This week there is a great deal at Groupon for pet sitters found on, so we thought we’d share some tips on how to prepare your home for an in-home pet sitter today. offers a search that makes it easy to find an in-home sitter for your next trip, and you can purchase either $60 of sitting for $25, or $120 worth of services for $45. This offer is only available for the next couple days, so make sure to check it out quickly!

In this post, we will talk about how to prepare your house for an in-home pet sitter – someone who comes to your house while you are away to care for your animals. If you want to know more about some of the questions to ask when finding and hiring a pet sitter, and what to pack for your dog, see this post from last month on DOGthusiast.

Your home, or theirs? Choosing where your pets will stay

All the comforts of your own home!

All the comforts of your own home!

Our dogs and cats are so different. Some welcome going to someone else’s house like it is Disneyland – a great adventure full of new surprises and endless fun. Other dogs feel like it is a cruel and unusual punishment, and their anxiety levels are raised for the duration of the stay. I’m blessed with one of each! And it’s probably true that most cats would prefer to stay in their own homes, continuing to survey their territory from their own comfy perches. Although, some cats may do fine at someone else’s house or the sitter will prepare a comfortable room for your cat to stay that remains quiet with all the comforts of home.

You might want to test taking your pets, especially your dogs, to a friend’s home to see how they react to the change in environment. If it’s particularly stressful, or does not improve within a reasonable amount of time, you might want to consider an in-home sitter. Before you settle on a sitter, make sure you ask them all the right questions (find some of them on this blog post, and arrange to have a visit where they come over to your house. Some dogs, like one of mine, have an issue with strangers coming to the house. So you may need to set up a scenario that makes it easier for your potential sitter to meet and become friends with a wary dog to make it an easier transition into your home. Or you might simply need to show your dog that the sitter is friendly while you are all in the house together, while everything is low-stress, before you leave your pets for your vacation.

Preparing your sitter and pets for the in-home sitter

The most important part of your preparation will be that of your dog and sitter. Your sitter needs to understand the behavior and health of your pets in order to best care for them, and also needs you to show him or her where everything is in your house. Does your dog fear anything? Tend to destroy things? What is needed to keep your pets, and your sitter, safe? Let’s take Mort for example! A sitter would need to know these things, among many, many others:

  1. Due to an unfortunate incident when Mort was very young, he hates having his collar put on and will lower his head in a sad way. I know that it would be quite difficult for a stranger to put the collar on, so they would need to be calm, understanding, and probably use a lot of food rewards.
  2. Very sensitive about having paws touched and being restrained by strangers. Tread slowly.
  3. He can jump onto a 4 foot surface without a running start. And he’s sneaky
  4. He destroys many toys, and decides to eat the pieces if bored (dangerous!) – so toys need to be played with actively, or stored out of his reach.
  5. He needs to be distracted when huge vehicles drive close by, otherwise he’ll air-nip at them (yeah. weird kelpie mix).

These are the kinds of things you need to go over with your sitter. Collect your dog’s needs by brainstorming over a week. Try to think about what any pet caregiver will run into that they may need to deal with. Some dogs may have a laundry list of issues (Mort!) and others will skew towards “Likes to lay on the couch and snooze.” variety. And of course, have your sitter over to your house not only for an introduction, but to demonstrate any quirks and show her how your dogs are trained (or not trained, whatever the case may be!) Take your sitter on their regular dog walk (or one of your regular walks), and try to show them any behaviors that they might need to know about. When you show your sitter around the house, make sure you mention where your dog is allowed, and where he isn’t. Point out if there are any dangerous areas your dog should be kept away from, such as where you keep cleaning supplies or pest control devices.

A good sitter will ask you lots of questions – be honest and open in your answers, as this will help everyone the most.

Preparing your house for an in-home pet sitter

holiday-animalsIf you’ve decided that you should hire a sitter that stays in your home, you will need to make sure you have everything in order before they arrive. Your pet sitter will help you complete this list, but here are a few things that you should start thinking about when planning to hire a sitter.

  1. Organize all of the items your sitter will need for your pet so they are readily available – food and treats, any medications, leashes, collars, poop bags (and the extras!), grooming supplies, and so on.
  2. Make a list of particularly important details. For example, how to medicate your pets – make it very clear “who gets what” in a multi-pet household. Carefully detail any people who may be expected at the house, and provide their contact information (such as regular services you may have at the house). Also make sure that you provide a local emergency contact and your contact information and where you are staying. You may also want to notify one trusted neighbor about your pet sitter.
  3. Crates, ex-pens, or any other confinement space that might be required. Remember that your dog’s behavior may be different with you absent, which is a stress, so this is particularly important in a multi-dog household.
  4. If your pets don’t wear collars in the house, consider having them wear them if possible in your absence. Your pets will be under more stress than usual, and may exhibit unusual behaviors – a collar will help them get home safely in the event they door-dash, or escape the leash during a walk.
  5. Have the contact information of your regular veterinarian and emergency vet. If necessary, sign a release form that lets your sitter take your pet there for treatment if necessary.
  6. Show your sitter where the things are that she may need! For example, an earthquake kit, how to shut off the gas in an emergency, cleaning and other household supplies, plants to water, smoke detectors, how to use your appliances, and so on.

How to search for an in-home pet sitter at

Now that you’ve decided on what kind of pet sitter to hire, you can start looking for one in your area! Head to and click Search in the top menu to arrive at their detailed Search page. On the search page, first choose “In My Home” radio button, then enter your location, the dates you need the sitter, and the search automatically updates with the in-home pet sitters in your area.

Choose "In My Home" and then enter your location, dates, and choose a price range.

Choose “In My Home” and then enter your location, dates, and choose a price range.

Remember, you can save money on a sitter you find at using the Groupon deal. Grab it today so you’re ready for the next time you need to head out of town!

Note: I have written this post for I am being compensated for helping spread the word about this pet sitting service, but only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers.

About Author

Jen deHaan is graphic designer, small business owner, and dog person living in Bay Area, California. Jen enjoys learning about dog training and behavior, and has taken several courses and seminars since 2010. She also contributes articles to leading websites, such as Victoria Stilwell's Positively . It all started with a great dog called Mikey (aka "dude"), loved and lost but remembered forever. Jen also runs a freelance business focusing on graphic, web, and UI design at FoundPixel, and a small business creating hand crafted dog products at Stylish Canine.