The Dog Sitter's List

AnimalSense Canine Training & Behavior Trainer Erin Schneider provides a list of instructions she leaves for her pet sitters to ensure proper care of her dog while she is away.

My husband and I are going to Europe for a week and a half for our anniversary. As excited as we are about our travels, we hated the thought of leaving our dog, Bailey, for such a long time. Usually we have a friend watch Bailey while we are gone (and she does a wonderful job). Since this is such a long time, we decided to have my parents watch over her. Bailey LOVES to visit Grandma and Grandpa. They have a house that she can run around in and a big backyard full of great things to smell and investigate.

My parents have watched over Bailey in the past and they do a great job. Even though my parents know Bailey very well, I always leave a detailed set of instructions on food, medications, etc. I do this for anybody who watches over Bailey. If you have ever babysat or dog sat, it is the worst if you have absolutely no instruction. I might give too many instructions, but I would rather be safe than sorry.

Below are a few things that I always include to the dog sitter when I leave town:

  • Food: I like to include the brand, the feeding schedule and the amount given.
  • Medications: I give VERY detailed information about Bailey’s meds. I make sure to include what medication’s she has to take, how much of each medication she has to take, when to take the medications and how to give them to her (liquid vs. pill, which has to be given in a yummy treat)
  • Vet information: I always leave my vet’s contact information (name, phone, address, directions for how to get there). I also include the emergency vet information.
  • Bathroom schedule: Every dog has a different bathroom schedule, so I like to include this in my notes.
  • Treats: Some people can be VERY generous with treats (I’m not naming names), and some dogs have allergies to certain foods, so I like to give specific instructions on how much Bailey can have and what kinds of treats she can have.
  • Exercise schedule: How much exercise does your dog need and when do they usually go for a walk.
  • Hotel information: I always leave my hotel’s contact information or the main number of the friend/family member I am staying with. Sometimes cell phones don’t get service or you are in a place that you won’t be able to use your phone. In those cases, it’s nice to have another number for your dog sitter to use.
  • Any other pertinent information: If your dog is staying with someone who has dogs, you might want to include information like, “my dog doesn’t share very well, please feed her separately”, or “please keep my dog on leash when outside, she doesn’t have a very reliable recall”.

You are with your dog every day, so this stuff seems natural. But it might not occur to your dog sitter. Take the time to list out anything you think is important. I would rather have pages of notes and have my dog be safe, than to have nothing written out and have something go wrong.

I know my parents will take wonderful care of Bailey. As I usually do, I will worry about her when I am away, that is just my personality. But my parents have promised daily emails with a little note about Bailey and a picture. Knowing she is in good hands allows me to have a wonderful time with my husband. Europe, here we come!

AnimalSense Canine Training & Behavior offers group dog training classes at Glenview Animal Hospital and private in-home training throughout the North Shore.

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