Leaving your pet in the care of a pet sitter is a good way to know that your dog, cat, hamster or parakeet will be as comfortable as possible while you are away. Dogs and cats in particular benefit from being in their own homes and following their normal schedules.
Routines to Follow
Let the pet sitter know of any "rituals" you and your pet share: do you give him his favorite toy when you leave the house? Do you put his bedding next to the radiator at night?
Instruct the pet sitter about special care considerations--should the cat's feet be wiped dry on rainy days? Does the dog get a vitamin pill every morning? Does the hamster like carrots and apple cores?
Whether he is staying in the house or coming and going a few times a day, let the sitter know your general routine so that the dog is walked when and as often as he is accustomed to and that all your pets are fed on schedule. Remind the sitter to fill the water bowl with fresh water at least every day and maybe more often.
Make sure the pet sitter has keys to two of your doors, understands the alarm system, and knows where emergency numbers are. He should know who the vet is and who else to call should there be a problem (a neighbor, relative, or friend). He should also have your phone numbers and email address.
Let the sitter know what pieces of furniture, if any, the dog is allowed on, and if there is a cat or dog door. Let him know what to do if the cat escapes or the dog chews a pillow!
Tell the pet sitter about any medications your pet needs and why. If you pet has a specific health problem, it is a good idea to alert your vet of your plans and give him the name of the pet sitter. This way, if your pet gets sick, the vet will know that someone other than you will be calling and might need some special help.
If you establish good rapport with the pet sitter and explain things carefully, you can go away with a clear conscience, knowing your beloved animals will be well cared for and as happy as possible until you walk back through the front door.