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  • Writer's pictureAkira

The Ultimate Guide to Prepare for a Dog Sitter

"We've never hired a dog sitter. What does it entail, and what do we need to do to prepare?"

Barking with the Bradley's has heard this question asked many times and in many different ways.

Dog sitting is when a dog care provider stays overnight in your home to provide care for your pups. Dogs are creatures of habit. So in many cases, being able to stay in a familiar environment, keeps them more comfortable than elsewhere while you are away. One of my quick responses for how to prepare is to do so as if you are hosting a house guest, but I realize this can be very different for different people.

I was discussing the topic with a friend, who made the clever recommendation to leverage the guidance that vacation rentals use for guest checkout cleaning. I found an extremely comprehensive list by VBRO. However, to be expected, it's not tailored for our needs, so I continued the search for a list specifically for pet sitters. I was able to find another great list by AKC, but it lacked some of the attention-to-detail for the home that I liked from the first. To make things easier for our clients, I decided to combine the two, add some BwB tweaks, and create "The Ultimate Guide to Prepare for a BwB Dog Sitter". The checklist below is primarily for dog sitting, but some of these also apply to preparations for a dog walker.

Dog Care

  • Ensure there is plenty of food and medication (if applicable) available

  • Make sure there are updated ID tags on your dogs’ collars; bonus points if their microchip information is current as well

  • It's a good idea to inform a neighbor that you'll have a pet sitter

  • If your pups exhibit signs of stress about you leaving, secure them in a room free from likely hazards or crate them when left alone for their safety

  • Make sure all tabs of your DoTimely Booking profile are complete prior to your sitting reservation. Double-check that you have included the following details:

  • Location and description of food containers, be particularly specific or label containers if the pups eat different foods

  • Feeding portion size, times, and management for multiple pups

  • Location of medication and administration instructions; demonstrate administration during the Pre-reservation Meet & Greet

  • Location of your dog’s leash, poop bags, crate, toys, food, bowls, and other supplies

  • Veterinarian’s name, phone number, and address

  • Signed consent for care if you wish to authorize the sitter to make care decisions if we are unable to reach you in an emergency

  • List of vaccinations and dates received

  • Your contact information and emergency contact information (multiple backups are preferred)

General Housekeeping

  • If applicable, ensure home instructions sheet is in a visible place and is in good condition

  • Make sure the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are functioning properly

  • Make sure locking mechanisms are intact for all entry points and windows, especially your backyard to keep you pup secure

  • Provide sitter with instructions for house access (alarm code and key or keypad code, with a backup in case of key misplacement or keypad power outage)

  • Make sure your HVAC system is running properly and provide the sitter with operation instructions

  • Check for pest control service needs (including fleas and bed bugs)

  • Ensure cleaning supplies are easily accessible (to the sitter, but not to your pups) for possible stains and spills

  • Disinfect high-touch surfaces such as handles, doorknobs, and counters

  • Ensure all outdoor lights are functioning


  • Discard any food that has expired, or will expire during your trip, and has a pungent scent

  • Remove trash and recyclables; replace trash bags

  • Clean and disinfect range top, counters, cabinets, tables, and chairs

  • Clean and sanitize sink

  • Clean and disinfect appliances (interiors and exteriors), including the phone and inside of the microwave

  • Wash floor (sweep or mop)

  • Refill soap dispenser

  • Put out clean dish towels and a new sponge

  • Clean any dirty dishes or run the dishwasher

Bedroom for the Sitter

  • Dress the bed with clean sheets, blankets, and pillowcases

  • Vacuum floor

  • Remove trash; clean trash cans or replace trash bags

  • Dust furniture, knickknacks, ceiling fans, blinds, and windowsills and clean mirrors

  • Ensure outlets are available for phone charging

  • Clean and disinfect stereos, game systems, TVs, and remotes (provide operation instructions)

Living Areas

  • Clean and disinfect stereos, game systems, TVs and remotes (provide operation instructions)

  • Sweep, vacuum, and mop floors/carpets

  • Clean blankets

  • Dust and clean furniture, blinds, picture frames, knickknacks, ceiling fans, and lamps

Bathroom for the Sitter

  • Clean, scrub, disinfect, and sanitize shower, shower mat, bathtub, vanity, sink, and backsplashes

  • Clean mirrors

  • Clean and sanitize toilets (inside, outside, under the front, around the base, and behind)

  • Sweep and mop floors

  • Remove trash; clean trash cans or replace trash bags

  • Replenish soap

  • Replenish toilet paper (with extra rolls easily accessible)

  • Set out clean towels

  • Ensure shower curtains or doors are free of mold and water spots

Barking with the Bradley's, LLC is licensed, insured, Pet First Aid & CPCR Certified, and committed to continuous learning in our field, so you can rest assured that your dog is being well taken care of while you are away. But even with all of that I said, I know it can still be difficult leaving your furbaby, so I hope that by using this checklist, you'll feel more confident, your sitter will feel more comfortable, and that he or she will have the resources to provide the best care and keep your pups happy! We appreciate the time and consideration you take to prepare for us.

I'm curious to know if there is anything else that you think should be added to this list? Please leave it in the comments below.

Wishing you puppy kisses and well wishes,


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