All You Need To Know About A Pet Sitter Career
You think about becoming a pet sitter?
Make sure to get additional information on this career before making your final decision to avoid common problems and unpleasant surprises in this regard.
Not only will you learn how much you can make as a pet sitter, but we will also talk about work-life balance, job satisfaction, job prospects, future outlook, educational requirements, duties, responsibilities and much more.
You will also find an extensive FAQ section at the end of this article where I answer the most common questions about being a pet sitter.
After reading this article, you will have a much better idea of whether you still want to become a pet sitter or rather want to go for a different career instead.
Without further ado, let’s get right into it!
Table of Contents
What does a Pet Sitter do?
Pet sitters care for dogs, cats and other pets while their owners are away for vacation or for various reasons.
Not only will they feed pets, but they will also do everything to make sure that pets have a great time and don’t miss their owners that much so that owners don’t have to feel guilty about giving them to pet sitters and know that their animals are safe.
Responsibilities & Duties of a Pet Sitter
- Caring for dogs, cats, guinea pigs and many other pets
- Feeding pets
- Making sure that pets get everything they need to stay happy
- Making sure that pets stay healthy
- Grooming of pets
- Going for a walk with pets
- Playing with pets and using their favorite toys
- Complying with local rules and regulations related to pet sitting
- Promoting the pet sitting business
What a Typical Day of a Pet Sitter looks like?
Pet sitters often have to be quite flexible regarding when they have to start their workday since this greatly depends on the wishes and preferences of their clients.
Once you get to work, you will get basic instructions from the clients you work for so that you know what to expect from the respective pet and how to make it happy.
After that, clients will often leave and you will be responsible to do everything the pets you care for need to stay healthy and to make them happy.
You may also have to care for multiple pets at the same time and this means that you need great coordination skills so that you don’t forget important tasks.
After working with animals for many hours, you will often get home from work between 4 and 6 p.m., even though this greatly depends on the plans of the individual client and may change over time.
Pet Sitter Salary 2023
Pet Sitter salary brackets 2023
|Salary (per year)
|Salary (per hour)
|Top 10 %
|Top 25 %
|$45,000 – $49,000
|$22.45 – $24.49
|Bottom 25 %
|$28,000 – $32,000
|$13.88 – $15.94
|Bottom 10 %
|$21,000 – $24,000
|$10.43 – $11.97
|$21,000 – $62,000
|$10.43 – $30.89
Pet Sitter salary 2023 by expert level
|Level of Experience
|Salary (per year)
|Salary (per hour)
|$21,000 – $28,000
|$10.43 – $13.88
|$27,000 – $32,000
|$13.44 – $15.92
|$31,000 – $43,000
|$15.39 – $21.47
|$39,000 – $48,000
|$19.46 – $23.93
|$46,000 – $54,000
|$22.96 – $26.94
|$52,000 – $62,000
|$25.89 – $30.89
Pet Sitter salary by state 2023 (average)
|Salary (per year)
|Salary (per hour)
|District of Columbia
Job Security of Pet Sitters
Pet sitters have almost no job security at all since educational barriers to entry to be able to work in this field are pretty low and you will therefore be replaceable pretty easily.
Consequently, you will always have to fear losing your job and it will be hard for you to plan your financial future as a pet sitter.
Future Outlook of Pet Sitters
Since many people want to work in this field also in the future, pet sitters may have a hard time finding a job where they can make decent money since almost everyone can do this job and salaries and overall job prospects will stay pretty poor for many years to come.
Working Hours of Pet Sitters
Many pet sitters start their workday between 8 and 10 a.m. and finish their workday between 4 and 6 p.m.
However, you need to be quite flexible as a pet sitter in this regard since your working hours will greatly depend on the plans of your clients and may also change pretty spontaneously.
Hence, it is rather difficult to plan your leisure activities as a pet sitter since your schedule may change quite a lot within a rather short period of time.
Job Satisfaction of Pet Sitters
While most pet sitters love the work itself, they also complain about overall working conditions since they are not able to make good money while they still have to suffer from lots of insecurity related to their jobs.
Promotion Opportunities of Pet Sitters
Pet sitters barely have any promotion opportunities at all.
Once you work as a pet sitter, you will do the same work over and over again and while you might get a little bit more responsibility, this will often not translate into important career steps and you will rather work in the same position for many years or even decades.
