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Everything Pet Owners Should Know About Hiring a Pet Sitter

According to research, pet owners account for 68% of households in the U.S. Most owners consider their pets part of the family, though they can't always bring them along on vacations. Fortunately, there are plenty of qualified pet sitters to care for animals while their families are away. Here's everything you need to know to find the best caretaker for your pet, courtesy of Rainbow Bridge

Keep Communication Lines Open

You should keep your pet sitter in the loop about any last-minute changes to your travel plans and provide the following:

  • Your itinerary
  • Where you'll be staying
  • Your contact information

If you want to check in during your trip, discuss that beforehand. For example, let your sitter know if you want daily updates or photos.

You should also talk about who to call in case of an emergency. Leaving a list of emergency numbers in an accessible place, such as on the fridge, is an excellent idea. You should also have a crisis plan. To ensure the safety of your pet, take the following steps before you leave:

Work With Your Pet To Decrease Anxiety
Many pets (especially dogs) experience separation anxiety. To your furry friend, your absence can feel like the world is crumbling. Leaving on a long trip can mean howling, pacing and chewing the whole time you're away. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce your pet's stress. The key is working with your furry companion beforehand:

  • Train to reduce reactive behavior.
  • Learn what calms your pet.
  • Provide engaging toys and lots of physical activity. Discuss your efforts with potential pet sitters so they know how to respond if your pets start acting out.

Find a Pet Sitter Who Fits Your Pet

Finding the right sitter can take a while, so start looking at least a month in advance. The internet is an excellent resource for this, as there are a variety of websites dedicated to helping people find professionals:

  • Angie's List

Make sure you interview pet sitters before deciding on one. And the Savvy Sitter says, don't be afraid to ask for detailed answers to your questions, such as:

  • Do you have references?
  • Are you insured?
  • Do you have any special certifications or training?
  • Can you accommodate my pet's special needs?

It's also a good idea to do a background check. Doing so is relatively easy, as plenty of companies offer this service online. You'll be able to see any criminal convictions and other red flags.

Write Down Your Pets' Needs

When you write instructions for your pet sitter, be as detailed as possible. Make sure to include the following:
  • Each pet's routine
  • Feeding times and amounts
  • Pet insurance information
  • Medication times and amounts

Teaching children to train their dog can be a good behavioral lesson and provide them with the sense of responsibility, obligation and discipline. Similarly, if everyone in the house is consistent and precise about the rules, the pooch will more efficiently and quickly acquire a command or a trick.

Prepare Your House

Before you head out, do your best to animal-proof your home by closing doors, putting up pet gates and moving fragile items out of reach. You can also with the following:
  • Fresh sheets on the bed.
  • Plenty of snacks in the pantry.
  • Clearly written Wi-Fi password.


Find the Right Sitter

Leaving your pets can be difficult, but knowing someone's there to care for them and soothe their anxiety can make all the difference. The next time you travel, consider hiring a professional pet sitter to look after your animals in the comfort of your home. But give yourself time to do your research to ensure that you find the best fit for you and your pet before you leave.

Rainbow Bridge is a virtual memorial home and grief support community for your departed fur baby. Whether furry, feathered or scaled, all are welcome. If you have any questions, please email

Contributed by Jessica Brody

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