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Things happen. You (and even your spouse) get suddenly ill, in an accident, or are somehow unable to get to your pets for a longer than usual amount of time. You call on friends or neighbors to help out, but your daily pet routine is more complicated than throwing some kibble in a bowl. Prepare now so your pets will be safe and cared for in your absence.

  • Start with vetting two or three people that you feel comfortable with granting access to your home — do this well in advance.

  • Stash a hide-a-key where it is extremely well hidden. Under the pot on the porch is no longer a secret. Some ideas: duct taped under your bbq in the backyard, taped to the inside of the recycle bin, buried under the quail statue in a ziplock bag. Get creative. Take a photo of its hiding place and include the photo in your instructions to your above mentioned new found pet caregiver.

  • If you have a security system, you will need to include detailed instructions for disarming and arming your system. Photos could be helpful here too.

  • Gather your pets food, medicines, and other supplies into a single area or at least make note of where to find these item inside your home.

  • Write out a detailed set of pet care instructions and keep it where it can be easily found.. Be very detailed as your pet caregiver volunteer may not be a pet person and may not have any idea what you are asking them to do.

  • Write down pet names and how to identify who is who.

  • Food and water requirements: Where to find the food in your home, serving size and frequency. Include the brand name of your food in case more is needed.

  • Potty instructions. Where and when.

  • What are their nighttime routines? Where do they sleep?

  • Medication frequency, where to find the meds, and how to administer.

  • Other special instructions including physical limitations.

  • Name and contact info for your vet and the emergency after hours vet.

  • Vaccination record.

  • Photos of your pets (yes, in case they get out).

  • Lastly, enter your caregivers contact information into your phone address book so you can contact them when needed.

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