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We wish we could always bring our dogs with us when we have to go away, but sometimes that's just not possible. Hiring a pet sitter to stay at your home and stick to your dog's regular routine will help make the time you're away a little less stressful for him (but don't worry—you'll still get a big ol' slobbery greeting when you get back). Here is a list of everything you should leave with the sitter.

The routine: Keeping your dog to the same schedule while you’re away will help him make the transition easier and may prevent accidents. Give the sitter a detailed breakdown of when to walk and feed your dog (and, as gross as it seems, it helps to know when #2 can usually be expected).

For example:

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walks: 7 a.m. (long, #1/#2), 12 p.m. (short, #1), 5 p.m. (long, #1/#2), 10 p.m. (short, #1)

meals: ¼ cup at 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. No more than 2 treats per day.

House rules: Just because you’re away, doesn’t mean Fido gets a pass to sleep on the couch or chase the cat. Make sure your sitter knows what your dog is and isn’t allowed to do in the house (and if there’s an unfriendly dog in the neighborhood, let he or she know about that, too).

shiba with sitter

Contact information: Not just yours. Make sure there’s a backup person the sitter can call if you’re unreachable or if she can’t get to your residence for some reason. It’s also helpful to leave the name and number of the hotel you’ll be staying in.

Your itinerary: This will ensure there’s no confusion about what date and time you’ll be leaving and returning.

A list of all medications and conditions: If your dog needs to be treated while you’re away, the sitter should know of any medical conditions or allergies to report to the vet so that he can get proper treatment. Write them all down—you don’t want your sitter telling your vet about your dog’s hypothyroidism when he really has hyperadrenocorticism.

Phone numbers, addresses, and driving or metro directions for the local and emergency veterinarians: If anything happens, you don’t want valuable time lost.

A credit card and an authorization letter: Leave a credit card in case the dog needs to be taken to the vet, along with a signed letter stating that this person has permission to use your card for your pet’s care.

Extra food and (if needed) medication: Make sure you have enough, plus extra in case your return gets delayed, and make sure the sitter knows where they’re stored. Also, point out where the leashes, doggie bags, and other supplies are kept.
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