Hosts leaving food staples at the beginning of a sit

I recently began a pet sit where I was left with a completely empty refrigerator. The owner explained that they always use up their weekly budgeted food, which coincided with my arrival date. The home was fairly isolated and somewhat inaccessible. As a sitter, should I expect some food basics to be provided? Or, should I assume not and shop before arriving?

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No HO is obligated to offer you food, so you should always assume that you’ll need your own supplies.

Some HOs leave food especially for sitters or offer food they already have on hand, but all of that is hospitality, not an obligation.

THS guidance specifies that sitters should expect to provide their own food.

If you’re going to sit somewhere isolated or where it’s hard to get food, discuss that with the HO before your sit, so they can help you figure out how to obtain food. That doesn’t mean they must provide it for you. In discussing such, if it seems too much of a hassle, you might want to reconsider whether to further pursue the sit.


I would find that odd. I’d expect some condiments or something.

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I never expect food to be supplied and always expect to bring my own.

Many HO’s do supply food, but I never expect it .

That said, I’m also particular with my diet so the only way I can make sure I have what I want is to bring it.



There were olives, an almost empty tube of tomato paste, a near empty jar of soup base and a bunch of fresh parsley.

Thanks. You’re right.

I think that is very unwelcoming, inhospitable, inconsiderate and incredibly rude, especially because it was an isolated place.

I expect that there is at least stuff for breakfast: some milk, juice, coffee, cheese, bread, etc. Even in a city (shops may be closed on Sundays etc). Ideally, an HO would ask if there was anything that the sitter would not eat, and what they would like to eat.


Thanks. Up until this experience, I’ve encountered nothing but generosity and appreciation which made this past sit such a head scratcher. Live and learn.


Most owners have al least left me some milk and the first thing I do at a sit is go to the supermarket. I have done a sit on 3 occasions and each time the fridge has been empty, which I find bizarre and somewhat rude tbh. Most people will say to eat anything in the fridge that will have gone off by the time they return.

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I always expect that HOs will leave no food whatsoever for me; if they do, it’s a bonus.

I once arrived on a Saturday evening at 2+ wk sit after traveling all day by train, owner was leaving Sunday morning early. To my surprise I found out via her that all supermarkets were closed on Sunday. And she didn’t leave me with any food in the fridge. That was not fun…

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Yes, rude and so inconsiderate!

One does not need to be a prepper to maintain some basic supplies: cans of soup, canned fish, pasta, rice, sterilized milk, jars of applesauce etc, knäckebröd, etc.

(I am more systematic with that since covid. Just enough so I won’t need to go out while I have the flu or something.)


Yes. Gonna bring the basics from now on.

I’ve been on a couple of sits where there’s been nearly no food in the house, though the homeowners offered me boxes of tea or such that they had on hand, and other hospitality, so I wonder whether they just don’t keep much for themselves even, because they watch their diets and want to avoid temptation. Years ago, I remember a coworker saying that she never kept peanut butter on hand, for example, because she’d eat it all. I figured she must be watching her weight. Nowadays, there seem to be so many people on regimented diets, at least from what I’ve seen on social media.

When I have guests, I stock up extra food that I think they might enjoy, but when I travel, I always look after myself out of habit. I carry snacks in case I end up stranded or with bad connections. On arrival, I get stuff at the airport or train station if it’s late and there might not be anything available when I get to a hotel. For sits, I stay in urban areas, so I can usually check on food delivery apps before I get there, to suss out the food situation.

I would love to arrive to an empty refrigerator and freezer. Our problem is that we are left with very little space and then have to go to the grocery store more often than we wants due to the lack of space. I appreciate it when they say eat whatever we want. But honestly, I prefer to eat our own food


As a HO, I always ask if I can get them a few things for the first day or so. Some sitters have supplied comprehensive lists (specific types of bacon, cheese and biscuits) others have said they would sort themselves out. I always leave staples that will not spoil (UHT milk, sugar, flour, pasta, rice, coffee, tea), plus all the condiments that we have in the house anyway. I usually leave home made baked goods and various meals in that I have made in the freezer that they can take or leave. So no obligation, but things if you need them.


That is weird.


I think I recall a HO say that they received a pre-sit checklist from THS advising them to clear out the fridge for the sitters arrival. Maybe some take that very literally.

We are often asked by the HO if they can stock some basics in for us but for new sits I find that a bit awkward as I never know if the expectation is for us to reimburse them or if it is gratis so always say no thank you as we travel by car anyway and always have some basics with us until we shop.

Again I think it speaks to the mindset of the HO that asks or just leaves something rather than arriving to nothing at all. If we feel like we are being welcomed as treasured guests then that sets the tone for the sit. So far we have been (in spades) and that is why we are loving this lifestyle.

If you expect something you should talk about it beforehand.
I have read about sitters who don’t want anything, who are allergic, who don’t eat this or that. How is the HO supposed to know what exactly he should leave?
Maybe the HO doesn’t drink coffee. Should he get some just to find out that the sitter also doesn’t and throw it away?
In our house we have plenty of dry goods, coffee, tee, milk etc, which the sitters can use, but I don’t purchase anything which I wouldn’t be able to use when we get back.
I usually just ask them if I can get anything that they don’t need to go shopping before settling in.

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Perhaps you meant to reply to someone else? I only mentioned condiments. Salt and pepper, cooking oil. I prefer to provide my own food.

We’re one of those HOs that doesn’t leave alot of food in the frig as our trips are typically 3 to 4 weeks & we eat alot of fresh, homemade food. That said, we always have staples in pantry & condiments/butter, etc in frig which sitters are welcome to.

However, given an isolated location the HO should have made sure she took you to the store or got a list of basics the HO could provide for you before arrival