Who's Watching the Pets?
Going on Vacation? Who’s watching the pets?
Include your pets while making your vacation plans and reservations. Reservations for pet sitters? Absolutely. Holidays and summers are peak demand time for pet sitters. They fill up quickly. Make your pet sitter reservations the same day you make your travel reservations. If you need to find a pet sitter, begin the search well before you plan to go.
Finding an experienced bunny or guinea pig care taker is best. BUNS can refer you to pet sitters who are experienced with rabbits and guinea pigs. Check with your veterinary office, perhaps one of the techs will be willing to pet sit for you. If you have friends with the same kind of pets, they may be willing to exchange pet sitting services with you. Don’t be afraid to ask for references.
When making reservations, be clear about what you want and what they are offering. In addition to payment, specify how you want your rabbit cared for. How often you want sitters to visit, clean, groom, let the rabbit out to play, give medications. What if they don’t know rabbits/guinea pigs? Have them care for your pets under your supervision until you are comfortable. If your pet needs medicine or vet visits tell the sitter in advance.
Two weeks before you leave, contact your pet sitter and confirm that they are still available. Nothing is worse than to learn the day before you leave that your pet sitter is no longer available.
Written care instructions are important and helpful for the caretaker. You will want to include:
Feeding and diet: foods, portions, storage and schedule
Cleaning: schedule, location of supplies, waste disposal
Exercise/play: schedule, location, supervision
Grooming: location of supplies, schedule
Security for your house: Locks, emergency keys, lights, windows, heaters, alarm systems
Security for cage and exercise pens/yards: doors closures, temperatures, shade, pen covers, water supply, things to watch out for
Medications (if needed): schedule, location of medications, delivery methods
Emergency numbers: Your phone number, and location; your veterinarian’s phone, location and schedule; an emergency contact phone number in case you cannot be found.
Contact Your Vet
Let your vet know that you will be out of town and that your pet sitter may bring your animals in. Tell your vet if you want him/her to talk with you before treatment. Find out how your vet would like to handle payments in that situation.
Do the Shopping
Stock up on supplies before you go. Be sure you have enough supplies to last through your trip. If your sitter will need to re-stock before you return, leave a shopping list which includes the store name, pellet brands and list of vegetables. Make a similar list for medications if that is appropriate. Arrange finances in advance with your sitter: either leave money or reimburse them on your return.
You may wish to check in with a new pet sitter to answer any questions that they may have. In any event, be sure to take your pet sitter’s contact information with you. It will come in handy if you must make an emergency change in plans.
Honor Your Agreement
Your sitter will make their own plans around yours. So leave and return according to your agreement. Leave your home well ordered and well stocked. Do not expect your pet sitter to clean your house or play yards unless they have agreed to do so before hand.