Expert Pet Sitter’s Guide: How to Provide the Best Pet Sitting Experience for Vacation Clients

A dog sitting comfortably by a suitcase, symbolizing comfortable pet sitting services in Columbus, Ohio while its owners are away on vacation.

Being a pet sitter in Columbus, Ohio brings with it a considerable amount of responsibility, especially when caring for pets whose parents are away for extended periods. In contrast to short-term absences, clients on vacation entrust not just their beloved pets but also the care of their homes into your hands for a lengthy duration. This situation underscores the importance of maintaining effective communication throughout this period, above all else.

In this guide, we will explore crucial house sitting and pet sitting skills, as well as effective strategies to guarantee peace of mind to your next out-of-town pet-sitting client.

Essential House Sitting Skills

An important component of extended pet sitting is the comprehensive care and maintenance of the client’s home. Below are vital focus areas, alongside best practices to employ in the absence of specific instructions from pet parents:


  • Adjust blinds throughout the day to simulate an inhabited home, opening them in the morning and closing them at night.
  • Inspect for any damages or malfunctions in the blinds and communicate these issues to the homeowners for necessary repairs.


  • Implement a lighting schedule that mimics the home’s typical occupancy, keeping certain lights on at night for security and ensuring lights are off during daylight when not needed.
  • Promptly report and, if directed, replace any malfunctioning or burnt-out bulbs to maintain a well-lit and secure environment.

Alarms & Locks

  • Test the alarm system regularly to ensure it’s functioning correctly, following the homeowners’ instructions for arming and disarming.
  • Verify all doors and windows are securely locked, especially after opening, and immediately report any issues to the homeowners.

Mail & Deliveries

  • Collect mail, packages, and newspapers regularly to prevent them from accumulating, which can signal an unoccupied home.
  • Notify homeowners of any important mail or deliveries and follow their handling instructions.


  • Handle garbage disposal according to the homeowners’ guidelines, including taking out the trash on designated days and ensuring bins are properly secured.

Plant Care

  • If applicable, follow the homeowners’ specific watering and garden care instructions, considering the different needs of various plant species.
  • Monitor plants for signs of pests or diseases, taking appropriate action when necessary.


  • Amenity Usage: Adhere to guidelines for amenities usage.
  • Maintain Cleanliness: Keep the house clean and organized.
  • Kitchen Etiquette: Wash and replace used dishes promptly.
  • Laundry Responsibilities: Launder and replace used bedding and towels.
  • Monitor Safety: Report unusual smells or safety hazards immediately.
  • Adjust Thermostats: Manage heating and cooling efficiently.
  • Pest Awareness: Watch for and report any pest signs.
  • Emergency Preparedness: Know emergency procedures and contact information.

Essential Pet Sitting Skills

When pet sitting for animals whose human parents are away for extended periods, a heightened level of vigilance and TLC is essential on your part. The prolonged absence of their parents means it’s crucial to maintain the pets’ happiness, alleviate any separation anxiety, and adhere as closely as possible to their regular routines. Essentially, your role as a pet sitter in Columbus is to ensure that the pets feel as if their parents have never even left, providing a seamless and stress-free experience for them.

Maintaining Pet Routines

For starters, adhering to pets’ regular routines (especially the time in which they’re executed), including their feeding, exercise, and playtime schedules, plays a significant role in easing their stress. A familiar routine can offer a sense of normalcy and security in their parents’ absence, so make sure to follow care instructions to a tee!

Quelling Pet Anxiety

As mentioned, pets can become noticeably unsettled by their parents’ prolonged absence. Stay aware of the signs of separation anxiety and handle them accordingly. The importance of companionship in mitigating this anxiety cannot be overstated; dedicating quality time to ensure each pet feels loved and secure plays a crucial role.

In instances where pets show reluctance to eat, becoming creative with mealtime strategies can encourage them to eat. This may involve introducing enticing new flavors or combining their usual food with favorite treats to spark their interest.

You may also consider using calming techniques that foster a serene home environment. Playing soft music, offering extra cuddles, or using pet-safe aromatherapy are effective methods, provided they align with the pet parents’ preferences and instructions.

Quelling Pet-Parent Anxiety

Just as it’s important to quell pet anxiety during pet sitting visits, it’s also important to quell that of pet parents who are away. Many parents experience guilt or worry when they leave their pets for extended periods. To go above and beyond in providing peace of mind while they’re away, consider ramping up your communication efforts. Sending numerous photos, delivering updates with enthusiasm, and asking any questions that arise can all contribute to reassuring the pet parent that their beloved companion is in great hands. Engaging in such proactive and transparent communication not only bridges the distance but also strengthens the trust between you and the pet parent, ensuring they feel confident and relaxed during their time away.