Career Levels of Pet Sitters
- Pet sitter intern
- Junior pet sitter
- Senior pet sitter
- Senior pet sitter leading a team of pet sitters
- Manager of a pet sitter business
- Owner of a pet sitter business
Fields and Types of Pet Sitters
- Pet sitter focused on dogs
- Pet sitters focused on cats
- Pet sitter focused on sitting small animals
- Pet sitter with expertise in sitting rather exotic pets
- Self-employed pet sitter
- Pet sitter working for a pet sitting company
- Part-time pet sitter
- Full-time pet sitter
- Hourly-paid pet sitter
Educational Requirements for Pet Sitters
Pet sitters don’t need any fancy education for working in this field.
While many of your friends will have to get a college degree and spend many years and lots of money on education to get their dream jobs, you as a pet sitter don’t have to do those things and can even start making money at a rather young age.
How to become a Pet Sitter
- Inform yourself about the advantages and disadvantages of being a pet sitter
- Apply for an internship at a local pet sitting business
- Work hard and make a good impression during your internship
- Stay in touch with your colleagues
- Finish high school with decent grades
- Apply for pet sitting jobs
- Master the job interview
- Sign your labor contract
- Build your personal brand
- Start your own pet sitting business
Character Traits you need as a Pet Sitter
- Passion for working with many different animals
- Empathy for pets who can’t talk with you about their problems
- Patience for pets who have a bad day
- Willingness to work with your hands
- Willingness to do rather unpleasant work
- Persistence helps you overcome difficult periods of your career
- You should be reliable so that pet owners trust you
- You should be friendly so that clients come back to you over and over again
- You should not be afraid of working with pets
- You should be a good observer
Hard Skills for Pet Sitters
- Knowledge of many different animals and how to keep them properly
- Knowledge of how to groom animals
- Expertise in keeping pets busy
- You need to know what pets can live in harmony with each other
- You need to know what to do in case pets miss their owners
- Expertise in calming pets down
- You should know how to treat pets so that they respect you and listen to your commands
- Knowledge of the most common pet diseases and what to do
- Knowledge of rules and regulations related to pet sitting
- Knowledge of appropriate safety standards
- You should not suffer from pet allergy
Soft Skills for Pet Sitters
- You should be passionate about working with many different pets
- Patience helps in case you have to look after difficult animals
- Willingness to work in a rather low-wage environment
- You should be gentle with pets
- You should be a good observer
- Good time management skills help as well
- Willingness to do unpleasant cleaning work
- Ability to get into the heads of pets
- You should really enjoy spending your time with animals
- Ability to read the body language of pets
Exit Options for Pet Sitters
Pet sitters have pretty poor exit options.
While you might be able to work at a zoo or do other minor work related to animals, you will have a pretty hard time if you want to switch from being a pet sitter to a different field of work since you will often lack the skills to do so.
Pet Sitter – Similar Careers
- Animal care technician
- Animal groomer
- Animal caregiver
- Animal hairdresser
- Animal trainer
- Salesperson for pet equipment
Pet Sitter Career FAQs
Is working as a pet sitter physically demanding?
Being a pet sitter is not heavily physically demanding.
Even though you often have to go for a walk and take minor things with you, you will not have to lift heavy stuff as plumbers or many other people out there have to do on a regular basis and you will therefore not have to stress your body in an excessive manner as a pet sitter.
Is working as a pet sitter mentally demanding?
Working as a pet sitter is not mentally demanding since you will often develop a certain routine pretty quickly and will do most things without having to think a lot.
However, working as a pet sitter can still be emotionally demanding since you will have lots of responsibility for the pets you care for and mistakes on your side could lead to serious adverse outcomes.
Is it dangerous to work as a pet sitter?
Being a pet sitter is not overly dangerous.
While you might get bitten by dogs or other pets sooner or later, those things will heal pretty quickly and compared to firemen or policemen, your risk of suffering from serious accidents at work will be pretty low.
How long do pet sitters stay in their jobs?
Pet sitters often stay in their jobs for a pretty long time since they love what they are doing and are also pretty specialized so that they have a hard time finding a job in a different industry.
Is it easy for pet sitters to find a new job?
Since pet sitters don’t need to get fancy education and almost everyone can work in this field, it is often pretty hard to find a new job as a pet sitter that pays enough to make a living since competition is pretty fierce and people are willing to work in this industry for a rather low wage.
Is it hard to switch from being a pet sitter to another field of work?
Since you will be pretty specialized and will not learn many skills apart from caring for pets, you will also have a hard time in the labor market since you will often lack the qualifications needed to find a job in a different field.
Do pet sitters have a high social status?
Pet sitters have a pretty low social standing.
Even though your clients will often be grateful for your support, most people out there will still belittle what you do for a living and you may have to deal with many snarky comments about your career choice.
Can you help out your family and friends as a pet sitter?
