How To Get Started As A Pet Sitter

Debra Soth
June 7, 2021

Being a pet sitter sounds like a very easy and fun way to make some money on the side. If you are a passionate dog or cat lover and want to find a way to make some extra income, then keep reading!

Qualities

If you want to become a pet sitter, a love for animals, having fun with four-legged friends and a certain degree of enthusiasm is the basic requirement. The fear of four-legged friends, if they unexpectedly react differently, is not ideal. Moreover, you should possess qualities such as:

  • Responsibility and accountability
  • Having a pet is a huge responsibility, but taking care of someone else's pets is an even bigger task. Sometimes things can go wrong and you have to act quickly. When pet sitting for another person, being responsible, punctual, and cautious are some of the most important factors. The owner has to be able to count on and trust you.
  • Openness
  • Every relationship between pet and owner is different. In order to be a good pet sitter, you have to be open to individual preferences. Some dogs are used to sleeping in their owner's bed or some cats prefer to be walked. Be prepared for all sorts of requests, but be adamant about your boundaries and communicate them with the owner beforehand.
  • Empathy
  • Empathy is a good quality to have in general. Even more so when dealing with all sorts of people and animals. If the pet you are looking after is not behaving well, keep in mind that it might just miss its owner. Don't get frustrated and try to view the situation from a different perspective.
  • Flexibility
  • Pets are unpredictable. Being flexible is a huge bonus, especially when you are looking after a pet long-term. That doesn't mean that you have to be on call 24/7 but rather to be prepared for all types of emergencies, such as taking the pet to the vet or dealing with a dog who might need to go outside more than usual, etc...
  • Great communication skills
  • This one is extremely important and can make or break the relationship between you and the pet owner. Make sure to listen carefully when the owner gives you instructions or asks for requests. If something is not working for you, inform the owner and come to a compromise. After all, both of you place lots of value on the pet's health and well-being.
  • Cleanliness
  • Some pet owners prefer to have the pet sitter temporarily live in the house instead of having them check in on their pets once a day. If you are offered to stay overnight with the pet, stay respectful of their house. Do not invite any strangers over (unless given permission) and do not leave a mess in their home.
  • Be informed
  • In case of an emergency, be informed about where the closest vet is. Ask the owner beforehand if the pet has insurance and be aware of the pet's health records and history.

As a pet sitter, you don't really need any qualifications. Experience might be more important here. If you have pets on your own or grew up around animals, mention that in your resume as pet owners prefer people who are experienced with animals. Moreover, a basic first-aid course or even a first-aid course for pets is beneficial as well. If you are looking to become a full-time professional pet sitter, you have to register a business. For more information, you can refer to your local town hall or citizens office.

How To Find a Job

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There are multiple ways to kickstart your pet sitting career.

  • Friends and family
  • You can start off by offering to look after your friend's or family's pets. This can give you an idea of how to take care of someone else's pet and you can decide if that is something you want to do more often.
  • Look for job postings
  • On social platforms, like Facebook, you can join local pet groups where owners will sometimes post job offers for pet-sitting or dog-walking jobs. Another page you can use to actively look for pet-sitting jobs is TrustedHouseSitters. This page is more focused on house sitting, however, most of the time people look for a house sitter because they also need someone to take care of their pets.
  • Pet-sitting websites
  • If you prefer a daycare job, try Pawshake, Betreut, or Yoopies. These pages are more focused on pet sitting and usually come with a secure payment system as well as veterinary coverage. Jobs include dog walking, home visits, daycare, and more.

Before starting any job, make sure you and your employer both have insurance. Moreover, meet the owner(s) first before accepting any offer. Especially if they ask you to stay at their home. The number one priority is your safety and if you feel uncomfortable, don't be scared to decline the offer and look for another one.

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