Excelling at Vacation Pet Care

To really excel at being a pet sitter in Columbus, Ohio, you must blend responsibility with creativity, offering sincere peace of mind to pet parents during extended times away. This concise guide covers the essentials: securing homes to look inhabited, maintaining routines to keep pets at ease, and employing clever strategies to communicate effectively with pet parents.

By merging thoughtful care with engaging updates, you can ensure pets are content and homes are well-managed, crafting a wonderful experience for pet parents that keeps them coming back whenever the need for pet sitting arises.



Hello! Thanks for visiting our blog. I'm the proud owner of Columbus's own Hands N Paws, started in 2018 to bring joy to pet parents. See you in the next post!

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The terms of this agreement are as follows: “Client” refers to you, “Company” refers to us (Hands N Paws), “Team Member” refers to the person from our team providing services for  your pets, and “Team Members” refers to the Hands N Paws team as a whole.


It is important to inform Hands N Paws of any specific emergency instructions or medical conditions related to Client’s pets. This will help ensure the safety and well-being of pets during emergencies.

In case any of Client’s pets need emergency veterinary treatment, Team Member will contact the designated vet on file and/or a local emergency vet. Team Member will also communicate with Client and/or emergency contacts regarding the situation.

Client gives permission to Team Member to transport the pet(s) to a veterinary clinic and/or make treatment decisions (except for euthanasia), especially if it’s a life-threatening emergency and/or Client cannot be immediately reached. Client is responsible for any veterinary fees incurred. 

Client releases Hands N Paws from any liability for any damage or harm to pets or property that occurs beyond the reasonable control of Team Member during the provision of emergency veterinary care. 


To comply with local laws and ordinances, it is required that all pets have the appropriate vaccinations and licenses before Company begins services. For further information on these requirements, please visit the Ohio State Bar Association’s website at Client should also check with his/her veterinarian to determine which vaccinations/shots the pet requires. 

For safety reasons, we encourage all dogs and cats to wear an ID tag or collar that includes name and contact number while Team Member is working with them.


To ensure access to Client’s home during scheduled services, Hands N Paws requires that Client purchases a lockbox and places a spare house key(s) inside of it for Team Member to use. Client can purchase the lockbox on Hands N Paws’ website by clicking Buy Your Lockbox. Once it arrives, the lockbox should be programmed with a unique four-digit code. The lockbox should then be placed on the main door handle or in another secure location, and the lockbox code and location information must be entered in the Client’s account on Precise Petcare.

Alternatively, Client may elect to provide a code for entry via a garage door or electronic keypad and if so, must enter all necessary codes in Precise Petcare. Client is strongly encouraged to purchase a lockbox, however, to ensure that Team Member can access pets at all times during scheduled services, especially in situations where the power goes out or batteries die and Team Member need alternative access to the home.


All Team Members have access to Clients phone number, but are instructed to only use them when necessary or for urgent purposes during services with pets. Hands N Paws prioritizes the privacy and confidentiality of phone numbers as personal information.

All correspondence between Client and Team Member should be centered around Client’s pets and the services provided. If Client has inquiries regarding scheduling, cancellations, app-related matters, or any company-related concerns, these are to be directed to the Company via the office number: (614) 636-6644. The Company’s client support team is available during office hours, Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm. We are closed on Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal Holidays. The Company will make contact with Client outside of office hours should there be any urgent need for communication.


In order to provide the best possible service to pets, it is crucial that Client provides Team Member with detailed and up-to-date information regarding their pets. This information should be accurate, complete, and accessible through the Client’s account in Precise Petcare. Team Members can only work on the basis of the information that is available to them through the Client’s account in Precise Petcare. Likewise, Client acknowledges that the accuracy and comprehensiveness of the information they provide directly impacts the quality of the services delivered. Client, therefore, takes full responsibility for any consequences that arise from inaccurate, incomplete, or outdated account information.


Arrival times for services occur within a two-hour period. Team Members are unable to guarantee exact arrival times due to various factors that may affect scheduling and travel times. To accommodate these considerations, we use time blocks rather than specific times. Client will see this in the dropdown menu when Client selects Arrival Time in the request service form within their Client account.

While Team Members understands that Client may have preferences regarding arrival times, it is essential to acknowledge that Team Members cannot guarantee meeting those specific requests. Flexibility is needed in order for Team Members to accommodate for needs of other Clients on schedule.


For the most up-to-date and detailed descriptions on service offerings, please visit our website at


The following service surcharges may apply under certain conditions:

Last Minute Service: A fee of $15 per service will be charged for bookings made with less than 24 hours’ notice.

Holiday Service: A fee of $20 per service will be applied for services provided on the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve.

Additional Pets: Base pricing for services includes up to 2 pets. For each additional pet beyond the initial two, an additional fee of $7 per pet will be added.

*Additional fees may apply, as discussed/negotiated between Company and Client. 


Hands N Paws strives to accommodate as many service requests as possible. However, the approval of service requests is subject to the availability of Team Members. Upon submitting a service request, Client will receive a confirmation or declination email/notification indicating whether Hands N Paws can fulfill the requested work. Sometimes, this may take up to 48 hours or more.

