For many of us pet owners, our pets are like members of the family so it follows that we may feel a little apprehensive about leaving them in the care of total stranger. But, those nerves can easily be calmed if you ask a potential pet sitter the right set of questions.
Take a look at our top 10 questions that you should ask when you meet a potential pet sitter.
1. What experience do you have?
The very first thing you need to find out is what experience they have with cats and dogs. It’s all very well finding an animal lover with all sorts of qualifications in animal care but if they’ve never owned or looked after a dog or cat then they may not be the right person for the job. They don’t necessarily need a long list of former clients, there are plenty of great pet sitters who’ve only been doing it for a year or two, but find out what level of experience you feel comfortable with before you hire them.
2. Can you provide references?
Find out about reviews and referrals from other pet owners who’ve used the pet sitter in the past. Look out for owners of pets similar to yours, a pet sitter could be great with Siamese cats but that won’t necessarily reassure you that they’ll know how to handle your Great Dane.
3. What do you enjoy about being a pet sitter?
The best pet sitters are the ones who are crazy about cats and dogs. Rather than asking if they enjoy what they do (to which anyone with any idea about interviews will say, “Yes, very much”!) ask what they love most about their job. Their answer is likely to reveal just how much they care about pets which in turn will be hugely reassuring for you.
4. Will you meet my dog first?
Your dog should have a say too! Ask the sitter if they intend to meet your dog first and if they say that there’s no need, reconsider your options. A responsible pet sitter should want to meet you pet before they look after them. It’s also great to make sure your pet appears happy and relaxed in the company of any potential pet sitters.
5. What is included in your service?
It’s important to find out in advance what you can expect from your sitter. If you want a pet sitter while you’re away on holiday, ask how many hours they’ll spend with your pet. If you want a dog walker, find out how long the walks will be and where they’ll go. Outlining what you want is vital to ensure your expectations are met. You may have to pay extra for additional services so check what your money covers too.
6. What will you do if there’s an emergency?
The chances are slim of an emergency occurring while your pet is in the care of a sitter but you can’t rule out the possibility of it happening. Ask the pet sitter what they would do if your pet became ill, swallowed something harmful or went missing while under their care. A good pet sitter should have a contingency plan for every scenario.
7. Will you send me updates?
Leaving your dog in the care of someone else can be worrying, but regular pictures or updates can be great for putting your mind at rest. Ask your pet sitter what they usually do for their clients and if you can expect updates from them.
8. Will my pet be around other pets?
This is especially relevant for dog owners. If your pup isn’t great with other dogs or cats and the pet sitter has other pets at the same time as yours, it’s good to have the info ahead of time. Or, your dog may adore company and you’d rather find a sitter who has other pets. Either way, be sure to ask any potential pet sitters this important question.
9. How much do you charge?
Seems obvious but you’d be surprised how easy it is to forget this all important question when you’re in the midst of dog chat!
10. What do you need from me?
By the end of your meeting, the pet sitter should have asked lots of questions about you and your dog, this is a good sign! Encourage any potential sitters to ask you questions and find out what info they’d want from you before coming to an agreement.