A pet sitter is responsible to care for a pet (or multiple pets) while their person is away from home. They typically care for the animal while the owners work, travel, are injured, or are sick. They can take care of the pet in the person’s home or at their own home. If you love and enjoy caring for animals, this may be the job for you!
How to Become a Pet Sitter
No formal education is necessary to become a pet sitter. However, being dependable, responsible, good with animals, and having your own transportation are requirements. There are other skills that employers may be looking for in this job, such as knowledge of CPR and first aid for their specific pet. There are certifications available through vocational, and State approved trade schools. You can get qualified through professional associations and private companies with home-study CPR and first aid training programs. You can also refer to the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters for further information on certifications and requirements.
Some skills are needed in this job, such as compassion for pets experiencing anxiety or illness. Watching a pet requires patience and love for animals. You need to be dependable, and be on time and giving the care expected of you. You should be detail-oriented and have problem-solving skills, such as in the case of emergencies. You need to finish all tasks expected of you by the owner, like walking, cleaning up messes, administering medications, and grooming the pet.
What does a Pet Sitter Do?
Pet sitters perform various duties while the owner cannot care for the animal. The longer the owner is gone, the more tasks are required. On a typical day, the sitter would feed and change water bowls. They also exercise and play with the animal. The sitter cleans litter boxes or pet messes in the home or when walking the dog. Some animals require medications, and under the owner’s instructions, they may need to administer them. The sitter may bathe and groom the pet when the owner is gone for extended periods, such as travel. The pet sitter sometimes spends the night or returns multiple times throughout the day. They may have the task of bringing in mail, turning on and off lights, and alternate blinds when the owners are gone. If experienced, some pet sitters can train the animal.
Pet caregivers often sit for more than one animal a day and may even walk multiple pets at a time. Giving exercise to more than one pet is usually done when clients live close together, like in an apartment complex or housing community. Pets can have favorite toys or routines that make them happier while the owner is away. The sitter should do everything possible to ensure the pet is safe and comfortable. A pet sitter must handle emergencies when they arise, like giving CPR or first aid. They should know the contact information of the pet veterinarian and emergency phone numbers provided by the owner.