If a service request is declined, we encourage Client to explore alternative options or contact our dedicated client support team for further assistance. Company is here to help and find the best solution for all pet care needs.


To ensure a personalized experience for new Clients, Hands N Paws requires a virtual or in-person Meet N Greet before getting started with pet services. These meetings allow us to connect with and onboard Clients and discuss their pet care needs.

All virtual Meet N Greets are free of charge. All in-person Meet N Greets come at a $50 cost. Meet N Greets are no more than 30 minutes in length.

New Clients can book their Meet N Greet on our website at Existing Clients can book their Meet N Greet in their designated client account in Precise Petcare.


Payment Method: All services with Hands N Paws are to be paid for using a credit or debit card. All major cards, including Visa, Mastercard, Amex, and Discover are acceptable. Client can securely add and store card information within their Client account. Adding and keeping a valid credit card on file is a requirement for requesting any services with Hands N Paws.

Ongoing Services: For services scheduled as ongoing, Client will be automatically charged every Friday for the previous 7 days’ worth of completed, canceled, and in-progress services.

Non-Ongoing Services: For services not scheduled as ongoing, a 50% down-payment will be charged on the day the services are accepted and confirmed. An invoice will be sent immediately. Client has until the date of the last confirmed service to manually pay the remaining balance on the invoice. If manual payment is not made, the remaining total will be automatically charged to the card on file on the date of the last service day on that invoice.

Declined Payments: In the event of a declined auto-charge, Client will be promptly notified. After the first declined charge, Client has a 24-hour grace period to rectify the issue. In the case of a second declined attempt, a late fee of 10% of the invoice total (minimum $10) will be added. Client must be attentive to emails regarding overdue notices.

Payment Terms: Hands N Paws will be paid the agreed-upon amount as discussed, with no exceptions, unless our Cancellation Policy (outlined below) applies and the Client receives a refund in the form of an Account Credit(s). In emergency circumstances, a refund may be issued as transferable credit(s) back to the Client’s card.

Additional Fees: Client may be charged additional fees if Team Members are instructed to, or determine the need to, purchase items for the pet(s) while under the care of Hands N Paws. These items may include pet food or treats, litter or cleaning supplies, transportation to the vet, or emergency expenses for the general care of the pet(s). Hands N Paws and/or Team Member will consult with Client before making any purchases, and will retain and share any receipts as proof of purchase.


When Client schedules services with Hands N Paws, the Company has likely turned down other work so as to devote our time to the work requested from said Client.

Client understands and accepts the Company cancellation/refund policy as outlined below:

– 100% refund is issued as Account Credit if cancellation is made at least 48 hours prior to the scheduled service(s).

– 50% refund is issued as Account Credit if cancellation is made at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled service(s).

– NO refund is issued for same-day cancellations/less than 24 hour notice.

PLEASE NOTE: Refunds are NOT transferable. Should Client be eligible to receive an Account Credit (based on terms above), that will be auto-added to his/her account and applied to the very next invoice with us.


Hands N Paws agrees to provide the services stated in this contract in a reliable, caring, and trustworthy manner. In consideration of these services and as an express condition thereof, Client expressly waives and relinquishes any and all claims against Hands N Paws arising out of or relating to the provision of services hereunder, except those arising from gross negligence or willful misconduct on part of Hands N Paws.

Client understands and acknowledges that the environment in which they are requesting Hands N Paws to complete services is reasonably sanitary and safe. If it is determined that home conditions are unsanitary and/or unsafe at any point in the working relationship, Company will make it known to Client. Action will be taken accordingly thereafter.

Additionally, Hands N Paws will not terminate during a period of scheduled service unless Hands N Paws determines, at their sole discretion, that a serious danger exists to the health or safety of Team Members or pets. If such concerns preclude Hands N Paws from providing further care for the pets, Client agrees to pay for their pet to be boarded at a boarding facility or taken under the care of another party until Client returns. All attempts will be made to notify Client and/or emergency contacts regarding such situations.

Client understands and acknowledges that he/she is responsible for letting Hands N Paws know of anyone who has access to their home during the duration of services booked. Client releases and holds Hands N Paws harmless of all loss, expense, and damage caused by any third-parties entering Client’s home at that time.


This contract will take effect upon digital signature by Client (clicking “Agree & Submit” below) and will remain in effect until terminated by either party. Client may make online reservations for additional services at any time during the terms of this contract, as subject to Hands N Paws availability. All scheduled services will be governed by all the terms of this contract.

Client acknowledges that by signing below, he/she is providing written approval for the provision of services by Hands N Paws during any service period scheduled by Client and confirmed by Hands N Paws. Upon service confirmation, Hands N Paws will be authorized to enter Client premises and perform services without additional signed contracts and/or written authorizations.