Just because you're traveling doesn't mean your dog must leave home.

5 Tips to Prepare for a Dog Sitter
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Traveling can get complicated when you have a pet at home, but hiring a pet sitter can relieve separation anxiety for both you and your pup. Here are our top five tips to remember when preparing for a pet sitter.

Keep Them Comfortable

Going out of town can be stressful for you and your pet. Rather than boarding, consider hiring a sitter to stay overnight. This allows you to be more flexible with your coming and going times and can sometimes be more cost-effective. Best of all, your dog's schedule goes uninterrupted. Ask your vet or friends for referrals, or browse reputable sites such as Wag! and Rover for someone in your area.

Plan a Doggy Date in Advance

If it's the first time you're leaving your pup with a pet sitter, it's a great idea to have them meet the sitter before your trip. Get the pet sitter to take your dog on a walk or hang out for an afternoon. Your dog will recognize the sitter and feel safer with a person they're fond of in the house. When your dog is already familiar with the sitter, you'll have peace of mind on your trip that nothing will go awry, and your dog will be happy to have a friend staying over.

Prep for Their Needs

Leave food, leashes, bowls, and waste bags in a spot that the sitter can easily find with a detailed schedule of your dog's routine: Include instructions for medications, meals, and walks. The American Kennel Club recommends listing the phone number, address, and directions to your vet and also suggests leaving a credit card and an authorization letter so it can be used by the sitter for any possible pet emergency.

Let Them Know the Quirks

You can give your dog sitter the most precise list of food, exercise, sleep, and play instructions, but if you leave out that your dog is terrified of thunder, the pet sitter won't know what's going on when your pup goes haywire during an unexpected storm. Anyone who volunteers to dog sit knows that each pet has individual traits that aren't necessarily perfect. Whether your dog doesn't get along with other dogs well at the dog park, hates the mailman, or likes to watch cartoons in the morning, your pet sitter will be happy to care for your dog's unique quirks—but he or she needs to know about them beforehand in order to do so.

Don't Forget About the House

If the sitter is staying at your home, don't forget to leave notes and instructions about the house, too. Air conditioning and heating instructions or recommendations, which lights you leave on at night, alarm codes, neighbors' contact information, and trash schedules are all helpful information to offer. Don't forget to let them know if any rooms or pieces of furniture are off-limits for Fido, too.

WATCH: These Are Signs Your Dog Might Have Anxiety

Many dogs deal with anxiety, including separation anxiety. To find out if your dog is showing serious signs of anxiety, watch the video above, read our article that goes into depth on the signs here, and talk to your vet about symptoms you've noticed.