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In Home Pet Sitting: How to Keep Your Pets Happy While you are on Vacation

If you are headed out of town your are left with the dilemma of what to do with your pets while you are on vacation. Pets are often left at home with a pet sitter. In home pet sitting is usually the best option to make your dogs and cats feel the most safe and comfortable while you are gone. Having their humans be away can be stressful for your pets but there are things you can do to make your dogs and cats feel more comfortable while you are on vacation and help things go smoothly for your pet sitter. Read on to learn how to prep for your pet sitter.

in home pet sitting

How to Prep for a Pet Sitter

My family travels a lot. We usually go on four or five trips every year. Sometimes it’s just me and my husband and sometimes it’s just me and my daughter visiting family.

When we are all away from home we need someone to come and take care of our animals. We have two dogs, a cat, several fish tanks and two pot bellied pigs.

We usually have a family member come over and feed the animals or if we are going away for more than a couple nights we will have someone stay at the house. There are things you can do to make your trip away from home less stressful for your pets and your pet sitter. Here are my best tips to prep for your pet sitter.

Will your pets get depressed if you leave them while you travel?

Yes, dogs can suffer from depression, and yes, it can be debilitating for them. Typically, your dog will go through a grieving period that can last anywhere from a couple of days to several weeks, depending on how long you are away. I don’t like to leave our dogs for more than a week if I can help it. If we go away for longer than a weekend then I prefer to have someone stay in our house and keep my fur babies company.

How much should you pay a pet sitter?

Pet sitters charge $20-$40 a day on average, depending on the services involved. If we are hiring a young friend to stay at the house for a week and feed the animals we usually pay about $100. If you are boarding your pets it will be much more expensive. We like to have someone to stay at the house to keep the animals company and make sure the house is safe.

How much does it cost to board a dog for a week?

Average dog boarding rates are $25 per day, $40 per night, $150 per week, or $500 per month depending on where you live, the size of your dog, and how long of a stay your pet needs. Many boarding kennels offer special rates for 5-, 10- and 25-day stays and have discounts up to 50% when boarding multiple dogs.

How often should a cat or dog sitter visit?

In our area, a cat-sitter runs about $20.00 a visit, so it’s usually worth the peace of mind! More generally, our rule of thumb is to have someone visit roughly every 24 hours. our cats get wet food twice a day, but when we are away the cat sitter stops by once to feed them and change the litter.

Stock up on pet food before you go

You might think you have tons of dog or cat food left in the bag before you leave but it’s amazing how fast you can run out. Make sure you are stocked up before you leave so that your pet sitter doesn’t have to make an extra trip to the store to grab your pet’s favorite food. It’s also not good to switch your pet’s food abruptly so stocking your pantry with more than enough food will keep your pet and their digestive system healthy.

Make sure pet medications and supplements have been refilled before you go

Both of my dogs are older and need to take daily medication. I always remember to stock up before I leave town. I keep the medication in a safe spot on the counter and make sure I write out detailed instructions on how to administer the medication.

Leave a piece of your clothing in the pet’s bed

No matter how great your pet sitter is, your dog will likely be missing you. Placing a piece of gently worn clothing with your scent on it in their bed or crate can help calm your pet and make them feel more comfortable until you return home.

Make a list of emergency contacts for your animals

Make sure you leave the phone number for your vet and the emergency after hours pet clinic for your pet sitter. You never know when your pet may fall ill or get into trouble. Having those numbers handy can save time if you pet gets sick while you are away.

Treat your pet to a new toy

Give your dog a new toy to play with while you are gone. There is nothing like a fresh bone or squeaky toy to play with while they are home without you. Giving them something to play with will help prevent boredom and make sure they don’t get into things around the house that they shouldn’t.

Do you prefer to board your dogs and cats or do in-home pet sitting? What are your best tips to keep your animals safe and happy while you are away?


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