Things to do before you leave for your trip
- See Security Tips below
- Contact your sitter to confirm the particulars of the visit. If there is any change in the itinerary, flight plan, phone number where you can be reached or phone number of the emergency contact, your sitter needs to know.
- Make sure that more than enough food is available, and that the sitter knows where it can be found.
- If you have cats, make sure the litter box is clean before you leave, and that there is enough litter to last the trip. Let the sitter know where the scoop, litter and bags are.
- Make sure your dog's collar/halti/harness etc. is in good shape and not frayed in any spot. Tags must be worn outside the home so if the animal doesn't wear the tags in the house, leave them where the sitter can see them.
- If your pet is on medication, put it in a safe place away from the animal but make sure the sitter knows where to find it. Advise of medication changes before you leave.
- If your pets eat canned food, don't forget to leave a can opener handy.
- Paper towels, cleaners and garbage bags should be replenished before you leave.
- Watering can, plant food and bird seed should be available if you are having plants and feeders maintained.
- If you have a mailbox key and the sitter is to pick up your mail, ensure that the sitter has a key.
- If a second key hasn't been given to the sitter, make sure to test it and then mail it so that it arrives before you leave.
- If you have an alarm, go over the procedures to arm and disarm it with the sitter before you leave. If the security company needs to know the sitter will be in your home, notify them before you leave.
- Clear the refrigerator of perishable food.
- Ensure that the sitter knows of your pet's favorite hiding places. Make sure your house and yard is “pet-proofed” before leaving.
- It's recommended that you not make any changes to your pet's food before you leave. A change in food often leads to stomach upset, so it's better to do it after you get back so you can keep an eye on the
- If your pet is due for shots during your vacation, consider having them done a few weeks before. If an animal is going to react to a vaccine, it usually happens within a few weeks of administration.
- Obtain copies of your animal's records from your vet, and leave them for the sitter. In case of emergency, this will assist the emergency vet of your pet's history and could cut down on costs.
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When you're going to be away from home, every effort should be made to make it appear that someone is living there. Below are some tips to give your home the lived in feeling.
- Before you leave, make sure all windows are locked. Install Charley Bars on sliding patio doors or balcony doors.
- Have someone on call during the winter months to shovel your driveway, walkway and sidewalk. If there is a car in the driveway, have someone clear all the windows and remove as much snow from the car as possible.
- Between September and November, have someone mow the lawn and rake up the clippings and leaves.
- In the summer, ensure that the lawn and gardens are well maintained. Dead plants and long or dry grass give the
impression that the home is unoccupied.
- If you do hire someone to do work on your property, leave their name and number with your pet sitter.
- Never leave a key hidden under a mat, flower pot, in the garden or in some other outdoor spot.
- Ensure that your garage and garden shed are locked.
- Tools and ladders should be locked in the garage or inside the house.
- Make sure all outdoor lights are working. Burglars like to operate in the dark where they can't be seen, but a light over each door will make them look elsewhere. The night before you leave, test the lights to make sure they are all working, and replace those that aren't.
- Install motion detectors around your home. These should be programmed to come on from dusk till dawn.
- Never leave a message on your answering machine that tells the caller you will be away.
- Most of us feel secure if we have deadbolt locks installed on our doors, but what about the door and frame? Make sure that both are strong and that the wood isn't weathered or damaged.
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