Fostering a good stay for sitters

Hi all! I am a new homeowner on THS and my first petsitter will be coming in a few weeks. I really want to make it a good experience for my petsitter, largely so that they write a good review and I can get solid petsitters in the future.

I live in a pretty old apartment in New York, but it is clean and cozy. Other than providing a clean and comfortable space, does anyone have tips on what I can do to foster as positive of an environment as possible?


Hi Kaylarose,
I am a sitter who will one day list my home when the time comes up.

I joined the site at the start of the year and done a few sits.
I love it so far!
The first sit was amazing: the HO left the guide on the table printed out with absolutely everything mentioned from where to sleep, what to eat (I could raid the cupboard if i wanted but only took milk from the fridge), information on how to access wii fi, internet, the tv channels, pay tv and even the vet information, medication requirements for the two pets, where they love to go for walks, anything important to remember (the cat drinks water from a wine glass and has done for over 10 + years) and needs replacing every morning, recommendations for local restaurants and takeaways ( i found a pizza discount on the fridge so used that one night), the washing information as well like where to find the liquid and softener, the toilet paper if needed, simple living things that a sitter needs to know. It was nice the offer was there for food in the cupboard particularly if your sitter has travelled a far and needs a bite to eat. Maybe they would be coming late at night so some toiletries like at a hotel would be appreciated. She even left a brush for me if I needed to get dog hair off my clothes.
The HO was so nice in the note, she wanted me to enjoy! I am trying to remember if there was anything else to write here for you. I kindly left the note on the table upon leaving (it had passwords and all that on there). Is there anything in your place that needs a pin number? door to get in? lock on cat flap? or even an alarm?
The next HO has put down the vet’s details and to immediately contact her no matter what time of the day so she can pay for an emergencies.
I have been communicating with all the HO’s via the app “whatsapp” so that is a good idea to download something like that for free communication between you and the sitter you c choose.
The first HO left the location details of where the keys would be for the house.
Upon leaving that sit, I asked what she would like me to do with the pets. She asked me to leave the dog outside with a bucket of water as it may have been a hot day.
We left a nice note and some chocolates (it didn’t match the wine bottle she left me).

The only issue for the first sit was that the place was quite untidy, wrappers and stuff on the floor (hair ties etc). I’d like to visit a nice tidy home and leave it nice and tidy or even better which i did in this case.
We made sure not to go into the ensuite (no go zones should be identified) but only to check on the wine glass of water for the cat in there.
If I think of anything I missed, I will add it here x

Oh yes… she had a coffee machine and left the bag of pods for me. I was too scared to use it but wow…how thoughtful…

Communication is crucial as Smiley mentioned.


Hello @kaylarose
Welcome to THS and I’m sure that your first experience with a housesitter will be a positive one, especially as you are so concerned about making it a good one for them.
It sounds like @HappySunflower didn’t meet her first homeowner before the sit but arrived to the notes (I may be wrong) so this would be the first thing I’d encourage. It’s not always possible for Housesitters to meet the home owner some time before the sit but it’s usually possible to have a handover before the owner leaves, even if just 30 minutes, so the owner can show them the home, where the fuse box is etc, where the pet’s food is kept etc etc. Sometimes if the owner is leaving very early in the morning I’ve been invited the night before and enjoyed a meal and chat with the owner. That has been lovely in all cases so far.
In addition please do ensure you complete the Welcome Guide as fully as possible and ensure the sitter knows you have. It’s useful also to have it printed out and leave a copy in your home.
I agree with @HappySunflower that communication is best via WhatsApp if you have it, as pics and videos (if you wish) can be sent to you while you’re away, which many owners like, also easier to contact you with any questions.
If you have good neighbours you might, if you have time, introduce the owner to them so they know there’s someone to call on should there be a problem or simply someone to chat to, especially if they’re on their own.
It’s nice to leave a ‘starter pack’ of essentials for the owner such as milk, bread eggs although the sitter does buy their own food. Also helpful to leave enough toilet rolls, washing powder etc. If you have any food in the fridge that won’t keep until you return, don’t throw it away as the sitter can use it up but make sure you tell them. If they can use any spices/oil that would be helpful too.
If your pet takes any medication clearly explain when, how and what and why.
If your pet had any idiosyncrasies such as pulling on the lead, or must be walked on the lead, doesn’t like other dogs/children etc that is essential. Also, how long can your pet be left alone so the sitter can go to the supermarket/explore a little.
If you have your own plumber/electrician etc please ensure you leave those details.
Please leave the home clean and tidy and the sitter should leave it just as clean and tidy as they find it.
Basically, treat the sitter as you would a friend as they are, after all, looking after your beloved pet.
I’m sure I’ve missed something out and there will be lots more information on the forum (this has been discussed before) also on the website itself!
From a happy sitter who has met some lovely owners and pets (currently on my 38th sit) thank you for caring, it means a lot!


As others have said, communication is the best thing you can do. But there are also several threads about issues sitters have had in the past as well as things they really appreciated so spending some time looking through past posts would probably give you a ton of information on ways to make sure the sit goes off without a hitch. Good luck!

