What is a Dog Sitter?

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  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 19 July 2019
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A dog sitter is a person who cares for canines when the owners are away or busy. Dog sitters can work on a daily basis, taking Fido and Rex for walks while the owner is at work, or may be hired for weeks or even months to care for dogs if the owner is away for a long period of time. Dog sitters typically have a deep love of animals and may even have a background in veterinary medicine or animal training.

Although dog sitters can often be hired on a casual basis, some work as full-time professionals and run their own dog sitting business. Depending on local laws, a professional dog sitter may need to have insurance and business licenses in order to legally work. Before choosing to become a dog sitter, or hiring one, take a look at local business regulations to ensure that the work is performed within legal requirements.

Dog sitting may sound like a fun job for younger workers, but it can be difficult and even dangerous. Dogs are unpredictable around strangers, and may threaten or even injure a newcomer that invades their space or tries to give them commands. Those hiring dog sitters should ask for references to ensure that the sitter is professional and capable; dog sitters may also want to meet the dog several times before accepting the position.


Services provided by a dog sitter can vary from person to person. Basic services include feeding and cleaning up after the dog as well as providing exercise and playtime. Additionally, dog sitters may agree to groom the dog, take it for checkups and emergency medical care, and even provide luxury services like massages, freshly prepared meals, and special doggy treats.

Many professional dog sitters have a history with the animals as pets, but may also have additional animal care training as well. Some work as veterinary technicians and can provide emergency medical care for sick animals. Others have experience training dogs, and can even teach their charges a few new tricks. Many have multiple clients and will take several dogs on walks or to play in packs; be certain to tell the dog sitter if an animal does not get along well with others.

Some dog sitters provide kennels where dogs can be boarded while the owner is away, while others offer to visit the owner's house daily to care for the animal. While keeping the dogs in their familiar environment can be preferable to some owners, be certain that the sitter can be trusted to have access to the house by checking references. Sitters, too, need to exert basic caution when going to an owner's house to protect themselves from scams or harm.



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