While you might be able to look after the pets of your loved ones while they are away, you will still not be able to do many important things around the home as craftsmen like welders or roofers can do pretty easily and you will therefore also not be able to provide as much value as those people to your family or your friends.
Can pet sitters work remotely?
Pet sitters are not able to work remotely since they have to care for pets in person to provide them with everything they need.
Consequently, while many other people out there are able to work from home, you as a pet sitter will have to spend lots of time and money commuting to work and back and will also be less flexible when it comes to managing your private and professional life at the same time.
Is it easy to find a partner as a pet sitter?
It is pretty hard to find a partner for a long-term relationship since you will often not make good money and will also have to deal with lots of insecurity related to your work and whether you might lose your job or not in the near future.
In turn, you will not be considered a good provider and may have a hard time in the dating market compared to financial controllers or judges who make really good money and may have a much easier time in this regard.
Do pet sitters have to work on weekends?
Pet sitters don’t have to work on weekends most of the time.
However, if you work self-employed and have clients who are away from home on weekends quite often, you might also have to work on Saturdays or Sundays and your schedule may also change without prior notice.
Hence, you should be quite flexible to get happy with a pet sitter career in the long run.
Do pet sitters have to work on holidays?
Pet sitters don’t have to work on holidays in an official manner.
However, you can still make money on the side during those days since many people want to make nice trips on holidays and don’t want to take their pets with them.
Do pet sitters have to work at nighttime?
Pet sitters don’t have to work at nighttime for most of the year since they can care for pets during the day and pets are often able to sleep alone during the evening and nighttime so that it will be enough to get back to work the next morning in most cases.
Do you have to travel as a pet sitter?
Apart from commuting to many different clients, you will not have to travel for business trips as many other people who work in demanding jobs in the corporate world have to do on a regular basis and while those people will be away from home quite often, you as a pet sitter will be able to spend lots of time with your family.
Are pet sitter pensions good?
Since pet sitters are not able to make good money during their active careers, also their pensions will be pretty poor and many pet sitters get into serious financial trouble once they quit their active careers and retire.
Are pet sitter salaries going up?
Pet sitter salaries have not been going up significantly over the past years since many people in this field are willing to work for a rather low wage and this trend will likely also continue in the near future.
Thus, if you search for a job where you can make really good money, you should rather become an investment banker or start your own business instead of aspiring to a pet sitting career.
Can you have a positive impact on society as a pet sitter?
While you can do an important job for your clients, you will not have the same high positive impact on society as professors or teachers who can really make the world by teaching their students messages that benefit us all in the long run.
How long does it take to become a pet sitter?
Since you don’t need to get any fancy education for working as a pet sitter, you can become a pet sitter right after finishing high school at a rather young age without having to spend many years on college.
Is it difficult to become a pet sitter?
Since formal educational requirements are pretty low, it is rather easy to become a pet sitter and almost everyone will be able to work in this field.
Do you need to be smart to work as a pet sitter?
You don’t need to be smart to succeed as a pet sitter.
What’s much more important than your IQ is that you have empathy and a real passion for working with animals so that you can really hone your craft and stay motivated with what you are doing for a living in the long run.
Do pet sitters have a good work-life balance?
Pet sitters have rather poor work-life balance since they sometimes have to work on weekends and at nighttime and your schedule may also change without prior notice.
Hence, you have to be quite flexible regarding your working hours if you want to stay happy with your pet sitter job in the long run.
Do pet sitters have to work many extra hours?
Pet sitters sometimes also have to work many extra hours in case the plans of their clients change and you will have to look after their pets longer than expected.
However, over the course of the year, the number of extra hours you work will still be rather low compared to consultants or other people who work hundreds of them per year on a regular basis.
How to maximize your chances of becoming a pet sitter?
The sooner you get experience in caring for animals, the more experience you will have at a rather young age.
Hence, if you want to work as a pet sitter, it can be helpful to have your own pets and you may also want to work as an intern at a pet sitting business to learn some skills and to make some important contacts that could help you find a job later on.
Can pet sitters work part-time?
Pet sitters are also able to work part-time. In fact, many students or retirees just work part-time to make some money on the side.
However, if you want to make a real living from what you are doing, you would have to work full-time as a pet sitter since hourly wages are pretty low in this industry and a part-time job would often not be enough to pay your bills.
Do pet sitters work indoors or outdoors?
Pet sitters work indoors as well as outdoors.
Thus, you should not be a couch potato but rather open to spending lots of time outdoors, especially if you care for dogs that need lots of exercise and fresh air to stay healthy in the long run.
What does the workplace of a pet sitter look like?
Depending on the client you work for, your workplace will look quite different since you will often care for pets at their homes.