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Everything everyone else has said above plus the most important thing, provide a clean and tidy house for the sitter. Wipe down all the surfaces, vacuum, put away clutter in the areas the sitter will use, clean the sitter’s bathroom and bedroom, make room in the fridge, pick up any pet poo in the yard beforehand, ensure there will be no unexpected visitors while the sitter is there, if the pets need anything bought for them leave some cash for the sitter with instructions (the sitter should not have to pay for this and seek reimbursement from the HO), don’t treat the sitter like your employee, don’t ask the sitter to run errands for you, if yard maintenance is required pay someone to do it for you rather than asking the sitter to do it. Most importantly be very clear about your expectations in your listing so a sitter can decide if yours is the sit for them, don’t be introducing new expectations or make changes after the sit has been agreed to.


Be kind.
Treat people as you wish to be treated.

If you want to personalize to them, ask them if there is anything you can do for them. Often times if not most times, those gestures will be reciprocated.
Smile and enjoy your holiday.


As others have said, good communication.
Really for me a fairly clean and tidy home.
Some place in the refrigerator for me to put things that I buy. There is a pretty long discussion (that I actually started) about things that sitters would like to have in a house - What is your most wanted 'missing amenity' at a sit?
for me a reading lamp alongside the bed (for reading and so I don’t have to walk across the dark bedroom after turning off the light) and a hotel-type luggage rack.

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If an elderly animal cover every corner. The possibilities of something going wrong are endless.

This is a great question! I would suggest having a supply of info on things near your apartment (restaurants, coffee shops, etc.) which will make it easier to plan a trip out. Also, we always supplied a small goody basket with items to help start off the stay such as bottled water, breakfast snacks and just a few little snacks to tide them over until they can get out and pick up a few things for themselves.


For our first sitter experience last December we made sure that our Welcome Guide contained all necessary information such as several contacts in case of problems, places of interest around our appartement and businesses (restaurants and others) that we liked. We also included a lot of information on our cat’s routine and we arranged with our veterinary clinic to have our sitters names in our file as well as arranging to pay any urgent and unforeseen care ourselves. We left the user manuals of all our appliances (big and small) on our file cabinet. We downloaded and printed information on activities we knew the sitters would like based on our previous discussions. Finally we prepared a nice little welcome basket including home made fudge; I had previously asked them for some preferences such as pastries and beverages. We basically asked ourselves what we would appreciate if we were sitters and arrived on a sit. We wanted them to feel welcomed in their home away from home. And we made sure the house was as clean and tidy as possible.


Even If I never get to sit for you, @gchampagne, :heart_eyes: THANK YOU :heart_eyes:

I can’t tell you how many times have I tried to figure out the oven, dishwasher or microwave and been dumbfounded… and I’ve been working as a chef, in other people’s kitchens, for two decades!


Can’t go wrong here! :+1:


Honesty is the best policy. If there’s anything about your pretty old apartment they should know, especially as it pertains to plumbing, let them know up front. I’m both a HO and a sitter. When people come to my house I enjoy being in the house with them for a bit to show the home and my dog’s quirks. It’s a Mid-Century home so definitely has quirks. I also enjoy either preparing a shared meal or going out to eat, the night before. I realize that not everyone wants this much interaction but I like to spend a little time when possible, with the person who will be in my home and taking care of my most precious gift, my dog.

As a way to support local businesses, I leave a certificate for McConnell’s Ice cream (perfect walking distance with my dog), a pass to the Ventura Botanical Garden (dogs allowed on Wed and Fri) and anything else I may want to highlight. I keep my Welcome Guide updated and make sure to send it via link, prior to their arrival.

Hope that helps. When I petsit others, clean and cozy plus realistic assessment ahead of time of the pet (s) I’ll be watching is most appreciated.


I should also like to add that it’s really helpful if us sitters can have some hanging and drawer space. I’ve been at sits when there hasn’t been either and it does make it difficult.


i used the kitchen table for my last sit but yes, I agree would be nice to have hanging space and drawer space. Had to live out of a suitcase open and close.
Fridge space too.

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Yeah i just had a sit with pet poo everywhere outside. I decided to clear what I could away.

yeah I supervised a dog when they were inside. I didn’t want to take any risks and they did a wee near a play area inside.

I totally agree. I travelled to another city recently and had no idea what was around. I had been to the city before but didn’t know what restaurants and coffee shops were recommended and close by. We could take whatever we wanted from the fridge and cupboard but chose only to take the milk and replace before leaving.

Hi Kaylarose,
The fact that you are asking the question shows that you are a thoughtful home owner.
We recently completed our first sit, and consider ourselves so lucky that everything had been thought about. We arrived the day before the owners left so they showed us around the house and garden, and showed me how to work a dreaded induction hob! The welcome pack was printed out, there were leaflets for the local area, we had been left an entire fridge to use, we had a drawer for clothes, instructions for appliances, all the dog leads/coats/towels were in labelled drawers, the house was clean and tidy, all the preferred cleaning materials were left out so it was clear what to use to clean up after ourselves, they had made space on their driveway for our car, and they kept in touch on the day of their return so we knew when to expect them home.
They have set a high standard in our minds now!


YES YES YES :blush:

I would be so grateful to be able to pull my car up as close as I can. Not only to unload the essentials, but also because I don’t want to bring everything in just to clutter up the space, and then have to carry it all back out.

Extra bonus points if i can park in your garage :star_struck: