If you love playing with dogs, cuddling cats, and are passionate about pets in general, you might be thinking about starting a side hustle or even a pet sitting business.
Pet sitters provide a critical service for traveling pet parents who need to be away from home for an extended period of time. If you love playing with dogs, cuddling cats, and are passionate about pets in general, you might be thinking about starting a side hustle or even a pet sitting business, especially if animals seem to enjoy being with you too.
Not only will you be getting paid to do something you love, but the animals will always be much happier staying at their home rather than the alternative of being sent to a strange pet hotel or a boarding kennel. With that in mind, below is the essential guide ensuring your first pet sitting gig is a success!
A must love for animals
Pet sitting is not a good idea for anyone who doesn’t enjoy being around animals or finds them annoying or needy. You need to absolutely love pets of all types. Otherwise being responsible for someone else’s pets will inevitably become too demanding and extremely stressful.
Loving animals is by far the most important requirement of being a great pet sitter because pets often act very similar to young children. They have needs, fears, and feelings just like people to want your love and attention. That’s why most clients will expect you to treat their furry family members just like they’re one of your own.
You might also consider giving your loyal clients pet portraits to show how much you appreciate them.
When owners decide to hire a pet sitter, they want to meet them first to know who will be looking after their little fur baby. Before you take a job, book a time to meet inside their home to reassure your client and develop a connection with their pet.
Watching you bonding with their pet will also give them a little peace of mind knowing that their little guy will be left with someone caring and understanding to animals. You also want to make sure that the pet is as comfortable with you as you are with it. Remember not to take it personally if their pet is timid or aggressive in your presence, and they decide to find another pet sitter.
Get all the information
It’s essential to familiarise yourself with all the important information about each pet that will be in your care. Discuss what their expectations are and go through a typical day in their pet’s life.
Ask your client a checklist of questions about their pet’s specific routines for eating, drinking, playtime, treats, where everything is kept like leashes, food, bowls, and medications. Here are some other questions to think about:
- When should you take the dog for a walk?
- Is the dog allowed outside?
- How often should you feed the dog?
- Does the client have any other major concerns?
That’s why it is always a good idea to record all details, including emergency contact numbers for the client and the veterinarian, alarm codes, food amounts, and medication dosages. You should find out everything so you can keep the same schedule to lower their stress levels, so they’re comfortable with you. Remember that there’s no such thing as too much information, and it’s always better to be over-prepared.
Most clients will be more likely to use your pet sitting services if you can prove you have plenty of experience with other animals. While no formal education is required for you to become a pet sitter, getting some professional training to become certified as a pet sitter or even as a dog groomer can really help increase your credibility and build your reputation.
That’s because certification tells your clients that you take your work seriously and are dedicated to always providing the very best possible care for their pets. Besides looking good on a resume, professional training is also required if you decide to work for a pet sitting agency. And the more knowledge you can prove you have, the easier it will become for you to find work.
Challenging, yet rewarding
Being a pet sitter is a rewarding but challenging experience. Anyone can feed pets, give them water, and play with them, but the difference between an average pet sitter and an excellent one that clients rave about is all in the details. That’s why some of the better sitters visit multiple times a day, whereas the best will go the extra mile and offer to live at their client’s homes while they’re away.
Ultimately, pet sitters need to provide animals with the highest level of professional care to make the whole experience as stress-free as possible for the pets and their parents. Learn how to provide an amazing pet sitting service and before too long, you’ll be in demand all over town!
about the author
Luke Fitzpatrick has been published in various publications such as Forbes, Tech In Asia, and The Next Web. He is also a guest lecturer at the University of Sydney, lecturing in cross-cultural management and the pre-MBA program.