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What to Leave for Your Pet Sitter

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By Josh Loposer
WebMD Feature from Pawnation.com

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When it comes to hiring a professional pet sitter are you a helicopter parent that leaves detailed pooping and walking spreadsheets? Or are you more of the hands-off type who feels perfectly comfortable letting your sitter do his or her own thing? 

A well-prepared sitter can keep your pet happy and anxiety-free while you're away, greatly reducing the number of chewing, scratching, and/or bathroom accidents occurring in your home. The question is: How do you ensure that you've given your pet sitter all the necessary tools to keep your animals relaxed and healthy? 

To get a little expert guidance on the subject , we've enlisted the help of Paul Mann, founder of Fetch! Pet Care. Beyond the basics like emergency contact info, your vet's phone number and a medicine and food schedule (all of which are obviously quite important), Mann encourages owners to focus a little bit on your pet's psychology when preparing for a sitter. 

Spell Out The Animal's Daily Schedule: "Pets are truly creatures of habit," Mann tells Paw Nation, "They get into liking their routine, so the idea is to figure out how to maintain that routine." For example, if you take your pup for a walk every morning, ask your pet sitter to do the same. If your cat likes to chase the yarn around in the evening, tell your sitter.

Explain What Makes Your Pet Happy: "A good professional pet sitter should ask what your pet likes to do, then maybe over-satisfy them in that way," Mann explains. In fact, he recommends that you schedule an in-home consultation with the sitter so they can interview you and meet your dog, cat, bird, etc.

Make Sure Favorite Items Are Handy: When it comes to the actual items to leave for the pet sitter, Mann recommends things like "an old t-shirt, bedding, and their favorite toys to keep the familiarity there for the pet." Ideally, the pet sitter will be visiting your pet at your home, says Mann, but these items are even more important if you plan to board.

Keep Your Exit Low-Key: Mann recommends that a little exercise before you leave can help keep your pet's mind at ease. They'll be napping instead of worrying about where you are. Whatever you do, Mann cautions that you refrain from breaking into the tearful 'I'm going to miss you so much' routine. "Just exit like you usually do," Mann explains, "Dogs pick up on those things and it creates anxiety."

Find Out What Other Pet Parents Do: We asked some of Paw Nation's Facebook friends to share what they leave for their pet sitter:

  • Donald MacMelville: "It's a three-page document. Location numbers, cell numbers, feeding instructions, Vet numbers and address and MapQuest, emergency contacts, walking instructions, etc. People think we are crazy."

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