There are many reasons why dog owners hire dog sitters. Often times it involves travel, but it can also be a solution to busy schedules, injuries, or  events that aren’t a good fit for our furry friends. If you think you might need a dog sitter to help keep your companion safe and cared for, it’s a good idea to start thinking about your expectations and the needs of your dog before you begin your search.

Finding the right fit for you and your companion can help take away the stress of leaving your dog in the care of another person. Some dog owners prefer to have a meet-and-greet introduction to observe how the dog sitter interacts with their pup. This can create a comfortable setting to ask questions and gather helpful information. Regardless if you speak to them in person, virtual, or via a phone call, there are a few important questions to consider before hiring a dog sitter. 

Dog Sitting Business or Independent Sitter?

The first step in your search to find a dog sitter that fits your needs is deciding if you’d rather use a larger business with several dog sitters or prefer to work with an independent person. You may want to ask other dog-owning friends about their experiences or if they have any recommendations. Local vets and groomers are also good sources for suggestions. 

Dog sitting businesses may offer more availability or services, but you might not be guaranteed a certain person is consistently caring for your dog. Independent sitters might offer more one-on-one time with your dog, but may not always be available when your schedule requires it. There is no right or wrong choice, so spend some time thinking about which options best matches your needs.

Their Place or Yours?

Taking your dog to a new place or home can be a great way to provide socialization and explore new places. Consider asking about how many and what kinds of pets will be staying together. If your dog does well with small dogs, but not large dogs, it’s important to evaluate how it may impact your dog’s behavior and possibly anxiety. 

Some dog owners prefer to hire a sitter that can come to their home so their dog has all their familiar surroundings while their owners are away. This can be a solution for dogs that are easily stressed by changes, have difficulties meeting new dogs, or develop feeding challenges when they are not at home. (Keep in mind, if you are looking for a house sitter as well, you might need to expand your search…and your budget.)

Qualifications & Experience

There are many different professional organizations as well as certifications and qualifications that a dog sitter might have, so it’s worth doing some research if this is important to you. Consider asking for client referrals or discussing how much experience the dog sitter might have with certain breeds. If they are sitting several dogs at once, you might want to ask about how they would handle an emergency situation or aggressive behavior.  

Specific Expectations & Questions

Before talking with a potential dog sitter, think about what expectations you have. Will you need a dog sitter that can care for your canine overnight? If so, will they sleep in a crate or with other dogs? Are vaccinations required? Would you prefer a pet sitter that can take your dog for a walk or a dog park for exercise? Consider questions about feeding times and if your dog requires medications. How will the dog sitter communicate with you if there are concerns? You will likely have questions that are specific to your furry friend as well. 

If you choose a business or independent dog sitter that requires your pup to be crate trained, you can read more about successful steps to crate training to help guide you and teach your dog this behavior.


Once you have a good idea of what services and expectations you are looking for in a dog sitter, start researching prices in your area. Prices for dog sitters vary quite a bit by location and by what kind of care they are providing. Have a general idea of how often you will need a dog sitter and how much you are willing to budget for this service.

Spending the extra time to ask questions important to you and your dog will help you find the best fit for the care you need when trusting your companion with a dog sitter.