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Home > General > How Much Do Pet Sitters Make? (2024 Salary Guide)

How Much Do Pet Sitters Make? (2024 Salary Guide)

Cute hungry Welsh corgi dogs waiting for food from dog sitter in dog cafe

Isn’t it the dream of any animal lover to be able to make a living spending time with animals? Imagine waking up to go to work and getting to snuggle cats and walk dogs all day. While pet sitting does have unique challenges, it is a rewarding job with many perks. If you’ve been considering becoming a pet sitter, you’re probably wondering what salary to expect. Most American pet sitters get paid approximately $16.41 per hour, but your wage can vary a lot depending on various factors.

Keep reading to learn how much pet sitters can make and what you need to do to make your dream of caring for animals for a living come true.


What Does a Pet Sitter Make?

A pet sitter's salary will depend on a lot of variables, including:
  • Their geographical location
  • How many animals they’re caring for
  • What services they’re providing outside of pet sitting
  • Size of their client base
  • If they’re working for themselves or an employer

Take a look at the following chart to get an idea of what pet sitters are getting paid hourly and yearly across the globe.

Country Per Hour Per Year
United States $16.41 $34,125
Canada $20 $39,000
United Kingdom £15 £29,250
Australia $30.77 $60,000


Pet sitters may also earn tips. Many clients will tip between 15–20%, which can significantly increase your income.

It’s important to mention that money isn’t the main motivation for a lot of house-sitters. A lot of them primarily choose to do it because they love pets and because house sitting allows them to land free stays.

If you’re interested in becoming a house sitter then we highly recommend reading this helpful guide from Travel Lemming.

maltese dog walking with owner at the park
Image Credit: artellliii72, Pixabay

What Do Pet Sitters Do?

A pet sitter’s job is to care for pets while their owners are on a holiday or working long hours. They will either move into their client’s home when they are away, board the animals in their own home, or make daily visits to the client’s home to ensure the pets in their care are taken care of. It’s typically best for a pet sitter to come to their client’s home to do the care rather than board them as most animals feel more comfortable in a space they’re familiar with.

Pet sitters perform a variety of tasks during their day, including:
  • Feeding the animals
  • Refilling water dishes
  • Cleaning litter boxes or cages
  • Cleaning up accidents
  • Giving medication
  • Walking dogs
  • Playing with the animals

Pet sitters can interact with animal species outside of cats and dogs. Fish, birds, reptiles, and small mammals like rabbits or guinea pigs are popular pets. They are considered exotic animals, however, and require very different and specific care. Pet sitters planning to offer services for exotic pets must research how to properly care for these animals.

How Does One Become a Pet Sitter?

Pet sitters don’t need formal education or training to perform their job. That’s not to say that any person off the street can become a pet sitter, though. However, you must have experience with animals to do your job well.

Most pet sitters have first-hand experience with the animals they offer to care for. They’ve either been a pet owner or had previous experience working with animals in a prior job.

Though you don’t need to go to school to become a pet sitter, we recommend taking pet first aid courses. Not only will this make you more adept at your job, but it will give your client peace of mind. They’ll feel more comfortable leaving their animals in your care if they know you can perform first aid if an accident occurs.

Where Do Pet Sitters Work?

Pet sitters can either work for themselves or work for an employer.

Pet-sitting employers may charge more than an independent contractor, but clients will be afforded more benefits. For example, companies typically run background checks on prospective employees, so clients can relax knowing their pet sitter doesn’t have a sketchy past. Employers will also take care of scheduling and provide the equipment their sitters need to perform their job.

Companies are often bonded and insured, which provides additional protection for clientele. They also typically have strict rules regarding adherence to company policies and procedures. If employees do not do their job well, they will be held responsible.

Pet sitters working for themselves run their own pet-sitting businesses. They set their hours and provide their own tools and equipment. They may have a day job and do pet sitting on the side for extra money or to sneak in snuggles with more animals.

It can be difficult for individuals to make a good living pet sitting, especially when first starting. It can take a long time to build a client base, and you’ll primarily rely on word of mouth for marketing for the first while. That’s not to say it’s impossible, however. You might not want to quit your day job to do pet sitting full-time until you’re sure you have enough work to pay the bills.

cat at an animal shelter
Image Credit: JW Design, Shutterstock

What Skills Do Pet Sitters Need?

To be the most successful pet sitter, you need a particular set of skills and competencies. These include:


Potential clients will not hire you if you are not responsible enough to do the job you’re hired for. People rely on you to care for their beloved family members, so you must be willing to show up every day and perform the tasks expected of you.

Love of animals

You wouldn’t hire someone who hates dogs to come to your home and care for your pup while you’re away. The best pet sitters are animal lovers that enjoy spending time with animals and have an understanding of their needs.


Pet sitters need to be able to communicate not only with the pets they’re caring for but with the owners, too. It is essential to communicate with your clients when they’re away so they know that you’re performing the duties you were hired to and to give them peace of mind, too. Keep them updated on what their pets have been up to, and even send a picture or two for bonus points.


There may come a time when you cannot reach your clients despite your best efforts. In this case, you will need to be proactive and solve challenges alone.


When your clients are away, you’re in charge of making decisions about their pet’s care. You will have to decide when to contact the owner for guidance or to take the pet to the vet. For example, a cat you’re pet-sitting may be yowling in pain, so you will need to decide whether you’ll take it to the vet for care.


If you provide care for your client’s pets in their home, you need to prove you’re trustworthy. Your clients will trust you with their homes and beloved pets, so you’ll need to act with integrity and competence.

man walking dog
Image Credit: Jaromir Chalabala, Shutterstock


Final Thoughts

Pet sitting is a rewarding and fulfilling job, but it isn’t easy work. So many things can go wrong while your clients are away, and you’ll be solely responsible for their beloved furry family members. It is a big job with many responsibilities, but pet sitting will always be in high demand, so you’ll always have work once you build a client base.

See also: How to Start a Pet-Sitting Business in 11 Steps

Featured Image Credit: Verin, Shutterstock

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