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Dog Sitter Checklist for Owners: Everything You Need to Address

Going away from home is sometimes complicated for dog owners, especially if you can’t take your fur baby with you. There are three options to choose from: board the dog, leave him with a friend, neighbor or a relative, or hire a professional pet sitter. 

Some pet sitters come by your house several times to tend to your dog’s needs, while others stay at your house at all times while you’re away.

Hiring a dog sitter is very beneficial, whether it’s a neighbor acting as one or going to a professional agency. The sitter will help your dog feel less lonely, and they will make sure to meet all their needs while you’re not at home.

However, you don’t want to come back to a bag full of trash that stayed there for the entire time you were on a trip because the sitter didn’t know it was there. 

You also wouldn’t want to come back to a chewed bed, slippers, or an injured dog because the sitter didn’t know what’s allowed and what’s not.

Here is a list of essentials for every owner who plans to hire a pet sitter:

Give the Sitter Safe Access

Ensure you give the proper keys to the sitter and don’t forget to give them all the necessary information regarding your security system. The sitter needs to know all the codes so they can easily maneuver around the house. You can always change the codes when you get back home.

Show Them Around the Household

Take the sitter on a house tour to show them where the gas and water supplies are and how to turn them off, as well as where all the electrical circuit breakers are. Show them where the garbage is, where the food supplies are, and where to put your mail if mail collecting is a part of the deal (and it

Leave EVERYONE’S Contact Info

The sitter should have the names and phone numbers of everyone they may need to call, including your dog’s veterinarian, but also the local after-hours emergency vet clinic. 

Leave a list of all of your phone numbers (including numbers of the place you will be staying in) and the numbers of a few close friends or a friendly neighbor that agrees to help in a case of an emergency.

Discuss Details

Talk about everything with the sitter. Tell them how many visits a day your dog needs and ask them to describe a typical visit. Ask about the duration of their visits in case they aren’t staying at your house.

Also, make sure you are clear about playtime, the feeding and walking schedule, your dog’s favorite and least favorite food, etc. 

Don’t forget to leave a list of commands you commonly use with your pup. You may think everyone has the same commands, but in reality, they differ. For example, while one owner may use “off,” another uses “down” to tell their dog to stop jumping.


If your dog has to take medications, leave a clear and precise note with all the medication names and dosages. Label the medication clearly and keep it in plain sight. Also, make sure to show the sitter how to give the medication to your dog in case the dog refuses don’t take it willingly.

Establish a Back-Up Plan

Talk to the sitter about their backup plan if he or she is unable to complete what you’ve agreed. A professional pet sitting agency will usually have a backup sitter for situations like this, but it’s always best to ask up front. 

If you’re dealing with an individual, make sure they have a partner or someone to jump in and take care of your dog if something unexpected happens.

Be Clear About the House Rules

The sitter should know what areas of your house your dog is allowed to roam, and where he mustn’t go. If you don’t usually allow your fur baby to sleep on the sofa or chew on your pillows, the sitter should know about it. Make sure to shut off any areas of the house where you don’t want your dog or the sitter to go.

Make Notes of Everything Important

You should leave helpful notes about anything that may be important. You can’t have a checklist for a dog sitter without noting your dog’s habits. Is there a certain route your dog prefers? 

Is there a game he specifically enjoys? What’s your dog’s favorite thing to do when he goes outside? Does he love cats? How about the neighbor’s dog? A sitter needs to know all these things.

Your Itinerary

Among other dog instructions, you should be clear with the sitter about the time and date of your departure and arrival. Knowing your itinerary will help your sitter figure out the best times to get in touch with you should they need to.

For the sake of safety, lock up all of your valuable possessions – and don’t tell the sitter about them. If you choose to go with a professional company, make sure it’s a reputable one. 

Moreover, if you leave your pup with a friend or relative, make sure it’s a serious person you can trust. Either way, use this pet sitter checklist to make sure you’ve got everything covered.

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