A little while ago I have written down the 13 things it takes to become a excellent house sitter. We take our job very seriously and like to make pets and owners very happy. As do many other pet sitters. Now it is time for a guide for pet sitter hosts: what to think about in case you are having pet sitters at your home to take care of your furry friends.
In case you missed the previous blog, read here how to become an excellent house sitter in 13 steps.
Doing your best is not only up to the sitters. Also pet owners having pet sitters, should make an effort in making the cooperation work. So that the sitter(s) are comfortable and have a good experience, and can take care of the pets as desired. Because that is what we all want isn’t it, happy pets?
What can you do as a homeowner do to be an excellent pet sitter host? This is the essential guide for all pet sitter hosts. This blog mentions everything you have to consider when having a pet sitter in your home, and tips what to do to make the cooperation between pet sitter and home owner work.
What is pet sitting?
Let’s start with the basics. What is pet sitting? Of course there are different forms of how to organize a sitter or boarding for your pets. I am discussing here the situation that you will be away from home for a few days, or weeks, or even months and the pet sitter(s) get to live in your home. To take care of your pets, but also to take care of other necessities like watering the plants for example, collecting mail. Almost everything can continue like it normally goes, while you are away from home. How cool is that!
Communication at the start – Do #1 for pet sitter hosts
There are different ways to find your pet sitter. Perhaps you know someone in the neighborhood, do you find your pet sitter on one of the several specialized websites, or via facebook perhaps. No matter how you find your pet sitter, always communicate clearly form the start. Make sure you as a pet sitter host share all your expectations. And give an honest representation of how things will be for the pet sitter.
- communicate clearly from the first moment what your expectations are: pet care, house care, garden maintenance etc.
- communicate any particulars concerning the pets; what do they like, do they need medicine, special care, do they have special behavior to be aware of?
- make an estimation of the hours work per day. And: how many hours maximum can the pets be alone at home?
- be clear about the dates; when do you leave and when do you come back and how much overlap time is needed to do the ‘training’
Meeting and trust – Do #2 for pet sitter hosts
The main factor to make a cooperation between pet sitter and pet owner a success is trust. Make sure you arrange a meeting before you agree to the cooperation. This can be in real life or via (video)calling. You are letting someone in your home taking care of your precious pets. It requires you to let go while you are away. So make sure the pet sitter is a person you feel you can trust. Otherwise this cooperation is a big NO GO and you better should search for a different person.
Pet sitters are not your employees. Treat them as equals to build trust. We know from own experience it doesn’t feel right if you – as a pet sitter – are dictated to this and that. Always keep in mind pet sitters are people too.
Think about the conditions – Do #3 for pet sitter hosts
There are a lot of pet sitters out there who would come to your place to pet sit for free; in exchange for free accommodation (at least) and utilities included (mostly). There are a lot of sitters as well that charge for their services. It is up to you to who you reach out. Besides an compensation there are other conditions to consider and to discuss.
- are you willing to compensate for travel expenses or not
- is it necessary for the sitters to have their own transport (in case you live far from super markets for example) or will you make available a car or other transport. Or is own transport not necessary at all where you live?
- is it OK for you that the sitter receives (overnight) guests?
In case of emergencies – Do #4 for pet sitter hosts
There are two aspects to pet sitting: 1) running the household as always (sticking to the pet routines etc.) and 2) responding to emergencies or situations that are different than normal. Pet sitter hosts should prepare for this latter situation as well.
- leave contact information: of yourself and the vet and perhaps a friend close by that can help when something is up
- inform people around you that you will be having pet sitters in your home
- think about a plan B: where should the pets go in case the sitters have to leave for a private emergency
- check out your insurance and car insurance (in case your sitters will be using your car)
Preparing your home for the pet sitter – Do #5 for pet sitter hosts
You like to return in a nice and clean home. Your pet sitter likes that too upon arrival.
- make sure the house is clean and organised for the sitters
- make sure everything the sitters need to do their job properly is there: food for the pets, hay, a leash for the dog, equipment for cleaning etc
- your sitter(s) needs a comfy and clean bed to sleep in
- an empty shelf in the kitchen and wardrobe for the sitters to put their stuff is nice
- a little surprise for the pet sitter(s) is always nice, like a stocked refrigerator or a thank you tip
- writing down all essentials in a small manual is an easy help for the pet sitter
Introducing the pet sitter to your home & household – Do #6 for pet sitter hosts
Show your pet sitter around once he or she or they are there. Your sitter should feel at home and should know where to find everything.
- show any particulars concerning the pets; what do they like, how to give them their medicine, where do you walk them, how much food do you give your pets etc.
- show the sitter around in your home; the wifi password, where is the vacuum cleaner, kitchen equipment, keys, heating, garden, how to use technical stuff and electronics etc.
During the pet sit – Do #7 for pet sitter hosts
- make sure the pet sitter can reach you for questions, updates (share before what you like: regular updates, not too many, etc.) or an eventual emergency (don’t worry, not very likely hopefully)
Don’ts for pet sitter hosts
This whole blog is a summary of all the DO’s for pet sitter hosts. But I like to mention a few don’ts as well.
- Don’t suddenly ask the pet sitter to do more tasks just before you are about to leave for your holiday
- Don’t cancel on a short notice. And in case you really have to: empathize with the situation the pet sitter is in (suddenly without a home for the coming weeks!), explain the situation and consider for example to compensate for travel expenses incurred.
After the pet sit assignment – Do #8 for pet sitter hosts
Yes you are back home and everything worked out fine!
- show your appreciation and give a compliment if you mean it
- write an honest review in case the pet sitter asks for one
- cuddle your happy pets and admire your plants that are still alive
Do you like to add things you like to do as a pet sitter host or like in your previous hosts? Are you willing to try having a pet sitter in your home while you are away? It can be a bit awkward at first but you will love it in the end for all the benefits.
Good luck and have fun with your next pet sitters!