By Alexis Patinos


The school year is coming to an end for most students and families, which means a summer full of activities and travel is ahead. If you are a pet owner, you may need to find someone to care for your pets while you are out of town. In order to ensure you, your pets, and your pets’ caretaker are stress-free, we recommend following these 10 tips.

1. Be sure you have enough food. Be prepared for travel delays, and let your pets’ caretaker know where extra food is stored. Leave clear instructions on how much they are to be fed daily. Proper labeling of containers is key if you have multiple pets that are on different diets. If your pet tends to get stressed and stop eating when you are away, consider leaving canned food or cooked chicken for the pet sitter to mix into their food to entice your pet to eat.

2. Show your pet sitter where your pets’ leash, harness, carrier, litter box, poop bags and/or kennels are located. Consider leaving a back-up leash or collar and extra litter.

3. Leave plenty of toys for your pets to play with and inform the pet sitter where the toys are located.

4. Place cleaning supplies where they are easily accessible to your pet sitter in case your pet has an accident in the house.

5. Place potentially dangerous plants, decorations, trash, and laundry out of reach of your pets and be sure to let your pet sitter know of anything that may be out of the ordinary (ie – leaky faucet) as well as any additional people that may be entering your home while you are away.

6. Double check that your pets’ ID tags are up to date and attached to their collars. If you have multiple pets of the same breed, this can be important in helping the sitter distinguish between pets. If your pet has a microchip, use or www. to confirm that your contact information is up to date with the microchip corresponding to your pet’s file.

7. If your pet is on medication, notify the pet sitter ahead of time and provide detailed instructions on where the medication is located, times the medication needs to be administered, and how it should be administered.

8. If your pet has a prior condition, such as seizures or a heart condition, let the pet sitter know of these conditions, how they present themselves, and when and where they should seek medical attention. Leave phone numbers and addresses of both your primary veterinarian and the nearest emergency veterinarian.

9. Let your veterinarian know that you will be out of town and that your pets will be cared for by a sitter. Give your pet sitter your cell phone number and hotel information and the number of someone you trust to make medical decisions for your pet, in case of emergency. Add a person you trust to your pet’s account as someone authorized to make medical decisions if you can’t be reached.

10. Prior to departure, set up a time to familiarize the pet sitter with your pets and your home. Show the sitter your pets’ preferred hangouts as well as locations of things they might need.

Follow these tips for peace of mind for you, your pet, and your pet sitter! Talk with a professional at Bluegrass Veterinary Specialists + Animal emergency to add an authorized decision maker to your pet’s account. Safe travels!