Professional Pet Sitting

By Eric Hammer

It is a fact that the pet care industry in the United States is a multibillion dollar industry which employs tens of thousands of people. However, even if you don't own a pet store or run a veterinary office, it's possible to get into this remarkable growth industry by engaging in professional pet sitting. Yes, you can take care of other people's pets when they go on vacation and they'll actually pay you good money for doing it.

The fact is that people have dogs and cats that need to be taken care of when they go out of town and they don't necessarily want to leave their best friend in a kennel. Instead, they prefer to engage someone either to stay in the house with the animal or to take them into their home. In all cases, professional pet sitting can pay very good money and the best part is that if you love dogs or cats, you're generally qualified to do the job.

How Much Can You Make?

The amount you can make with professional pet sitting varies widely depending on a range of factors. At the bare minimum, some people in this industry charge $10-$20 each time they drop by to walk a dog for half an hour and others will charge as much as $50-$100 a day to keep an animal in their home. It really depends on the amount of work you want to do and the amount of money people in your market are willing to spend (i.e. in a place like New York City, you'll make more than you would make in say Duluth).

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In addition to making money from professional pet sitting, it's also possible to contract your services out as a dog walker. In essence this means that people who need to leave for work early in the morning will pay you to take their dog out for a walk in the morning and sometimes in the evening. Some professional dog walkers actually take as many as 5-6 dogs at a time for a walk meaning that if you do this twice a day you could easily make as much as $100-$200 a day for your trouble.

Remember that animals, especially dogs are social creatures. This means that professional pet sitting means more than making sure that food is put out for them and that the litter box is emptied (for cats). You'll also be expected to spend time with these animals so that they don't end up feeling neurotic when their owners come home (in spite of what some people think about them being "just animals," dogs and cats do have feelings and can go crazy if they don't get any social contact).

You should also think carefully about how many animals you can reasonably take care of at any given time. Cats for example generally don't need to be walked, so you can potentially do more cats than dogs because you simply need to drop by, make sure their food is available and the litter box is cleaned out. Dog owners on the other hand will often pay more because they know that their animals need additional care.

Qualifications / Requirements

The great thing about professional pet sitting is that in most states, you don't need a license to do it. You may need to apply for a license if you plan to offer a full service kennel, however in most cases, professional pet sitters simply work by word of mouth and take on these jobs in much the same ways as babysitters take on their jobs - with an informal arrangement.

First Steps

Start by advertising your services to the local community through flyers. Contact your friends and family as well and ask them to recommend you. Consider offering to do the job for free with someone before you take on a paid project.


Check out these helpful resources to learn more about professional pet sitting:

National Asssociation of Professional Pet Sitters - A national organization providing professional certification for pet sitters.

Melissa's Pet Sitting and More - A good example of a website from someone who works in the professional pet sitting industry.

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Every Way to Make Money | Professional Pet Sitting