When you hire a pet sitter the main object is for them to take care of your pets right? You want your pets happy, and spoiled while you are away. It is not unusual for pet owners to have a long list that they leave for pet sitters of quirks and things that are part of their pets normal routine. As a pet owner myself, my pet sitter friends who care for my cats when I go on vacation laugh about how I’m so much like my clients with the long list and notes of things I leave for them. You can never give too much information to a pet sitter! However you can leave too much work!
The more tasks you give you pet sitter to complete while they are there taking care of your pets the less time is actually going to be spent with your pets playing or getting physical attention. You may not think these tasks take up much time because as pet owner you are home and doing them as part of your routine in your free time. However your pet sitter will only be spending a limited amount of time with your pets when they stop over to care for them. Most pet sitter visits range from 15-30 minutes. Believe it or not tasks such as bring in the mail and papers, watering plants, taking out the trash, cleaning dishes, washing dirty or soiled towels, cleaning up messes, cleaning litter boxes or cages, feeding, and providing fresh water can take up half or more of the time spent at a client’s home! That is cutting into the time the pet sitter actually gets to focus on playing, brushing, petting, cuddling & interacting with your pets. Pet sitters don’t mind doing those tasks and they are part of the normal job duties but it’s your pets that get the short end of the stick so to speak, in the long run.
Here are a few tips to make things easier for your pets sitter & free them up to spend more time with your pets while at your home.
1) Pre-package portions of food. This comes in very handy when doing fresh veggies & fruits for small animals, birds & reptiles. Just cut them up and put them in ziplock bags in the fridge. Provide 1 bag per feeding. So all the sitter has to do is go in the fridge, grab the baggie and put it in the food bowl.
2) Put mail & Newspapers on hold. This is a FREE service provide by the postal office & newspapers. You simply fill out a form or make a phone call, and they will hold you mail until you return & not deliver your newspapers. Sometimes it take a couple days to kick in so its suggested you do the stop date maybe 2-3 days before you are to depart.
3) Use disposable containers for feeding. Save plastic containers from the deli section of the grocery store, use paper plates, or bowls, containers from the dollar store or you can purchase them from stores such as Gordon Food Services www.gfs.com. This way they can be thrown out after your pet has finished eating and the pet sitter doesn’t have to wash and do dishes.
4) Use plastic silverware for dishing up & feeding. Plastic silverware can be thrown out and less dishes for the pet sitter to wash.
5) Have a water fountain or Auto waterer. Flowing water encourages pets to drink more water, it helps keep it fresh and most have a filter system to eliminate elements. Auto Pet Waterers provides your pet with a large constant source of water while you’re away. Most have Microban anti-bacterial protection which makes it completely safe too. Microban is the leading anti-microbial additive, which retards the growth of bacteria, mold, and mildew, and offers safe and clean water for pets. Waterer come in several different sizes and can often hold up to a gallon or more of water last pets several days or up to a week. Pets with diabetes or kidney issues tend to consume more water. Therefore it is recommended they have ample amounts of water available to them at all times.
6) Have all cleaning supplies, and garbage materials located together in a convenient place. Buy having everything in one location the pet sitter won’t have to go hunting or to several places for cleaning supplies, mops, brooms, garbage bags, or garbage cans.
7) Put lights on a timer and alternate times. This provides home security with the appearance somebody is home. It also provides a safe entrance for the pet sitter for night visits and saves them time of running around turning on & off lights.
8) Keep litter box and cage cleaning supplies near the litter box and cages.
9) Use a dated pill box with times or am/pm on it with any medications in it. Do one pill box pet pet as to avoid confusion.
10) If a pet needs multiple small pills or portions of pills try putting them all into clear empty gel capsules. These can be obtained at your vet or with a prescription through a pharmacy. This way they are only getting “Pilled” once vs several times.
Anything you can do to make things easier and less time consuming for your pet sitter they will greatly appreciate as will you pets! Because in the long run they are the ones on the receiving end of more fun & attention while you are away!