I thought I'd share with you questions a potential client asked me recently. I didn't end up pet sitting for them because I was already booked, but I thought they asked some good interview questions. As a long-time pet sitter I think these questions will definitely help you learn about any potential sitter and discover how much experience they have and what they would do in tough situations.
My answers are below:
1. What is your past experience with dogs?
I have been caring for dogs and cats for over 15 years.
2. Do you have any allergies?
I have no allergies.
3. Have you owned dogs in the past?
Yes, I had a Miniature Pinscher named Jiminey Cricket for nearly 10 years. He passed away in 2013. He was the love of my life. Shortly before that my cat Joyce passed away – she lived to be 21 years old!
4. Did you grow up with dogs?
Yes, we had two Norwegian Elkhounds when I was growing up.
5. Have you dog sat before?
I have pet sat for decades.
6. How much time have you spent around dogs in general?
I spent ten years around my dog, every day. Now it is less often, but typically I spend at least 50% of the year around animals/dogs (pet sitting overnight).
7. Do you know dog CPR?
I took a class many years ago however, in 15+ years of dog care I have never had to use it.
8. Do you know when a dog needs to go to the vet?
Yes, if the dogs is acting strangely or seems to be extremely uncomfortable or in pain.
9. What if you can’t reach me and my dog is very sick, what would you do?
Since I have each client fill out forms initially, I would refer to your form and contact the emergency contact you indicated. I would take your dog to the vet you indicated on your form or I’d take to an emergency vet if it was after hours.
10. Do you know the symptoms of an ear infection?
Yes, the dog shakes its head and scratches at its ear a lot. Also, the ear may produce more wax and have a strong odor.
11. What would you do if my dog pukes on the floor?
I would clean it up and monitor the dog closely to be sure there isn’t some major sickness going on.
12. What would you do if my dog is limping?
I would monitor the dog. I’d also check paws for cuts or stickers. I would also massage the legs/hips because sometimes older dogs are just stiff and need some time to loosen up.
13. What would you do if my dog starts scratching and creates a hot spot?
I would clean the area on the dog. Sometimes allergy pills help, so if you have allergy pills for your dog, I would administer that. I would monitor the dog or try to distract with petting or affection.
14. Do you work? If so, do you work from home? Do you go into an office? What is your work week like?
Yes, I work from home everyday. I occasionally work from the library or coffee shops. For this purpose, it is essential that you have wifi.
15. Do you go out a lot or are you a homebody?
I am a homebody. Some months or weeks I have spells where I go out a lot, but in general I stay home most of the time. I am also an introvert, so I don’t often desire being around people a lot. I prefer pets!
16. Do you have any obligations at your own home (kids, other pets, etc) that you would need to tend to while I’m out of town?
No I don’t have daily obligations to tend to except for work. I will sometimes have other pet sitting visits to do. I also do some volunteer work a few times per month.
17. What do you need to be able to do your work from my home? (Internet? TV? Fax?)
Reliable wifi is a must. I don’t need TV or any other electronics.
18. Are you okay with picking up and dealing with dog poop?
Yes, I have picked up poop for years and I am used to it.
19. What would you do if my dog got out or away from you and got lost?
I would make rounds in the neighborhood and call for the dog on foot and in the car. If your dog got lost I’d post flyers in the neighborhood. I’d post in Nextdoor, Craigslist,etc. I’d call animal control and local vets in the area.
20. Can you say “no” to a dog?
Yes I can. It is for their benefit.
21. Do you travel over the holidays? If so how long are you gone?
No I don’t travel over the holidays. I prefer traveling when there are less crowds!
22. Do you pay attention to the animals around you? Would you notice if someone was limping or didn’t feel well?
Yes I am very aware of animal wellness. Animals are my first priority when I am working with them.
23. Can you break up a squabble between dog siblings? Can you see the squabble coming and nip it in the bud?
Yes, I can tell when animals are getting testy or aggravated. I will usually separate animals, especially during feeding times when animals are most prone to arguments.
24. Do you know how to give a dog a treat so they don’t nip your fingers?
Yes, I will usually put the treat in the palm of my hand and open my hand flat.
25. Would you ever walk a dog without a leash?
I would never walk a dog without a leash unless it was on private property. Dogs not on leash present so much liability for everyone including other people and pets. Not using a leash is a very unpredictable and potentially catastrophic situation. The dog can get lost or injured or encounter other wildlife or aggressive dogs.
26. Do you like to have friends over?
Believe it or not, no I don’t. I rarely have ever had friends over at home. Yes, it is true.
27. Do you like to give lots of treats?
No, I don’t like to give dogs a lot of treats – can be bad for their health/diet.
28. Would you ever leave a dog in a car for a few minutes while you run into a store?
Yes I would if it was in the winter months. Never in the warmer months or midday.
29. Do you know how to give a dog medication?
Yes I do. Some dogs are easy, some require more creativity (cheese, hotdog, pill pocket, sauce, etc)!
30. How much do you charge?
My nightly rate is $60 for overnights for up to two pets. You can check out my rates page.