10 things no one tells you about pet sitting

I have been a pet sitter for a couple years. It started in our old neighborhood when I was asked to let out the dogs next door for the weekend. I wasn't asked to do so as a pet sitter, but as the girl next door who was conveniently there to tend to the dogs. After that, I slowly became a pet sitter. I wasn't a girl who wanted a summer job to save up for some new gadget, but a true neighborhood pet sitter. We've moved, I've gained new clients, and I've taken care of over 30 animals. Here are ten things to know about pet sitting I've learned over the last couple of years.

1. Don't pet sit if you want a job that doesn't involve working with people
Not everyone is a people person. Pet sitting involves lots of human interaction. From learning more about the animal, to keeping in touch with the owner, to learning the care needs of the animal, to giving the owner an overview of how their pet did while they were away, pet sitting involves human interaction so don't think pet sitting is all about the fluffy, finned, and feathered friends you're caring for.

2. There are three factors to a pet sitting job: you, the pet, and the pet's owner
Always be looking out for the wellness of these three factors. YOU need to be doing your job correctly and making sure the animal is cared for and loved. THE PET needs to have all of his needs met, must be safe and healthy, and is the most important factor. THE PET'S OWNER needs to know how the pet has been, must teach you to care for the animal, and you have to remember to be ready to contact the owner in any situation that might call for it. If all these are in check, you must be doing something right.

3. Pet sitting is a more important job than it's cracked up to be
It's not just enjoying leisure strolls with your neighbor's adorable puppy while the owner lounges in sunny Florida. Take pet sitting as a huge responsibility, because honestly, that's what it is. Pets are family. Someone entrusted you with the very life and wellness of their cherished family member. Always remember that in every pet sitting choice you make, and always understand that it's a big deal you were chosen to tend to the animal.

4. Things won't go as planned
As much as everything as planned out, don't expect it all to go perfect. You're still a great pet sitter, even if something goes wrong. The cat you're caring for might throw up. Maybe you're walking a dog, you take a bad fall, and the dog slips out of his collar. Maybe you accidentally spill the bowl of water you're carrying on the floor, or the pup you're tending to decides to go through the trash can. Perhaps the precious canine you're caring for is a terrible leash puller when you envisioned relaxed walks with her instead. Situations can be better or worse than some of these, but nothing will ever be perfect.

5. Holidays are the busiest time of the year
While most kids and adults alike were spending Spring Break on the beach in 2016, I had my hands full with 4 or 5 pet sitting jobs. I was always holding a leash, scooping a litter box, filling a bowl with kibble; and I wouldn't have it any other way. It was very very hot out, so all those hours in the sun took a toll on me, but it was all worth it and it was a great experience. I ended up making over $300 that week, so I'm certainly not complaining! The point is, if you're serious about this whole pet sitting things, wish carefree holidays goodbye when you start getting business.

6. Take all your perfect expectations of what pet sitting is and throw them out the window
We went over that accidents will happen, but here's the next thing...pet sitting isn't just playing with dogs. Yes, I enjoy the job very much and I joke to others that I make a fortune petting cute dogs, but that's just a joke. You won't be skipping along merrily with a white fluffy puppy trotting along beside you. There will be perfect moments like that, but sometimes you'll be walking a misbehaving dog in 80 degree heat or 30 degree snowy weather. Your hands will be red from the chafing of the leash handle, and you don't have time to give the dog a training session. Sometimes you'll be tired or sick and still need to do your job, or you'll have to give up binge watching your favorite TV show for a week because the pet's owner insists you play a game of night fetch with the pup. Oh, and did I mention when the jobs pile up, walking miles and miles a day can get sort of exhausting?

7. There still will be perfect moments
There will still be those dreamy moments where birdsong fills your ears on a sunny day on a walk with your favorite furry pet sitting client. There will be moments when the game of fetch is fun and perfect. There will be moments when the pet you care for is perfectly behaved or the sweet kitty lies purring in your lap. Don't think that just because things won't always be perfect that you won't get those rewarding moments. Sometimes, yes, you will seemingly get paid for snuggling puppies.

8. You will have favorites
Don't tell anyone (or at least don't tell anyone besides the owner of your favorite pet). You will have favorites. I love all animals and all the pets I cared for in our old neighborhood, but a Boxer mix puppy I walked every Wednesday named Bandit was something else. I met him on his first walk, watched him grow up, and now he's 2 years old. I haven't seen him in months since we moved. I also enjoyed my time with the two black Labs next door, Joy and Bella, and the two mixed breeds next door, Sophie and Shadow. I used to walk them every day of the week, so after not seeing them for 6 months it's pretty hard.

9. Clients won't stay clients forever
Sort of touching on what I just wrote up there. You might move. The client might move. The pet you cared for might pass away or be rehomed. For whatever reason, the pet's owner might hire a new pet sitter or dog walker. Maybe your schedule is too busy to take on any more jobs. Whatever it is, don't hold on too close like I did, because one day you'll have to say goodbye.

10. You'll love the animals you care for like family
I love and miss the animals I used to care for like I would my own dog. After being with them most days for years, you learn so much about them, they're crazy attached to you, and it's weird not seeing them so much. They sort of become your own pets that don't live in your house. You'll get in such a routine it won't even be weird caring for them anymore. You will build lifelong friendships with these pets (and maybe their owners, too) that will just amaze you.

That's all for today!


  1. It is so cool thatyou have your own blog. We will be stopping by to check it out

  2. That was a great post, Robin. You are a wonderful person to be so responsible. You have a very bright future ahead of you.

    Woos - Lightning and Misty and Mom

  3. An excellent post!! A good pet sitter is valuable!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  4. Robin, I wish you lived in my neighborhood! This is an excellent post and you should be very proud of all you have accomplished! I would be thrilled to have you as my pet sitter!

  5. well eggs-plained... I agree with you it is a job for the weekend or for the howl-i-days... and we should know that we have a job while other peeps celebrate something... but I think that makes it more special and interesting ;O)

  6. True! I used to work in a boarding facility and do pet sitting on the side. The bonds you have with animals that you care for is so amazing. I had 2 chinese cresteds that I cared for and when they moved cross country after knowing them for 4 years, I cried. I missed them so much! Petsitting is the hardest work but so satisfying.


  7. What a great post Robin! As a family who uses in home pet sitting, we wish you lived closer!!


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