Whether you have had your household pets for years or you just recently adopted a dog, it is tough to keep your furry friend at home when you leave town. If you could, you would bring them everywhere, but that simply isn’t realistic. However, just because you are leaving your pet behind doesn’t mean that you can’t ensure their safety and provide the best care.
We know how important your pet is to you, so we have some tips for how to create a safe environment, find or hire help, and keep your pet secure during your time away.
Make the House Pet-safe
In the weeks leading up to your trip, it is a wise idea to go through a checklist to determine that your home is safe and secure. This way, even if you hire a pet sitter, you can ensure that there isn’t any unnecessary drama. Call the post office and have your mail stopped so your front door isn’t littered with mail and packages. Also, hide all valuable belongings out of sight of the windows. Both of these tips will ensure that you don’t get any criminals thinking that you aren’t home — if they break in, they could hurt your pet.
There are other ways to secure your home while you’re away to prevent intruders who could disrupt your property and injure or steal your pet. Lock your doors and windows, and don’t forget about your garage door. It is also a wise idea to set up flood lights with timers inside and outside of the house that will go off when people pass by, giving the impression that there is someone home.
Even if your pet will not be alone, it is important that you keep all dangerous items out of reach. That means placing all household cleaners in a secure cabinet. Also, eliminate any foods poisonous to pets, such as garlic, coffee, chocolate, alcoholic beverages, grapes, and moldy foods. Put a lock on the pantry door and place loose items up on the counter, out of reach.
If you are going to be gone for an extended period of time, then it is a good idea to bring your pet to a pet boarding facility or hire a sitter to watch over your pet and ensure their safety. Ideally, the pet sitter won’t have to do a lot of heavy lifting and instead can just be there to pamper your pet – be a companion, provide food and water, and take them for walks. The last thing you want is for your pet sitter to need to deal with a medical emergency while you are away. To help prevent this possibility, bring your pet to the veterinarian ahead of time for a pet wellness check. If you have smaller pets, make sure to take them to small animal veterinarians. If you are pressed for time, at least try a virtual vet visit via telehealth. Knowing your pet is healthy will put your mind at ease during your trip.
When it comes to finding a qualified pet sitter, you can ask around town or get referrals from friends. Of course, if you have a trusted friend that also happens to be a sitter, that’s a win-win situation. Otherwise, you can go online and research pet sitting services that typically vet the sitters for you. It is a good idea to interview the potential sitter ahead of time and have them meet your pet so you can see how they get along and if they are truly qualified. If your dog or cat is taken with the candidate, then consider hiring them on.
While interviewing potential sitters, it is a wise idea to ask if they know how to check a pet for fleas, ticks, and other pests, especially if your dog or cat spends a lot of time outside. Your pet should be checked regularly and brushed every time they come inside. If a tick does latch on, you or the sitter needs to use a pair of tweezers to grab the pest and pull it straight out with a fluid, steady motion. Many pests carry disease, so having a qualified sitter in the house will avoid unneeded anxiety during your trip.
Ensure Your Pet and the Sitter Are Safe
In addition to locking up the home, there are other precautions that you should take to ensure that your pet and the sitter are safe staying in your home. First, make sure to leave detailed instructions that include when your pet should eat, how much, and what they should avoid. You should also detail some of your pet’s loveable quirks so they don’t catch the sitter off guard. Quirks might include growling at certain neighbors or running after particular animals in the backyard.
Also, make sure that there is a safe and comfortable temperature in the home. You don’t want it to be too cold in the winter or too hot in the summer. Advise the sitter about how to use the thermostat for their comfort and safety. You should consider installing a smart thermostat so you can change the temperature while on the go. If you travel a lot, then you may also want to purchase a smart doorbell with a camera so you can keep tabs on things while you are away.
Finally, make sure to check all of the systems in the house, especially the carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. You do not want to jeopardize the safety of the sitter or your pet by being lazy in this regard. The best detectors will sound an alarm and automatically alert the authorities so you can have help on the way in minutes.
As you can see, there are several ways that you can protect your pet during your time away. Consider the tips mentioned here to have peace of mind during your trip and return home to a happy pet.