Tipping is a regular part of American culture. While other locations do not usually tip, it isn’t uncommon to tip for just about any service in America. Therefore, if you hire a dog walker, boarder, or sitter, they may be expecting a tip at the end of the job.
Usually, this is most common for dog walkers. Dog walkers typically do not make very much. If they are hired by a larger company, their wages may even assume that they are getting a tip of some sort. Generally, between 10%–20% is average, depending on the quality of the service.
A dog walker that is okay should get around 10%, while those that were particularly good should get an extra 20%. Usually, these tips should be done in cash, though some payment methods provide a spot for a tip.
Tipping is not necessarily expected for boarders or sitters. If your pet needs extra care, you may want to tip an independent sitter between 10% to 20% extra, depending on the level of extra work they put in. (Of course, this is not necessary if that extra work was already budgeted into their price).
For boarders, tipping is usually not expected, especially if they work for a larger company. The person you meet at the front desk is likely not the person caring for your dog, so it doesn’t always make sense to tip them.
Special Circumstances to Consider
There are always special circumstances to consider when tipping your dog walker, boarder, or sitter. Around the holidays, you may want to consider tipping them extra as a bonus if they are a long-term employee of yours. If you’ve had the same dog walker for years, they may deserve an extra tip around the holidays.
However, this is not typically necessary, especially if you don’t know the person very well. For instance, if you hire a dog walker through a company and the individual changes often, it may not make sense to leave a tip.
There are other reasons that you may want to leave a tip, especially if you’re hiring an independent care person:
Sometimes, these jobs are added to the final cost. In this case, you may not need to add an extra tip. For instance, it is not uncommon for some walkers to charge extra for “difficult dogs”. You don’t need to pay this extra fee and then tip as well.
If extra costs weren’t added in, you may want to throw in an extra few dollars.
What Is a Good Tip for a Pet Sitter?
If you wish to tip your pet sitter, the usual rule of 10%-20% is good to follow. 10% would represent a decent job, but not someone who went above and beyond what you were expecting. However, if extra services were performed or you were simply really happy with the job, then you may want to pay 20% extra.
It is recommended to have this tip available in cash, as not all payment modes allow for a tip.
- Related Read: 10 Best Pet Sitting Apps Reviews & Top Picks
Are You Supposed to Tip Wags Walkers?
Wags is a platform that dog walkers can advertise on and pet owners can hire walkers from. They also have a small number of dog sitters.
This platform takes about 40% out of the overall payment for the walk. Therefore, the actual walker is only getting 60%—and they have to pay an application fee when they first start on the platform. Therefore, tipping is absolutely appreciated, as these walkers are making significantly less due to the cut Wags is taking.
However, tipping is not absolutely required. Based on our research, it doesn’t look like most walkers receive tips regularly. However, quite a few reported receiving a tip during the winter holidays—sometimes as much as $200. Of course, this typically occurred when they worked for the same family regularly.
In high-cost-of-living areas, tipping seems to be more common. Some walkers even stated that they stopped walking for people who did not tip, so you may want to consider tipping a small amount ($2–$8).
With that said, those that walk independently often do not need a tip, as they’re taking home 100% of the money. On the other hand, those that work for a company are often taking home only about 50% of the overall cost. Wags walkers fall into this latter category, so a tip will be very appreciated.
How Much Should I Tip My Dog Walker at Christmas?
It depends. If you already tip regularly, tipping slightly more than you usually do is often enough. However, if you don’t tip regularly, you may want to offer them what you usually pay for a month’s worth of walks. Usually, this is around $100 to $200.
Of course, it also depends on what you can afford. If you make more than the average income in your area, you may want to consider paying closer to $200 for the weekly tip.
It also depends on how well you know the dog walker and how long they have been working for you. A new dog walker that you tip regularly may only get $50 as a Christmas bonus. However, someone who has been walking your dog for years may deserve as much as $200.
Generally, we recommend between $40 and $200, and that seems to be what most dog walkers receive.
With that said, the “proper” amount is up to one week’s pay. Therefore, you may want to consider this advice. The amount you tip should absolutely depend on the amount you usually pay your walker.
Tipping those that provide your pet with services is not absolutely necessary. If the sitter or walker is independent, sitting is not typically required or expected. However, dog walkers that walk for companies often only receive a small portion of what the walk costs. Therefore, they are more appreciative of tips.
While tips still aren’t absolutely necessary, some walkers have reported avoiding walking for those that do not tip. Therefore, if you appreciate a person’s service and wish for them to walk for you again, you should seriously consider tipping.
Luckily, tipping does not have to be expensive and 10%-20% is often good for most walkers and sitters.
Dog boarders are a bit different. Because there are usually several people caring for your dog, tipping is usually not recommended or necessary. You wouldn’t know who to tip, anyway.
Featured Image Credit: SB Arts Media, Shutterstock