Hence, you should be quite flexible in this regard and should also not be afraid of experiencing new situations and working in new locations on a regular basis.
Do you have to look good for working as a pet sitter?
You don’t need to look like a model to succeed as a pet sitter.
However, you should still look groomed so that your clients will not be disgusted by your appearance and will come back to you for many years to come.
Is a pet sitter career beneficial for your private life?
Working as a pet sitter is not greatly beneficial for your private life since you will have to be quite flexible regarding your working hours and you will also not be able to make good money from what you are doing.
Consequently, your spouse may start cheating on you sooner or later to find a better deal.
Do you need a college degree for becoming a pet sitter?
You don’t need a college degree for working as a pet sitter.
What’s much more important than looking good on paper is that you have a real passion for working with animals so that you can care for them in a proper manner and don’t forget important tasks.
Do you need to be certified to work as a pet sitter?
You often also don’t need to be certified to work as a pet sitter.
Instead, finishing high school will be enough to start your pet sitting career at a rather young age while many other people have to spend lots of time and money on education before they are able to work in their dream jobs.
How much does it cost to become a pet sitter?
Since you will not have to get a college degree, you also don’t have to spend lots of money on education for becoming a pet sitter. Instead, you can even start making money at a rather young age.
Is being a pet sitter a good career?
Since you will have to be quite flexible regarding your working hours and also have to deal with lots of insecurity related to your work while you will still not be able to make decent money from what you are doing, being a pet sitter cannot be considered a good career when taking all relevant factors into account.
Is it easy to start your own business as a pet sitter?
It is relatively easy to start your own pet sitting business since you would not have to spend lots of money on equipment or machinery as would be the case in many other industries.
You will also not need many hard skills to start your business in this field and can just give it a try and see what happens.
Can pet sitters teach themselves?
Pet sitters can teach themselves most skills they need to succeed in their jobs.
They will also learn many things on the job and there will be no need to get plenty of theoretical formal education.
Do pet sitters make good money?
Most pet sitters are not able to make good money from their jobs.
Many of them even struggle to pay their basic expenses from what they are doing and sometimes have to start side hustles to cover their expenses.
Is it ever too late to become a pet sitter?
It is never too late to become a pet sitter since you don’t need fancy formal education and you can start out your pet sitting career anytime you want.
Moreover, working as a pet sitter is also not heavily physically demanding and this means that you can do this job at almost any age.
Do pet sitters have to quit their careers early?
Most pet sitters don’t have to quit their careers early since working as a pet sitter is not that physically exhausting and you can often work in this field until you reach official retirement age while many other people like carpenters or fallers often have to quit their careers early due to physical health problems.
What is the hardest thing about working as a pet sitter?
The hardest thing about working as a pet sitter is that you always need to stay focused and aware of the individual needs of the pets you care for so that you don’t make mistakes that could lead to serious adverse outcomes.
Can you provide for your family by working as a pet sitter?
Providing for your family is almost impossible as a pet sitter since your salary will be pretty low and your spouse will therefore have to work as well to cover your expenses.
Will pet sitters suffer from old-age poverty?
Many pet sitters also suffer from old-age poverty since they receive relatively low pensions and are also not able to save and invest enough money during their active careers.
In turn, many pet sitters are no longer able to pay their bills once they get older and retire.
Can pet sitters retire early?
Pet sitters are not able to retire early since they simply don’t make enough money to do so.
In turn, pet sitters often have to work until official retirement age and some of them even have to work longer since their pensions might not be enough to cover their expenses.
Do pet sitters get a fixed or variable salary?
While you will mainly get a fixed salary if you work as an employed pet sitter, your income will greatly vary over time in case you have your own pet sitting business since it will greatly depend on the number of clients you have.
Can you get rich as a pet sitter?
Getting rich as an employed pet sitter is almost impossible and if money and luxury are really important to you, you should rather become a pilot, doctor or start your own business instead.
Do pet sitters need a second job?
Many pet sitters also need a second job since their income from their day job as a pet sitter will often not be enough to cover their expenses.
This is especially true for pet sitters who live in extremely expensive regions where rents are pretty high.
Do you get continuous training as a pet sitter?
You will not get continuous training as a pet sitter.
Instead, it will be on you to hone your craft and to get really good at what you are doing to stay successful with your pet sitting career in the long run.
Do you get sick pay as a pet sitter?
You don’t get sick pay as a pet sitter in most cases.
Thus, you should therefore have an emergency fund that you can build during good times to use it during times when you are sick and no longer get paid to be still able to cover your expenses.
Do pet sitters have a high level of responsibility?
Pet sitters have a high level of responsibility since they have to look after the pets of other people who are often like family members to them.
