How to Be a Good Pet Sitter

Three Parts:Preparing for a Pet Sitting JobMeeting with the Pet OwnerCaring for the Pet

Pet-sitting can be a very rewarding and profitable way to earn your income. You will be responsible for caring for the pet while the owner is away, either for the day or for longer periods of time. As a pet sitter, you will play with the pet, feed them, brush them, and give them any medications or injections they might need. The pet’s owner should feel they are leaving their pet in good hands with you.

Part 1
Preparing for a Pet Sitting Job

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    Make sure the position is right for you. Being a pet sitter is a rewarding but challenging experience. Before taking on a job, make sure you have the qualifications necessary to excel.
    • A love of animals is perhaps the most important qualification a pet sitter can have. As you'll be spending the bulk of your time with your client's animals, make sure you genuinely enjoy animal company.[1]
    • Low stress is another desirable quality in a pet sitter. Your schedule will likely be subject to change as it depends heavily on the schedules of your clients. You need to be the type that's flexible and calm regarding sudden changes.[2]
    • Self motivation and organization are also desirable qualities for pet sitters. You'll need to manage your schedule around multiple clients and track the needs of a variety of cats, dogs, and other pets.[3]
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    Get liability insurance. Professional pet sitters usually have commercial liability insurance to cover any accidents or incidents while they pet sit. If you're looking into longterm pet sitting, liability insurance might be a good investment.
    • Pet sitting insurance will cover you in the event of any damage caused to the client’s home, such as accidentally knocking over an expensive vase or breaking a window. It will also cover you if you lose grip of the dog’s lead and he attacks another dog or person.[4]
    • In the United States, membership fees vary from company to company. Websites like and will help you compare rates and find the coverage that's right for you.[5]
    • If you're working through a pet sitting company, it's doubtful you'll need to take out insurance on your own. Most companies have policies in place that protect their employees. Check with the company you work for and ask questions about insurance and your personal coverage.
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    Consider pet sitting training. While a certification is not a requirement to be a pet sitter, having some professional training on your resume can impress present and future clients. It can also open up additional opportunities for you down the road.
    • A certification of training lets clients know you're serious about your job and dedicated to providing the best care possible. If you ever want to work with a pet sitting agency, having some form of professional training is a great resume booster.[6]
    • A variety of organizations provide training programs for pet sitters. The National Assembly of Professional Pet Sitters and Pet Sitters International provide general training for pet sitting.[7]
    • The International Boarding and Pet Services Association provides training if you're looking into boarding dogs at your own kennel facility for extended periods. This can get pricey, however, as you're required to pass master exam to get certified. The exam can cost upwards of $125.[8]

