Given the flourishing state of today’s pet industry, there are plenty of work opportunities available for people who dream of spending time with animals for a living. You could work at a store that sells pet food and treats, equipment like collars and leashes, or wholesale dog bandanas and other pet accessories. You could apply to help out at a pet grooming service or boarding service, or even open a pet business of your own if you have the capital.
One particular career option that has a low barrier to entry is becoming a professional pet sitter that helps busy fur parents care for their pets. Whether you choose to do it part-time or full-time, pet sitting can be immensely rewarding work for animal lovers. This feature will cover the typical tasks and duties of an average pet sitter, the qualifications you’ll probably need to become one, and what you should expect if you plan on entering this line of work:
What Does a Pet Sitter Do?
Pet sitters care for pets whose owners have to spend extended periods away from home, whether for work, travel, or any other reason. A pet sitter can either stay in the pet owner’s home, house pets temporarily in their own home, or visit their clients’ pets daily in order to attend to their needs. Whatever their chosen setup, a pet sitter’s responsibilities typically include the following:
- Providing pets with food and fresh water
- Administering any medications pets require, per owner’s instructions
- Exercising and playing with pets
- Cleaning out pet litter boxes, cages, aquariums, and other enclosures
- Performing basic grooming as required, such as bathing and brushing
- Updating clients on their pets regularly, whether by phone, instant messaging, email, or other means
Many pet owners prefer to hire pet sitters rather than use boarding services for a number of reasons. For one, most pets will be more comfortable in their own homes or in the home of someone they already know, and anxious pets will benefit especially from a familiar environment. Health-conscious pet parents will also want to eliminate the risk of their pets contracting diseases from exposure to other animals. Thus, there’s likely to be a reasonable amount of demand for pet sitters in most areas.
What Qualifications Do You Need to Become a Pet Sitter?
Although having a love for animals is undoubtedly one of the most important traits of a good pet sitter, you’ll need other skills and knowledge to do the job to the best of your ability. Some key qualifications that capable pet sitters should possess include the following:
Experience with Pet Care
It’s generally best if you have a lot of firsthand experience with the animals you offer to sit for. For instance, it’s probably not a good idea for you to offer sitting services for birds or hamsters if you’ve worked primarily with dogs and cats. Working with animals you’re familiar with means you’ll already have a good idea of the kind of care they need and how to provide that care.
Even if you’ve never worked as a professional pet sitter before, bear in mind that there are many other ways to demonstrate to clients that you’re well-versed in animal care. If you’ve ever been a pet owner yourself, volunteered at an animal shelter, or worked in veterinary services, these can all count as valuable experience. You’ll definitely want to mention these endeavors to any clients who might be inquiring about your background.
A Flexible Everyday Schedule
Most pet parents will need sitters during the holidays or vacation seasons, so you’ll have to bear this in mind if you want to start pet sitting part- or full-time. You may end up having to forgo relaxing or traveling during the holidays to keep your business going. Some owners may also request regular visits over a lengthy time frame. Make sure that you have enough time to commit to client requests alongside your other responsibilities before agreeing to any arrangements.
Looking after adorable pets is just half the work you’re expected to do as a pet sitter. You’ll also have to communicate actively with their owner before you even meet the pet in question. Potential clients will probably have a lot of questions about your skills and experience. Answering honestly and in detail will help you both determine if you’re a good fit for each other. Don’t hesitate to ask them any questions you might have in turn.
Serving multiple clients at once will require top-notch organization skills to ensure that you stay on top of your schedule. Schedule your bookings carefully to ensure that you have enough time and energy to allot for each pet. You’ll also want to keep detailed notes on every client you work with, so you have a quick and easy reference for each pet’s personality, needs, and routines.
Lots of Energy
Pet sitting isn’t like a regular job where you work fixed hours and clock out at the end of the day. Clients may book you for late-night or multi-day visits. Make sure you’re in good health and have plenty of energy to spare for the pets under your care.
If you have the time, resources, and skills for it, pet sitting can be a great way to spend time with furry friends while earning good money on the side. Even if you just start pet sitting part-time alongside your main job, you’ll definitely get to put your love for animals to good use in this line of work.