House-sits are a great way to visit locations and live like a local on short change. There are literally house-sits all over the globe and you could actually travel around the world on house-sits alone. Not all, but many house-sits involve a pet sit. Pet owners need someone to feed, walk and care for their most loved furry, finned, feathered our scaled friends while they are away for extended amounts of time. I would say that 3/4 of the house-sits that we have completed have been pet sits, dogs, cats and fish, so I thought that I would share some good questions to ask pet owners to make your first pet sit a successful and rewarding one.
- Food – How much, how often? Is there anything you should absolutely not give them? If there are more than one pet, can they eat together? Is there a specific place in the house where they eat? Are they territorial about their food? Some animals can be aggressive when they are eating.
- Snacks – How many, how often? Are you free to give the pet a snack at will , or does the owner reserve snacks for special occasions, like after a walk? Cat nip?
- Water – Usually you will want to keep the water bowel full at all times. You try walking around in a fur coat all day, you’d be thirsty too. Just clarify with the owner, just to make sure.
- Physical Activity – Probably the main job of a pet sitter is taking dogs for walks. Again, How many, how far? Are you a runner? Then you may have a niche market. Some dog owners regularly run with their dogs and would like to keep their dog’s mileage up while they are away. Just be clear how far and how fast you should run? Note, I’ve yet to hear of any owner that runs their cat, but you never know.
- Veterinary Services – Where should you take the pet in case of an emergency? Does the pet have any upcoming vet appointments you will need to take them to? How should you travel to the vet, on leash, in a kennel? Depending on your arrangement with the owner, you will want to make sure they have a credit card on file to cover any charges for vet visits. Put the Vet’s phone number on the refrigerator to easily find it.
- Medications – Many pets have monthly medications they take to keep them healthy, like flea prevention or heart worm pills. Make sure you know how often to give the pet their meds and if it is an extended pet sit, you should mark on a calendar the date of each administration. It’s easy to forget when you last gave a pet a pill after a few weeks go by.
- Procedure for leaving the house? Can the dogs and cats stay in the house? Should you keep them in a particular room or are they free to roam? Are they allowed to be on the furniture? Do they run out the front door?
Asking these questions will help ensure you meet the needs of the pet and the expectations of the pet owner. Email the list of question to the owner ahead of your house sit and review their answers before you get to the house, that way you can ask any follow up questions in person. I hope you found this article helpful. Please comment below with your pet sitting experiences or questions.Share This: