A DogGeek.com exclusive by Teresa Barker
Ok, so you’ve found the perfect dog-sitter and she’s available the week you need to take off for your niece’s wedding, you leave in 2 weeks, so now what?
With this handy checklist, you can be prepared, in advance, to make sure that you are relaxed and calm for your vacation, knowing that your dogs are being cared for well.
- The week before you go have another home-visit.
The candidate’s home visit and glowing references got her hired, now it’s important to re-acclimate the dogs and their caregiver and to go over any other specific details about the house and the dogs. Be prepared with written instructions to have her take home, but keep a copy at the house, as well. Also, this is the time for the key exchange and details about the initial entry.
- Create easy to read emergency sheet.
Make an emergency contact sheet that is easy to read with important details (like full name, phone number and email) in bold. If you have someone local who has agreed to be your first person of contact in case of emergency, leave more than one phone number for them. Also, have a back up local contact. In the case that you might be on a plane or in the middle of the wedding and can’t use your phone, these people can be called upon. Have the name of your vet, along with address and phone number and hours of operation. Remember to give the details of an after- hours or emergency vet clinic that you prefer.
- Create an itinerary sheet.
This will be important for your pet-sitter for regular communication and check-ins, as well as possible emergency situations. Make sure to include phone numbers where you can be reached, other than cell phones, and include time zones if different from your home time zone. Also, include flight numbers, days and times, so it will be easy to see when you will absolutely not be available for contact.
- Create an easy to read daily schedule for the dogs.
This schedule should include normal feeding times (as well as amounts/medications), outside play times, walking times (and lengths), and grooming times. Make the schedule easy to read, and at the bottom of the “day at a glance”, include walking routes, food allergies, where the food and dog supplies are located, and any other details that pertain to your dog’s day to day routine. If you have multiple dogs, add their photos and names to the sheet so they always know who is who.
- Determine a communication schedule.
It’s important to discuss with your dog sitter what your communication expectations are. If you are the type of dog mom who wants daily conversations about how the day went, set a time for phone calls that you both stick to. Maybe you’re the kind of dog dad who wants a picture text and brief check-in via text or email to keep you relaxed. Perhaps, you only want to be called in case of emergency. Determine this before you leave and make sure that both you and your dog-sitter can adhere to the communication schedule and expectations.
It can be daunting to plan a vacation and leave your canine loved ones in the care of another person. With some good interviewing and background checking, and some simple organizational tasks, you can enjoy the time you spend away from home. One thing is certain, no matter how fantastic your vacation was, there’s nothing in the world like the joy you feel upon seeing your dogs when you get home!