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Pet Sitter

Pet sitting is a job that many people can do if they have a basic love of animals. Many people with disabilities have a special connection with pets of their own and pets of other people.

Many people with disabilities have anxiety about returning to work or going to work for the first time. They may fear failure. They may have difficulty relating to other people. Sometimes people with disabilities desire to get into the work world in small steps which they can build upon. It seems like pet sitting may be a job made for people with these qualifications.

Pet sitting can vary according to the needs of the animal owner and what the pet sitter is willing to do. Sometimes the owner will only want the pet sitter to let their animals out in a fenced yard, feed and love the animal for a short period. Sometimes the owner desires the pet sitter to stay overnight at the ownerʼs home and become more involved with the pets. This could include bathing a dog or brushing a cat or walking a dog on a leash in the community. The owner may wish the pet sitter to care for the animals in the pet sitterʼs home.

Job Description

It is important for the pet sitter to consider what services they are willing to provide and the preferred location to provide those services. Pet  sitters may consider if they are willing to sit with animals other than traditional pets—exotic animals such as parrots. A verbal contract may be sufficient for a pet sitter, but they may desire something in writing to protect themselves. How the sitter will be paid is also an important issue. Cash up front and when the owner returns is one possibility. Credit cards using credit card readers is another. Having numbers to call if a pet becomes sick is a must in any pet sitting situation. Using a phone to take a picture of a pet and sending it to the owner makes for a satisfied customer.

There are several pet sitting services that are looking for great people. The following is a sample of job requirements with these types of agencies:

Pet Sitters Responsibilities

  • Work weekdays, weekends and holidays, as visits vary based on client needs
  • Visit our clients' pets in their own homes for varying lengths of time (usually 30 - 60 minutes each)
  • Walk dogs as requested by client Feed pets as requested by client
  • Check that pets have ample water supply and refill as necessary
  • Make sure no damage is caused by pets in the absence of their owners
  • Appropriate pet clean-up as required by client or if the pet has an accident in the home
  • Communicate with management during visits.

Pet Sitters Requirements and Qualifications:

  • Must be 21
  • Must have your own, reliable and insured transportation to perform the duties and responsibilities associated with this role


  • Must be extremely detail oriented
  • Able to follow detailed client instructions
  • Must be responsible, reliable, dependable and follow through with commitments
  • Must be timely and punctual
  • Must be able to self-manage
  • Possess excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Must be passionate about and compassionate towards animals
  • Must feel comfortable working with and interacting with both small and large animals
  • Must be able to pass criminal background check

The wonderful thing about pet sitting is that no specialized schooling is required. Credentials, however, are good. A history of satisfied customers and people who are willing to give a recommendation if sitter services is a plus. A written history of animals the pet sitter has owned could make a difference to a pet owner considering who to hire.


As already mentioned, satisfied customer recommendations can be important. Work history at a veterinary office or pet grooming store is relevant as well.


Pet sitters can be paid from $10 to $15 per hour. If the sitter is staying overnight, the pay might be by the day.

Sitting Salaries

A survey conducted by Pet Sitters International (PSI), an educational association for professional pet sitters, found that pet sitters earned an average of $48,635 a year in 2010. This annual wage is based on an average of 2,606 sitting assignments a year -- or roughly $18.66 per “sit.” Pet sitters tend to serve an average of 103 clients each, which works out to a billing of about $472 a year per client.

Sitting Rates

On average, pet sitters charge a rate of $17.75, reports PSI. However, the typical pet-sitting visit only lasts about 30 minutes. Sitting entails anything from playtime to dog walking, to care of special needs pets, to pet transportation, meaning the pet sitter transports the pet from one location to another, such as to a veterinarian or doggy daycare.


Almost all pet sitters service both dogs and cats -- making up about 96 percent of sitters. Roughly 63 percent of sitters also service birds, and almost 62 percent of sitters include fish as part of their services. Besides playtime, dog walking, feeding and watering your pets, some sitters include grooming, errand service, doggy daycare and in-home sits, as well. An overnight sit can range from $40 to $80 a night, but the average is closer to a $60 flat fee.

Career Progression

The wonderful thing about pet sitting is that it is so versatile. Pet sitting is something that a person who is retired might consider to supplement a Social Security check. A person with disabilities of any age could use pet sitting as an avenue to supplement their own disability check without fear of endangering their benefits. Pet sitting does fit into a resume for someone who wants a career working with animals. This includes any position at a veterinary office. It also includes animal caretaking at a zoo. Caregiving skills could even lead to human caregiving of people who are old or disabled.


Last Modified on Mar 15, 2023
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