What Your Pet Sitter Needs To Know Before You Go On Vacation


As vacation season quickly approaches, pet sitters everywhere will be hard at work caring for pets whose families travel without them. Boarding facilities can be a great option, but some pets prefer to stay in their own homes while their family is away. When this is the case, you as the owner should think about creating an instruction manual on how to care for your pet to familiarize your sitter with your pet’s daily routine.

Take a peek at the following, to ensure you have included everything your pet sitter might need to know in order to take the best care of your pet!


Make sure your pet has enough food to last the entire time you will be away, plus a few days extra (this is especially important if your pet eats prescription food that needs to be ordered in advance). As you write out your instruction manual, include how much to feed your pet at each meal, and what time(s) to feed them. Also include the brand and formula of the food, in case your pet sitter should need to pick up more. Are there any other special instructions at feeding time? This might include adding water to the food, having them sit before giving them their food, feeding in a specific room of the house, etc.


Fresh water is a must for all pets! Be sure to include any special instructions or restrictions regarding their hydration needs! Also, note where you keep the dish and if you use specific water (filtered, tap, bottled, etc). Do you pick their water up a few hours before bedtime to prevent accidents? If so, include that in this section too.

cat tree


Include how many times you would like your pet left outside each day or how often you would like their litter box cleaned. Do they have a command to go to the bathroom such as “go potty” “do your business” or “get busy,” or do they simply go outside and go on their own?


Make sure you have enough of your pet’s medication on hand before you leave for your trip, including a couple days extra, just in case. Leave a complete list of any medications your pet takes including doses, times are given, and any special instructions. Also explain any specific ways you administer the medications such as wrapping it in cheese or in a pill pocket, mixing it in wet or dry food, etc. If your sitter isn’t comfortable administering medication, a boarding facility with experience in this area may be a better option for your pet’s health.



Exercise needs vary between breeds and species. If you have a dog, they will most likely need some form of exercise while you are away. It will be very helpful to your pet sitter if you detail what you would prefer this to look like. Would you like your dog walked each day? If so, how far? Is there any special equipment or any specific instructions you want them to know/use when walking your pet? Make sure your sitter is comfortable with your pet’s exercise plan.


We love to spoil our pets! It’s great to give special treats, but be sure to let your sitter know the boundaries with this one! Include any food/treat allergies your pet sitter should be aware of. Does your pet like to work to get treats out of toys when they are home alone? Do they get a treat when they come in from going to the bathroom or at bedtime? We all like to overindulge a little bit on vacation; make sure your sitter doesn’t allow your pet too much indulgence!


Emergency Contacts

Include your primary veterinarian’s name, address, and phone number in case your pet should need veterinary care. Also include the name, address, and phone number of your local emergency vet, should your pet have an emergency after your primary vet is closed. Another important contact to include is the name and phone number of a family member or friend who could care for your pet, should your pet sitter have an emergency come up and need a backup.


Is there anything extra you want your pet sitter to know? Should your pet be kept in a crate or a single room when no one is there? Are there any special commands you want them to use? Does your pet have a thunderstorm or firework phobia? Does your pet frequently have accidents in the house? Are our cleaning products and other pet products easily accessible? Be sure to include these important instructions so your pet sitter is prepared! And of course, enjoy your vacation!

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