How to Become a Pet Sitter

How to Become a Pet Sitter

Are you an animal lover? Do you have experience caring for pets?  Would you like to be a pet sitter for a local pet sitting business?

Maybe you’re just starting to think about pet sitting as a professional full time opportunity or a part time gig. You might start with asking “what can I make as a pet sitter?” and “Would  pet sitting be a good fit for me?”

We’re your Charlotte area leader for all things pet-sitting and dog-walking, so we’re here to give you the details about what an in-home pet sitter does, what the average pet sitter rates are, and how to get hired when you’re ready?

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about how to become a pet sitter and what you can expect the role to look like!

What do pet sitters do?

A pet sitter is essentially a “babysitter” for pets, but there might be more to pet sitting than you think. This is especially true for caring for puppies, senior pets, and special needs pets. However, all pets need personalized care to fit their own specific needs and personalities. And of course their ‘parent’s’ preferences. The responsibilities of a pet sitter include, but may not be limited to, the following:

  1. Providing pets a safe environment to play, learn and grow while their parents are away
  2. Helping to leash and potty train puppies and new adoptees
  3. Brushing fur and brushing teeth
  4. Cleaning up the occasional pet mess
  5. Giving pets lots of love and attention
  6. Distributing food, water, and treats as appropriate
  7. Properly administering medicine according to directions

An in-home pet sitter might be tasked with additional duties, like getting pets ready to wind down for bedtime, cleaning litter boxes, or even staying with pets overnight. Some pet parents require pet sitting at home because their dogs are anxious or require familiar spaces and their own beds and toys to feel safe and comfortable.  Pet sitters are tasked with the important work of keeping pets happy and entertained at times that they might be anxious, like when their family is away for extended periods of time.

Some pets might get especially anxious during thunderstorms, during holidays with fireworks, or when they have to sleep alone. Your most important job as a pet sitter is to get to know the pets’ individual needs and to offer safe, reliable companionship.

How to become a professional pet sitter

Today, there are lots of ways to become a pet sitter!

We’d like to highlight how to get a position as a pet sitting for a locally owned, trusted pet care service provider like LIttle Friends Pet Sitting and Dog Walking. Service providers like Little Friends have established professional policies and procedures which accommodate both pet parents and their staff. They work hard to ensure their staff is safe, trained, and supported. They also have been around the block and know what pet parents are looking for in pet care service. 

While it’s possible to work independently as a pet sitter in your area, there are many reasons that working for a trusted pet care company is probably a smarter decision. Here are some benefits of working for a trusted pet sitting and dog walking company, as opposed to on your own:

  • Pet care companies are insured, and you will be covered under their insurance. This protects you and the pet owner in the event of an accident or injury. 
  • Pet care companies have established customers which will allow you to have access to a steady stream of income, instead of hustling to find clients, or worse: competing against established petcare businesses in your area. 
  • Pet care companies offer the training and support you need to learn how to care for all types of animals, with all types of needs and environments.
  • Working for a company eliminates the safety risk of seeking out clients one-on-one, not knowing who you’re working for, and not knowing the health and vaccination status of the pets in your care.
  • A pet sitting and dog walking company works as your middle man, connecting you with clients who are vetted, and establishing pay guidelines on your behalf, so you don’t have to negotiate.

If you decide working for a locally owned and trusted pet care provider is a better fit for you, check out Indeed or any other recruiting software application. Many pet care providers use recruiting apps like Indeed to post job openings. Once you find an organization who has openings, do your homework in looking at that company. Do they have reviews on Google and Yelp?  Review their website which will help you to determine their professionalism. Review the services they offer, the times of day they offer the services, and be sure to check out their FAQs which will not only answer pet parent’s questions, but will give you a feel for how that company’s policies and procedures. 

Put together a resume and cover letter and ask for an interview. If you are using an app like Indeed, you can upload the resume, cover letter and complete the application. Some companies, like LIttle Friends, have a link to their application on their website. 

How much does a dog sitter make?

Pet sitting rates vary from location to location, and will partly depend on your experience (if you decide to work independently) or the organization’s reputation within the community. Pet sitters can make anywhere from $15 - $28 per hour on average. These rates will be based on the timeframe of the services and how services you will be able to perform in an hour of time including travel. Most companies will work to keep you in a small radius from your home, so your travel time will be short. 

When you work as an employee for a service provider like Little Friends, you will be covered by Workman’s Compensation Insurance which covers unexpected accidents on the job. You will be bonded and insured which will cover homeowner’s property accidents. And your employer will pay employers tax towards your Social Security.. 

Working for a reputable pet care center like Little Friends Pet Sitting means that you don’t need to guess or negotiate rates. Your rates will be established before the job is booked, and you’d be paid a set rate based on the number of hours and other services included in the pet sitting task.

What to include on your pet sitter resume

If you’re ready to start your pet sitting journey and want to work for an established organization, you’ll need to put together a resume. If you’re new to the pet professional world, your resume will need to include basic information about how to contact you. It might also include your educational background and a personal statement about why you want to begin pet sitting.

If you have skills that might translate, or experience with pet sitting, these are great things to include on your pet sitting resume. Any awards or extracurricular activities that you’ve done in school can also be helpful for the pet owner or organization to help understand your levels of maturity and responsibility. Here’s a great resource for understanding what you should include in a resume if you’re a first-time job seeker.

Those established in the professional pet care world should include all relevant experience. This can still include any human-healthcare experience and babysitting experience if you feel they will be helpful for describing your skillset. College courses related to animal care or animal biology can also be helpful.

However, the most important information to include is your experience with pets!  

Good luck building your resume, and in pursuit of your new pet sitting role!