Hence, since mistakes on your side could seriously hurt those pets, you will have to be quite careful what you are doing at work.
Can pet sitters work abroad?
Pet sitters can work all over the world.
However, salaries and working conditions will be quite different in foreign countries compared to what you are used to at home and you should inform yourself before you decide on moving abroad to avoid unpleasant surprises in this regard.
Is it stressful to work as a pet sitter?
Working as a pet sitter is not that stressful since you will be able to work rather independently and will not have a boss looking over your shoulder all day long as in many other jobs.
Moreover, you also don’t have to deal with lots of time pressure and can spend your time in a rather relaxed manner.
Is it boring to work as a pet sitter?
Being a pet sitter might become boring in case you don’t have a real passion for working in this field and in such a case, you should rather not become a pet sitter but rather go for a different job you are more interested in.
Is being a pet sitter hard?
Working as a pet sitter is not that hard since you will not have to deal with lots of stress at work and will be able to work in a rather relaxed manner most of the time.
Are pet sitters at risk of burnout?
Since pet sitters don’t have to deal with lots of stress at work, they are also not at great risk of burnout or other mental problems compared to people who work in demanding office jobs and have to deal with lots of pressure on a daily basis.
Is there a dress code for pet sitters?
There is no dress code for pet sitters.
While many other people who work in fancy industries have to comply with conservative clothing, you as a pet sitter can wear what you feel most comfortable in.
What kind of pet sitters are paid the most?
The more experience you have and the more jobs you can carry out, the more you can make as a pet sitter.
However, even the best pet sitters are not able to make a fortune from what they are doing and if you want to get really wealthy or even rich, you should go for a job in a different industry.
What percentage of pet sitters are women?
While around 74% of all pet sitters are women, only 26% are men.
While this industry is still dominated by women, this doesn’t mean that they have better chances. It just means that more women aspire to this career on average.
Do I need a mentor to succeed as a pet sitter?
You don’t need to have a mentor to succeed as a pet sitter.
What’s much more important is that you are really passionate about working with pets so that you are willing to work hard and stay motivated with what you are doing in the long run.
Do pet sitters have a high life expectancy?
Pet sitters have pretty decent life expectancy since their risk of suffering from serious accidents at work is rather low and compared to police officers or garbage collectors who work in a risky environment on a daily basis, you can expect to become much older.
Do pet sitters suffer from sleeping problems?
Pet sitters don’t suffer from sleeping problems related to their jobs that much since they often don’t have to work at nighttime and can maintain a healthy sleeping pattern.
What states are best for working as a pet sitter?
Since you will not be able to make good money as a pet sitter in every state, you should rather choose a state or region where the demand for pet sitting services is high while living costs are still low enough to make a living from your pet sitting career.
Who do pet sitters work with?
Pet sitters work with many different pets and clients on a regular basis.
Therefore, it is crucial that you are a trustworthy and friendly person so that clients are happy with your services and recommend you to their friends.
Is working as a pet sitter cool?
Working as a pet sitter is not considered cool by most people out there and some of them may even make fun of you due to your career choice.
Can you start a side hustle as a pet sitter?
Pet sitters are also able to start a side hustle.
For instance, you could start a YouTube channel or a blog where you talk about all the things you learn during your pet sitting career to build an audience that you can monetize in the long run.
Do you have to be creative as a pet sitter?
You don’t need to be creative to succeed as a pet sitter.
Instead, you will do the same things over and over again and having a passion for caring for pets is therefore much more important than creativity to stay happy with what you are doing in the long run.
Do pet sitters suffer from being overweight?
Since pet sitters often spend lots of time in the fresh air and also have to work with their hands, many of them burn enough calories at work and don’t have to deal with being overweight.
How employable are pet sitters?
Pet sitters are not that employable anymore since competition has become quite fierce and almost everyone can work in this field. In turn, job security is pretty low and salaries are low as well.
Are pet sitters happy with their jobs?
While most pet sitters really enjoy the work itself, many of them also complain about overall working conditions and about their salaries that are hardly enough to cover their expenses.
Is working as a pet sitter exciting?
Working as a pet sitter can be exciting for you if you are really passionate about spending time with animals and can’t imagine working in a different field.
Can you have a positive impact on our environment as a pet sitter?
Pet sitters don’t have a big positive impact on our environment since they simply work in a field where they can’t make the world a better place in this regard.
What are the pros and cons of working as a pet sitter?
If you are still not entirely sure whether you want to work as a pet sitter or not, you may also want to have a look at additional pros and cons of a pet sitting career.
Interviews and own research.
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.
This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.
Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.
I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.
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