8 Questions You Need to Ask Before Taking a Pet Sitting Job

October 30, 2016

We all know that pet owners are very selective about who they leave their pets with. They won’t just leave their furry family member with just anyone. When hiring a sitter for their pets, owners want to get to know the person who will be looking after their pet for the evening, overnight or for an extended period of time while they are away. They often have questions about your experience with pets and other care-related questions to not only see if you are qualified but also to see if you are a good match.

The same should also go for pet sitters when looking for a pet sitting job. You should have a number of questions to ask pet owners about their pets before accepting a position. No two pets are the same, and you need to know what you are getting yourself into.

This is why it’s important to cover basic and more specific questions about the pet you will be watching. This information will also be able to help you determine your fees.

Must Ask Questions Before Accepting a Pet Sitting Job

As a pet sitter, it’s your job to provide the best care possible for the pets you are responsible for. To do this, you need to know as much as possible about the animals you are watching. Here are some questions to ask pet owners before agreeing to take a pet sitting gig.

1. How many and what type of pets will I be taking care of?

It is very important for pet sitters to know the pets they will be looking after beforehand. Some pet sitters have allergies to cats and others don’t particularly like reptiles. As well, pet sitters who look after more than one pet should charge a higher salary. Here is a list of the types of pets most in demand to be looked after:

  • Dog (9%)
  • Cat (7%)
  • Fish (2%)
  • Small Mammals (2%)
  • Birds (1%)
  • Lizards/reptiles (1%)
2. Will I be expected to provide extra services?

Some households expect pet sitters to perform certain tasks while they are away. Again, a pet sitter’s salary should reflect the types of service provided, especially for more challenging tasks. For example, petsitters who pet groom usually charge 9% more than those who don’t.

Here is a list of some common requirements:

  • Pet Feeding (43%)
  • Dog Walking (34%)
  • Overnight Care (34%)
  • Boarding (17%)
  • Pet Grooming (5%)
  • Training (4%)
  • Behavioral Training (3%)
3. How do you deal with bad behavior?

All pet owners have their own ways of dealing with bad behaviors. Ask your client what they usually do when their pet misbehaves. What expectations do they have for you? Are there certain commands or words you should use? Is the pet supposed to be relegated to a specific area of the house? Be clear about how you are supposed to deal with poor behavior.

4. How do you reward good behavior?

Similar to dealing with bad behaviors, all pet owners have a certain way of rewarding their pets for good behavior. For some, it’s as simple as giving them a treat. For others, it’s a specific treat, or it may be some extra affection. There may also be certain words or commands that are used to reinforce positive behaviors.

5. Is your pet allergic to anything?

This is extremely important information to be aware of. Just like when babysitting children, as a pet sitter, you need to be aware of anything that could cause an allergic reaction. Is the pet allergic to certain foods? Are there certain foods or treats that cause stomach issues? What about plants or other things around the house? Are there things that could make them sick? Knowing this information is very important.

Similarly, it’s important to have specific information about administering medicine to pets. Know when, how much, and how often.

6. Is there anything I need to keep an eye out for?

A pet’s behavior changes over time. This is why it’s a good idea to ask about anything you should keep an eye out for. Is there anything the pet is extra interested in lately? Is there a specific area of the yard they frequent? Has your pet been trying to get out when the door opens? Is there anything else you need to pay more attention to?

7. What should you do in case of a medical emergency?

Being prepared to deal with a pet emergency is very important. How you will react will be based on the pet owner’s instructions. If they are only out for the night or are in town, a call to them will often be all that is required. However, if you are watching the pet for an extended period of time and the owner is out of town, it’s important to have vet information, who you should call if they have pet insurance and other instructions.

8. What are your pet’s triggers? What are they scared of? What will they react to?

All pets have unique triggers or certain things that set them off. They may be scared of the vacuum cleaner, thunderstorms, or even something kooky like shoes or a household plant. The key is to know what these triggers are and how to deal with them.

9. Can the pet be left alone? For how long?

Some pets can be left alone and others can’t. If you do leave them alone, some can be left alone for hours, while others can only be left for very short periods of time. Know the rules for leaving pets alone so you don’t disrupt their normal schedule and behaviors.

10. Does your pet have any quirks I need to be aware of?

Pets have quirks. Some dogs are terrible with walks, while some cats have a witching hour where they go squirrely. Whatever the quirk is, you need to know about it – so you can deal with it and so it doesn’t catch you off guard when it happens.


Knowing as much information as possible about a pet is important. You need to know what you can expect so you can provide the best care possible.

If you are looking to expand your pet sitting business and are looking for pet sitting jobs in your area, try Petsitter.com.

Start by posting a free pet sitter profile and look for open pet sitter positions in your area all from the same place. What are you waiting for?

Find Great Pet Sitting Jobs Today with PetSitter.com!

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