5 Questions Dog Sitters Should Ask Before Pet Parents Leave

Posted by Tiffany Brenner

Just like parents with human children, pet parents usually ask plenty of questions before they decide who they will trust their dogs with. In turn, dog sitters should make sure they're well prepared for their mission before they begin.


With that in mind, consider this list of five solid questions to ask before dog sitting. Not only will they better prepare you to take good care of your charges, asking the right questions will help build trust with the family. You can demonstrate your commitment to your client's furry family members before you even begin your job.

1. How many pets are there?

Sure, they hired a dog sitter for their two dalmatians. When you get there, you find out you also need to feed the hamster and keep an eye on one extremely independent Maine Coon cat. While you may or may not mind, you shouldn't get surprised by a zoo, plus, you should charge accordingly. 

2. What expectations do your clients have?

You can't know if you and your client have similar expectations unless you ask. While many pet parents reasonably hire you to mostly keep Fluffy fed and able to answer nature's call while they're gone, others might expect more.

According to, most clients have pretty similar requirements. Typically, they want their pets fed and walked and some need overnight care. Still, a few expect pet sitters to also supply training and grooming.

3. How do your clients expect you to deal with good or not-so-good behavior?

Parent parents -- and sometimes, even the dog -- might have set expectations for responding to either good or mischievous behavior. Find out about commands, treats, and other measures that the family uses for rewards and rebukes.

Also, be sure to find out if there's something to watch out for. Some examples could include:

  • Escape-artist dogs, who have bypassed gates or pushed open doors in the past
  • Anxious pets, who might react to certain triggers

4. Does the dog suffer from allergies or medical conditions?

Many dogs suffer from allergies or sensitivities that it's important to learn about in advance. In particular, senior dogs may have stiff joints that limit activities. In addition to feeding, make certain you get instructions for giving the dog any supplements or medicine they need to take on a schedule.

On this topic, always get a phone number to call in case of a medical emergency or other urgent problem.

5. How long can you leave the pet alone?

Especially for days-long dog sitting jobs, you'll want to know how long you can leave the house to shop or attend to other tasks. While most pets have grown accustomed to their families leaving to work or go to school, puppies, seniors, or anxious dogs may need more supervision. On that note, you might also ask if it's fine for you to invite visitors over.


Really, most pet parents have reasonable expectations. They just want to return home to find their dog happy and the house in somewhat the same condition they left it in. At the same time, some families get so used to dealing with their pet's quirks or behaviors that they don't remember to mention them. Answers to a few questions can reduce the chance of unpleasant surprises and keep dog sitters, clients, and pets satisfied with the experience.

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