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Published: Dec 06, 2011

As the holiday season is in full swing, more people are traveling--to visit relatives or vacation away from cold weather. Although many times pets can be included in travel plans, sometimes a dog sitter is the best option.

According to, the best way to prepare a pet sitter for their responsibilities is to create a detailed list of your pet’s day-to-day life. Write down how much and at what time your pet eats and how often they go outdoors and what type of exercise they should get.  According to VCA Animal Hospitals, healthy dogs need two 30-minute walks each day and cats must be engaged in several short bursts of activity every day to stay healthy.  Include any daily supplements or medications your pet takes to ensure proper administration while you are gone.  The list should also include the location of all pet supplies so the sitter can easily find everything they need.

Aside from your pet’s feeding and exercise schedule, make sure to include more personal information about your pet as well. For example, if your pet is timid around new people or becomes easily frightened, list common hiding places so a sitter can easily locate your pet.  Include favorite toys or treats and any personality quirks your pet may have.  Be sure to alert your sitter if you have a pet that will run for an open door or techniques they can use if your pet should escape.  Providing your sitter with detailed information will allow them to get to know your pet better and understand its behavior to gauge if it's feeling healthy and happy under their watch.

Once this information is compiled, invite the sitter to the house to go over the material. This way they can ask questions and voice any concerns. Get the sitter's contact information and leave emergency contacts—include your veterinarian’s number--in the event of an emergency in your absence.