When you leave your pet in the care of a sitter, you want to provide complete information. Not only does this make the pet sitter’s job easier, it also should create less stress for your beloved pet. If the instructions are detailed enough, they can even double as emergency or long-term care guidelines if you are unexpectedly injured or otherwise detained.
Include these items in your pet sitter instructions:
General Pet Information
Record each pet’s name, breed, size, appearance description, official registration number (if registered or listed with a registry), and general temperament description.
Veterinarian’s Information and List of Those Authorized to Make Medical Decisions for Your Pet
Include your veterinarian’s name, address, and phone number. Also, be sure to note the name, address, and contact information for those who are allowed to make medical decisions for your pet. This could be helpful for something as simple as your pet needing antibiotics or stitches (or even a more serious treatment).
Medication and Preventative Information
List your pet’s medication, dose, and location of each medicine. These items could include glucosamine for joints, daily pain meds, or even fish oil supplements. List heartworm and flea & tick preventatives and where you record the dates last provided (perhaps you record this on a calendar on your fridge door).
Record the location of where food is kept, the brand of the food, the amount to be fed at each meal, and the normal meal schedule. Label food bins, especially if you have multiple pets on different types of food. Don’t forget to list any treats or extras that are allowed, such as dental chews or snacks.
If your pet has allergies or food sensitivities, highlight those issues and note that your pet should not eat anything that isn’t on the list of approved foods.
List the amount and type of exercise and other daily protocols. Is your pet used to a 5 minute belly rub each day? What is your pet’s sleep routine? Even though your pet is adaptable, having this information may help a pet sitter or long-term care provider make your pet feel more at ease.
Does your pet have any special needs or exercise restrictions? Does your pet have hearing loss, vision impairment, or allergies? Do you know if your pet doesn’t tolerate certain antibiotics well? Is your pet scared of the vacuum? Does your pet need to be covered up with a special blanket at night? Add that information too.
Home Alone Instructions
Do you have special instructions for when your pet is left home alone? Should the pet be baby-gated, crated, or kept in a certain room? Should your senior pet only be allowed one cup of water at night to prevent potty accidents? Should multi-pet households separate the pets when the pets are home alone? Add those items as needed.
If the list is specifically for short-term pet sitting, list your address during travel and your alternate contact information (things like the phone number of the person with whom you are staying) in case your cell phone is lost or damaged.
Also, list your authorized and emergency short- and long-term care providers for the pets; this should include the person’s name, address, email, phone number, and relationship to you. Consider listing at least 2-3 emergency caregivers or even permanent caregivers.
Create a list of command words that your pet knows and what behavior is expected for each command.
Keep Your Pet Sitter Template Up-to-Date
Review and update these instructions at least once annually. Finally, keep a copy somewhere handy, such as near the pet food or on the fridge. You want anyone helping with your pets to be able to easily find these instructions.
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