Pet sitting involves basic pet care whilst owners are away from home. This provides an alternative to kennels for cats and dogs - which can be expensive and disruptive - and for other household animals for which there is no specific commercial care solution. Standard tasks for a pet sitter include providing fresh water, putting down food, brushing, walking dogs, letting cats in and out and and cleaning trays and litter boxes.
Additional requirements from the owner may include administering medication, cleaning up pet hair, or just checking in on animals to ensure that they are well and at ease. Pet sitters might also be hired to contact owners, and take an animal to the vet if they become unwell. Some Pet Sitters offer transport services for people needing to take their own animals to various places. You could offer a pet Taxi service!
Most pet sitters will be self employed, building their contacts and experience locally and through good use of advertising and social media. Rates will vary, you might set an hourly, half-daily or daily rate for clients, or have prices for specific responsibilities or requirements.
The key to success, apart from being good with animals is to be reliable, responsible and priced correctly so as to attract clients who might otherwise consider kenneling or asking for favours from friends. Modern life is busy and leaving pets and homes even for a few days can be a worry for owners. Clever marketing and thinking about additional services you could offer for clients peace of mind may see you become successfully self employed. (Offering to check vehicles, heating, gardens etc - all the things that travelers worry about)
There are no formal education or training requirements, but you must be familiar with most aspects of pet care and behavior, either through experience or extensive research.
You are in a position of trust, both in doing your best for the owners' pets, but also with regard to access to their properties and possessions. You should have a clear set of terms and conditions with your clients to avoid any confusion over responsibilities and liabilities and be sure to ensure the safety of yourself and the animals in your care.
It will be beneficial for pet sitters to have some animal healthcare exposure, such as prior experience at a vets, whilst training in animal CPR and first aid is also valuable.
You'll need to be:
- Responsible and practical
- Good at self promotion / advertising
- Mobile, either with a vehicle or access to good transport links (You won't make much from only targeting near by streets)