How to become a Dog Sitter

Dog sitters care for dogs while owners are away from home, busy, or on vacation. Most often they will stay in the residence of the dog owner. This is to maintain the routine of the dog, to make them feel more secure and to not disturb the environment the dog is used to. “Dog sitter” can be a very detail oriented job. Not only does a dog sitter provide supervision and care for a dog, they might also be asked to fulfill some basic household duties, such as: mail collection, watering of plants, light grooming, vacuuming and cleaning up after the dog. They may also be asked to provide care to other small animals, such as cats, fish, pet rodents and birds.

It is not uncommon for a dog sitter to also run a busy dog walking business. You may find individuals who run a full-time dog walking service or moonlighting to earn extra revenue as a dog sitter. Still another option is to operate a much larger business that employs a trained staff to cover both vocations. Depending on the size of the business they may cover a substantial geographic area and serve many clients. Some individuals may choose to brand their business and when they achieve a certain level of success, to franchise their name to other dog walkers seeking a reputable brand with which to align themselves. A competent dog sitter not only cares for the canine but can perform a multitude of other tasks well including: Providing food and water, grooming the animal, brushing fur and teeth, taking the dog for walks, administering medications and providing the owner with a detailed report of all their activities. Furthermore, a dog sitter must alert the owner(s) if the dog requires medical attention for any reason, if the dog gets an illness or infection or suffers an injury while under their supervision. For this reason, an organized system for sharing information is very important. This might include veterinarian contact information and detailed dog information including, medications, allergies, weight, and breed. Because of the nature of this work, a dog sitters busy schedule may well include working on weekdays, weekends and holidays. You must be comfortable with being “on call” and following your clients’ varying schedules if you want to be successful at this type of work.

How much does a Dog Sitter make?

The salary for a dog sitter may depend upon where the individual lives, the local economy, distances traveled to work and how large a client base they are able to build. FYI, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics lists “animals caretaker”, including dog sitter, as a profession earning a median salary of around $24,000 a year. Dog sitters must also take into consideration operational business costs, including production of marketing materials, travel costs (gas, insurance and public transportation) and both personal and vehicle insurance.

Resources to help in starting or expanding your dog training career: