Housesitters and my food

What should I expect as an owner when it comes to petsitters and my food supplies? I discovered that the couple who took care of my dogs and cats recently ate different things from my fridge and cabinets and, in at least one case, left an empty jar hidden in the back of the refrigerator that I only discovered today. I must say they took very good care of my pets and that’s the priority, but I’m rather annoyed that they thought it was OK to eat foods that I had bought for myself. Am I being petty and how to avoid this in the future without seeming petty (this was the second time I used TrustedHousesitters)?


Clear communication. Write in your guide what is off limits and what isn’t and if you have any expectations ie replace what you use. I had a sitter at the family home a few years ago that had opened new jars by puncturing all the lids and then put them back half used in the fridge. By the time we realised it all had to be thrown out. Food waste is one of my big no-nos so I now have a pretty clear sentence or two about that in my guide and haven’t had that issue since (touch wood)

Yes, and so are they.


Every host is different. Some have invited me to eat everything and are insulted when I don’t. It just feels selfish to me to eat someone else’s food. Other hosts make it clear in some way that their food is off limits. I just had a lovely host who welcomed me to eat her food and just let her know if anything is used up so they will know and can replace it. Everyone is different.


Clear communication is important.

Any HO who complains about food being eaten would come across as petty and cheap to me and I would not sit for them. I do replace anything I finish.

Most HO in my experience have offered anything in their cupboards/fridge.


I can’t think of a single sit I’ve done where a host hasn’t told me to help myself to their food. Beer, wine and alcohol too. Some have even offered to buy me groceries.


Everyone I have sat for has said I’m totally welcome to anything I want in their fridge and pantry. Having said that, personally I always replace anything I might use. Please give some thought to the respective value of what they might have consumed vs. the benefit you received. Unless it was vintage wine or cavier, yes, I do think you are being petty. But if you don’t want future sitters using items from your kitchen, just be clear.


Yes, on several sits. In one case, it was indicated to me which bottles I could drink (very nice ones) and which ones they would like to keep (the really expensive ones I guess…).

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I’d find it presumptuous to eat HOs’ food without it being offered.

I’ve been offered food, but I usually just throw away what will expire before the HOs return. I rarely eat any of it. Even when they have on hand things I eat, I prefer to buy my own. Even when they ask what I like ahead of my sit, I’d rather shop for myself.


I’ve learnt that unless you have clear communications around food then misunderstandings can happen.
I’ve had HO’s upset because I’ve not eaten food they left for me in the fridge or freezer but had a HO that put post it notes in everything including salt and pepper saying ‘do not touch’.

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As others have said it is best to be clear ahead of time.
We only ever use HO’s condiments and things they have left in the fridge that will have gone bad before they return and they usually say to use them.
We have had home owners offer to buy some items for us before they leave and some who have asked dietary preferences and stocked us up for Christmas. Very appreciated but not expected.

Some people truly do not have any idea how to treat fellow humans. Shake my head.


Our policy is to use anything in the fridge or pantry (but not the freezer), and if you use something up, please let us know. I think it stands to reason that if a sitter uses some spices, oils, vinegars, or bulk items like rice, beans, lentils, sugar then it’s no big deal … if they use entire new packages or cans of something then sitters tend to replace that, which is welcome.


Thank you for your insights. Of course I have no problem with sitters using condiments and I did tell this couple that they could eat anything in the fridge that was fresh as well as things like coffee, tea and sugar, but I didn’t expect them to use some of the items they used (and nothing was replaced, nor was I told). I did take them shopping before I left, too. But of course it makes sense for me to clarify what is off limits and what isn’t and to ask that they tell me what’s been used up – I’ll add this info to my guide. Thank you again!


Did you communicate clearly what the sitters could and could not eat?
Did they ask what was on offer?

Communication is the key.

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@americlogs No, you are not being petty. Nor are you being cheap.

We are HOs and sitters, so here’s our take.

As HOs – we are clear in our welcome guide and in our public listing that sitters may use any condiments, spices, oils and vinegars, salt, pepper, flour, and sugar while they are there. We leave lots of room in the fridge and freezer for their food, and tell them this ahead of time so they know they are expected to acquire their own groceries.

We do treat them to dinner the night before our early morning departures AND we leave them items (eggs, bread, coffee, milk, fruit, etc.) for their first breakfast at our home so they can relax with the pets and not have to rush to the store.

Items that are off limits – we put these away and include a note asking that they are not used. So far, that system seems to be respected.

As sitters? Frankly, we have never been left food to eat. On one sit, we were treated to a delicious home-cooked meal the night before the HOs left in the early morning. But other than that? Nada, zip.

But we don’t mind this at all. One must remember that sitters get free accommodations and HOs get free pet/house sitting. That works for us!

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Thank you!

As sitters, we never use any food from cupboards, fridge etc, only condiments.
I think it’s just basic courtesy and common sense which unfortunately isn’t too common.
If the HO states we can use food which will go out of date, then that’s fine but other than that, we buy all our food/drink for the whole stay-everytime.

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@Hallt64 completely and absolutely agree with all you say, it’s just good manners, common sense and courtesy :raised_hands:

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In future simply tell sitters they can, or they cannot eat your food. It’s about communication. It’s amazing people need to be told this!

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