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Hints from Heloise: Make sure a pet sitter has written instructions

Amy Haycox of Fort Wayne, Ind., sent in this photo of her two big yellow Labrador retrievers sitting on a dock.
Amy Haycox of Fort Wayne, Ind., sent in this photo of her two big yellow Labrador retrievers sitting on a dock.
King Features Syndicate

Dear Readers: If you travel and use pet sitters while you're gone, you need written instructions, including detailed care, feeding schedule, treat amounts, whether your pet likes to be held, petted, walked, etc. Emergency veterinarian phone numbers, addresses and directions to the clinic are a must! For your pet to be treated, contact the vet before you leave OR sign a release to give your permission for the pet sitter to handle medical care while you're gone.

You should first have a meet and greet! Let your pet(s) meet the sitter and vice versa to see if they get along. Watch your pet's body language. If your dog is cowering or your cat is hiding under the bed and won't come out, then perhaps another sitter is best for the well-being of all. Asking for references is vital!

Since many pets stress out when their owners are gone, keeping the daily routine as normal as possible is important.

— Heloise

Dear Readers: Amy Haycox of Fort Wayne, Ind., sent a photo of her two big yellow Labrador retrievers sitting on a dock at the lake looking happy as can be. Amy says: "Both the dogs are 10 years old. They are named Zoey Jeanne the Biscuit Queen and Gypsy Doodle Dandy."

— Heloise

Dear Heloise: I have three little dogs, and they will only eat dry dog food that I have to make a special trip to get. I buy the largest bag available, and it was hard to open and close. So, I bought a large plastic trash can with a swinging lid, and pour the food into it and place a plastic cup on the top. Now when I need to fill their dish, it is easy to do.

— Wally S., Charlotte, N.C.

Dear Heloise: We have six cats of various ages, and I was having litter-box problems. They always went over the box, which was very frustrating and messy. I got rid of the boxes and just put cat litter in a child's small plastic swimming pool. No more messes, the cats love it, and it's easy to scoop out the clumps and change when needed!

I use one of the hard-sided small pools — the clumps don't stick to the plastic. I even bought an extra one so I can use one and clean the other when it needs scrubbing.

— Sue, via e-mail

Dear Heloise: I have several little Chihuahuas that play with lots of toys, which would always be scattered all over the house. I bought a pretty plastic basket (at a store that sells stuff for a dollar) and put all of their stuff in it. It is in the spare bedroom, and they know where to go if they want a toy! Now everyone is happy!

— K. Bowles, Texas

© King Features Syndicate Inc.