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11 Questions to Ask a Dog Sitter: Find the Perfect Fit

Written by: Lorre Luther

Last Updated on May 9, 2024 by Dogster Team

Professional dog walker or pet sitter walking

11 Questions to Ask a Dog Sitter: Find the Perfect Fit

Although it would be wonderful if you could take your dog with you everywhere, unfortunately, there are times when it’s simply not feasible to do so, which is where dog sitters can be useful. When it comes to finding great dog sitters, personal recommendations can provide a starting point. Consider asking friends, family members, neighbors, and your veterinarian if they have any suggestions, and plan to interview several potential candidates during your search.

Make sure to start asking around and interviewing sitters well before you plan to need their services to ensure you have sufficient time to find someone who is the right match for your dog. Keep reading for 11 questions to consider asking dog sitters during your get-to-know-you conversations with them.

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The 11 Questions to Ask a Dog Sitter

1. What Type of Experience Do You Have Watching Pets?

There are fantastic pet sitters available with different levels of experience, but if you have a high-needs dog, you may want to work with someone who has been around the block a few times just to make sure they’re comfortable dealing with challenging situations.

Finding a sitter who has been working with pets for several years may not be quite as important if your dog is easy to manage and doesn’t have any health or behavioral conditions that could cause issues while you’re gone.

Image Credit: Dora-Zett, Shutterstock

2. Do You Have Any Pet First Aid Certifications?

Some pet sitters have pet first aid and CPR training and certifications, which you may find important depending on your dog’s health, temperament, and needs. A few organizations, including the Red Cross, offer training in pet first aid.

If you’re going on vacation, make sure to dog-proof your home before you plan to leave to make it a bit harder for your companion to get into mischief or accidentally hurt themselves while you’re gone.


3. Can You Provide References?

There are several ways to gauge whether others have had good experiences with particular pet sitters, including reading reviews if you’re considering working with someone you found online. Most sitters are happy to provide references you can contact if you’re interested in speaking with someone the individual or company you’re thinking about hiring has worked with before.

pet sitter feeding a brown poodle
Image Credit: AnnaStills, Shutterstock

4. Do You Feel Comfortable Caring for My Companion?

It’s important to communicate any special medical or behavioral needs your dog may have upfront when speaking with potential sitters to ensure they have a good idea of what caring for your pet entails. Write anything important down so you can remember to mention the details during your conversations.

During your initial conversations with potential sitters, mention your dog’s health conditions and whether they need medication or dietary restrictions. Be sure to leave clear instructions so the sitter you end up working with knows how to deal with anything your dog needs, like medication or special food.


5. What Services Do You Offer?

Spend some time thinking about your dog’s needs before reaching out to speak with sitters. Knowing precisely which services you’re interested in can make it easier to communicate what you’re interested in.

Make sure you’re clear about whether you want the person to stay at your home for an extended period or to come by multiple times per day to give your companion some love, food, attention, and exercise.

Image Credit: Kzenon, Shutterstock

6. How Much Do You Charge?

Be upfront about which services you’re signing up for and how much everything will cost. While the price is far from the most important factor to consider when selecting a sitter, no one likes hidden charges. Ask questions if you need to so that you have a good idea of what (if anything) you may be expected to pay extra for.


7. Can You Send Updates?

Being away from a beloved companion can be stressful for many people. Getting regular updates letting you know that everything is well at home can make being away from your pup just a bit easier.

Pet sitters are usually more than happy to send daily updates with photos via email or text. You may be able to find someone who can place a video call so you get to say hi and give your dog some virtual love while you’re on the road.

woman using smartphone with her dog on the background
Image Credit: Monkey Business Images, Shutterstock

8. Can You Take Care of My Dog for a Few Extra Days if Needed?

While most travel plans go smoothly, it’s important to ensure you have a backup plan in place in case something changes or you get delayed and can’t return home promptly. Determining whether the sitter you plan to hire can take care of your dog for a few extra days is vital.


9. Do You Feel Comfortable Caring for My Dog if There’s an Emergency?

It’s crucial to be comfortable with your pet sitter’s ability to care for your dog in the event of an emergency. Discuss any medical or behavior conditions that could crop up while you’re gone, and make sure the sitter understands your companion’s needs and can meet them.

Write down important details, such as the name of your dog’s veterinarian and their contact information, and ensure anyone you hire has access to it.

vet checking up a senior dog
Image Credit: SeventyFour, Shutterstock

10. How Do You Handle Leash Pulling and Other Challenging Behaviors?

It’s essential to find a pet sitter who is on the same page as you regarding handling your dog. To get an idea of how they interact with dogs, you can ask the sitter how they typically deal with challenging behavior, such as leash pulling.

Schedule a meet-and-greet during which your dog and the sitter can spend some time together, and you can get a feel for your dog’s comfort level around the individual.


11. Do You Have a Backup Plan?

While it would be wonderful if life always ran smoothly, sometimes things come up that can throw kinks in even the best-laid plans. Consider asking the sitter if they have a backup plan in place so your dog receives care if something goes wrong and they can’t stop by.

You can also ask a neighbor to keep an eye on things while you’re gone, reach out to you if there are any problems, and be a resource for your pet sitter if something goes awry.

person talking to neighbor over the fence
Image Credit: BearFotos, Shutterstock

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Conclusion

Asking friends and family for recommendations is a great way to find pet sitters; your veterinarian can also provide fantastic suggestions. Once you have a list of potential sitters, it’s time to reach out and ask several questions to get an idea of whether you’ve found a match.

If your dog has special medical or behavioral needs, be sure to explain them to the sitter during your initial conversations to ensure they have a clear idea of what caring for your dog will require. Give yourself plenty of time to find the right sitter to ensure you’re comfortable with your choice.


Featured Image Credit: SB-Arts-Media, Shutterstock

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