If you are planning to travel and leave your pet behind with a pet sitter, be sure they are left with clear instructions for emergency situations. All too often do we get calls from pet sitters in a panic. Whether it was the pet sitter’s fault or not, you are responsible for making sure they get your pet the veterinary attention it needs.
Before You Leave
Our motto is that it is better to be safe than sorry. Whether you have a dog or cat, you should “pet-proof” the house before leaving. Clean up potential foreign bodies off the ground such as clothing, paper and plastic products, string, hair ties, ect. Also, be sure to clean up any cleaning and cooking products, whether or not your pet is a counter surfer, they may be while you’re gone. You need to set your pet sitter up for success and not every pet sitter can stay with your pets 24 hours a day.
Make sure you leave clear instructions about how to feed, care, and walk your pet. Pet sitters do well with written instructions and emergency contacts just in case you are unable to be reached. List 2-3 references to call in case of a veterinary emergency such as your mother or best friend. List a primary veterinarian who has seen your pet before for day visits and a 24/7 emergency veterinary hospital for after-hour emergencies. You can also list out any preexisting conditions, allergies, vaccine status, and medications, as well as any pet insurance information for your pet. Be clear with what you are comfortable with: Do you want CPR performed on your pet if they arrest? Do you have a budget limit to spend on your pet’s vet care?
Communication is Key
Be sure to have your cell phone with you if you are traveling to an area with service or some way of contacting you if cellular is not available whether it be the hotel or a friend’s house. If the pet sitter calls, you must be able to instruct them on the treatment plan you agree with. Calling the clinic and speaking with the veterinarian on the case is extremely important because the pet sitter is not legally authorized to make any decisions without your consent as the owner.
Paying for Treatment
Money is always an awkward topic. The pet sitter should not be financially responsible for your pet’s accident when it comes to treatments and diagnostics. Make sure you leave them an option to pay for any vet visits and be sure you are in contact with the hospital to pay for your pet’s visit before your pet leaves. Payment is always due at the time of service. Most vet clinics will also take your credit card and save it on a secure account, so if needed, contact your veterinarian or preferred emergency center ahead of time knowing that your card will be available for these types of situations.
After the Visit
Be sure you get everything in order for the pet sitter. If your pet needs medication after the visit, make sure this is not an additional cost for the sitter to perform. You can recommend treats or tips to help them medicate your pet as well. This may seem stressful for you to deal with on a vacation, but imagine how the pet sitter must feel under the circumstances.
When you arrive back home, be sure to follow all aftercare instructions and finish the medications. Feel free to even make a recheck appointment going over the visit while you were away. Our hospital has an Urgent Care service for any emergency visit to come back at a lower exam cost to receive a recheck. But, most of all, shower your pet with love because they most definitely missed you very much during this stressful time.