Part 2
Meeting with the Pet Owner

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    Provide references for past pet sitter jobs. Provide phone numbers and contact information for owners you have pet sit for in the past. This will show the owner you have experience as a pet sitter and are confident in your ability to take care of someone else’s pet.
    • Always ask permission before sharing someone's contact information. Make sure past clients agree to sever as your reference and get their preferred phone number and email.
    • If possible, choose people you have worked with for a long time. For most jobs, a reference should ideally be someone you've known for a year to a year and a half.
    • If you're new to the field and have never pet sat before, you can use past employers or friends whose animals you watched while they were on vacation.
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    Discuss expectations and needs. The pet's owner will have a variety of expectations of you, the pet sitter, based around their pet's specific needs. Make sure all expectations are clearly stated and understood.
    • Knowing the basics is important. Know where the pet's food is kept, how much they need each day, when and where to feed them, and any medications they're taking.[9]
    • Time commitment is another expectation that should be understood right away. For some jobs, you'll be required to stay in the owner's home. For others, you might only need to check in daily or every other day.[10]
    • Ask questions. It's your job as a good pet sitter to make sure all bases are covered, so have a running list of questions to ask pet owners. How old is the pet? What is their medical history? Do they do well with children? Other animals? How often should the dog be taken out? How often should a cat's litter box be changed? These are questions that should be addressed before the pet sitting job begins.[11]
    • Check with the owner about how often they give the pet treats or rewards, based on the pet’s behavior. The owner may have certain discipline methods for the pet that they will expect you to follow, like withholding treats for bad behavior or acknowledging good behavior with a special treat.
    • Ask the owner about the pet’s likes and dislikes. These details will prepare you for any possible triggers for the pet and prevent any issues from happening to the pet while she is in your care.[12]
  3. Image titled Ask Your Crush for Their Cell Phone Number Step 8
    Get all necessary contact information. Certain information is important in the event of an emergency or medical issue.
    • Most owners will readily provide contact information for their veterinarian. Make sure you know where this information is written down. It might be a safe bet to enter contact information into your phone or have an electronic copy in your email in the event paper copies gets lost.[13]
    • In addition to the owner's contact information, ask for the phone number of a friend or family member close by. This way, in the event you can't contact the owner, you have a second person to contact in case of emergency.[14]
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    Determine pay. If you're pet sitting for a friend or family member, pay may not be an issue. However, if this is a more professional endeavor you can expect to be paid and should determine the amount before the job begins.
    • Research fees to see what is reasonable. is a great resource to research rates and fees associated with pet sitting in your area.[15]
    • The national average wage for pet sitters is $16/hour. So if you are working eight hours a day, at $16/hour, you can make $128/day.[16] The owner may pay you a weekly wage. The average is around $600/week.[17] You may also receive extra money for extra services, like house cleaning and maintenance, or payment in the form of free food and lodgings.
    • Rates also go up depending on the number of pets you're caring for and your level of experience. The owner might want to negotiate fees. Make sure you are courteous during this process. You don't want to lose a client by being argumentative.
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    Meet the pet beforehand. If possible, schedule a practice visit. This way, the pet is familiar with you beforehand and you'll know where to find food, water, treats, and toys.
    • Even if you already know the pet, a practice visit isn't a bad idea. There may be information about the pet that's never come up in casual conversation that you need to know as a pet sitter.[18]
    • The owner will also want to make sure the pet is comfortable with you. If there are any issues with aggression or timidness in your presence, they may want to select an alternative pet sitter. Do not take this personally. Sometimes a pet and person simply clash. Rescue pets often have negative associations that the owners do not fully understand, and you may inadvertently trigger a bad reaction.[19]

Part 3
Caring for the Pet

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    Follow the schedule the owner provided. The owner likely left you both written and verbal instructions for pet care and upkeep.
    • Feed the pet at the right time and give them the right amount of food. Cat owners sometimes let their cats have open access to dry food throughout the day. If this is the case, make sure to fill food bowls when they're running low and make sure clean water is provided.
    • Give the pet any medications she needs. Pets who are on medications usually need to stick to a regular schedule and dosage. Follow the owner’s instructions on how to give the pet her medication and don’t forget or neglect the pet’s medication.
    • Clean litter boxes regularly and let dog's out as many times a day as the owner recommends.
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    Do some work in addition to pet sitting. If you want to stand out from other pet sitters, doing some extra tasks for the owner can be a great way to show your added dedication.
    • Do some basic upkeep for the pet owner’s home, if you are pet sitting at their home. Water the plants. Collect the mail. Keep the home clean.
    • While doing dishes might seem like a great way to earn favor, be careful. People often have specific organizational structures for their kitchens and might feel peeved if you mess with their system. If you do dishes, wash them, leave them out to dry, but refrain from putting them away.
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    Give the pet extra attention. A big part of your role as a pet sitter is to keep the pet safe and comfortable while her owner is away. The pet is likely nervous without their owner present so show them affection and attention on a daily basis. [20]
    • If the pet has a favorite toy, play with them often. It's best to play with the pet until the appear to run out of energy and lose interest in the game. This way, they'll be tired when you leave and more likely to sleep and relax until you return.
    • After you fulfill duties like cleaning and feeding, sit with the pet and show them affection via stroking, cuddling, and talking. Pets, cats and dogs especially, are very social and crave human interaction when their owners are missing.
    • Be careful about bringing in outside food and treats. The owner might have the pet on a specific diet and you don't want to disrupt that while away. Never give a pet table scraps without the owner's consent.

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Categories: Pets and Animals