an emergency occurs with your pet. Map out a plan, and be sure to effectively communicate that plan to them. 

While we hope you never have to deal with a pet-related emergency while away, we hope that with the above list, you feel fully prepared to leave your pet with a sitter this holiday season. For more accessible information about your pet’s safety while traveling, download the APCC Mobile App

If you suspect your pet has been exposed to any poisonous substances, contact your veterinarian or call Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) at 888-426-4435 immediately.