Whether you have a small number of pets or a large number of canines, finding a reliable dog sitter is one of the most critical steps you will take in caring for your animals while you are away. The individual who, in your absence, you will designate as “the responsible party” must be someone who inspires complete and total confidence in you. When it comes to providing your animals with high-caliber care, you have a variety of choices and avenues to pursue at your disposal. The following are the three most typical:
- Boarding your dogs at a vet or boarding kennel
- Employing the services of a pet sitter or dog walker to visit your house anywhere from once to three times each day.
- Employing the services of a pet sitter to live in your home while you are away.
During the course of my research for this post, I verified prices with each of the aforementioned companies across a cross-section of the nation. I made an effort to include both coastlines and the middle of the country since costs in various geographical locations vary somewhat. Bear in mind that these were the “most prevalent” prices that I came up with in my research. Every sitter for animals will have a comprehensive rate sheet, and they will provide it to you if you ask for it.
The first alternative seems to be the one that is most well-liked by households who are home to simply one or two canines or felines. This entails transporting the dogs to the kennel, where they will spend the night in either runs or cages. However, there are some kennels that now provide bedrooms with televisions for an additional cost of around $30–$40 per night.
The majority of kennels that I researched base their prices on the dog’s weight. Small dogs weighing less than 20 pounds often cost between $10 and $15 a night, while larger dogs weighing more than 20 pounds typically cost between $13 and $18 per night. Some kennels give their own food, while others ask you to provide your own, which is the option that I would advise you to go with. It would appear that making dietary adjustments to a dog at a moment of high stress would not be the best choice.
There are a few of these kennels that provide pick-up services on Sundays during particular hours. When I investigated, the majority of owners were available to meet throughout the hours of one to five or three to five on Sundays.
The majority of veterinary boarding facilities do not provide pick-up services on Sundays.
The second alternative is to work with a sitter who will spend the day at your house looking after your children. Dogs, on the other hand, need at least two to three visits every day while cats require less. The sitter goes about their duties according to the schedule that you have outlined for her or him while they are there.
If you want your dogs to have daily walks, this often entails providing them with food and exercise, as well as cleaning their area and taking them for walks.
The majority of companies that provide pet sitting services charge an average of $20 for a visit that lasts for thirty minutes, which covers up to two dogs and three cats. My research revealed that most charge an extra sum between $3.00 and $5.00 more for each additional pet in excess of two canines.
There will be an additional payment for holidays, either per visit or per day.
All of the sitters I contacted are members of organizations that establish criteria, maintain pet sitting registrations and other similar services. There is not currently a need to have a license in order to become a pet sitter; however, there may be other types of state licenses that are necessary in order to run a company in the state. The vast majority of sitters have both insurance and bonds. They provide services that can include other things you would need to be done while you are gone, and they have a cost schedule that includes sitting for your animals. In addition, they provide this service. Here are a few examples of fee schedules for dog sitters that will come to your house on a “per visit” basis. I talked with a number of different dog sitters before compiling this list.
A sitter from Texas:
The prices shown include care for up to two dogs, four cats, or two cages depending on your preference. A small charge will be assessed for each extra pet.
The price for a visit of thirty minutes with two animals is twenty dollars. Each additional dog, cat, or bird costs an additional three dollars.
*Additional $10 visit rate applies for major holidays.
*Additional Fee for Medications: $3 Pilling, $5 Injections and $10 Fluids
A sitter from the west coast:
The prices shown include care for up to two dogs, four cats, or two cages depending on your preference. A small charge will be assessed for each extra pet.
A sitter from the east coast:
One visit a day for one or two dogs, twenty dollars each
Two visits a day for one or two dogs are available for $36.00. (Additional pets extra and discounted weekly rates)
A sitter from the south:
Here’s one from the south that charges $5.00 extra for each dog above the allotted one dog walked. Daily Dog Walking
Dogs are walked for 20 minutes in your neighborhood.
No ‘Group Walks’ – Your dog(s) get full attention.
Rates are $20 per visit for one dog, plus $5 per visit for each additional dog.
Some added costs were applied for various things like…
Cancellation fees, administering medications and
Vet trips are always extra. Extra $2.00 per visit if gas is over $2.75 per gallon with one pet sitter I checked. However, savings could be found with 10% discounts to prepay for the week.
Almost every pet sitter I checked offers the following services for an additional fee of $20 per day and even a few I checked included it as complimentary… It’s called the mail & plant watering package
- Mail and newspaper brought in
- Plant and garden watering
- Alternate lights and blinds.
- VCR Recording
The one common thread was that the charges are for 30 minutes on average. Some sitters would stay up to 45 minutes per visit.
So for a summation of charges… if I were to have a sitter come to my home to take care of my ten TTs it would cost me an average of $44-$50 per visit. Multiply that by three visits which is the minimum I would even consider and that would put me at $150 a day to have a sitter come three times a day. If I wanted additional services i.e. dog walking, mail, and plant package, it could add up to an additional $40 per day.
My daughter is now working as a dog sitter for eight dogs, seven of which are shown golden retrievers and one of which is a shihzu. To add insult to injury, these individuals haven’t been away from their pets in eight years! She will visit at certain intervals and do duties such as feeding and cleaning. Because of some really nasty hot spots, they had to keep two of the golden retrievers on e-collars for the whole two weeks. This makes things a little bit more challenging. She must thus monitor these hot areas, treat them, and be able to determine if any of the sores are not healing correctly. In addition, she must deal with the slobbery mess and worry that are caused by e-collars. In addition, she is expected to clean all of the dog areas daily, mop all of the dog areas daily, wash dishes and buckets daily, check and clean all of the air conditioner filters, pick up all of the yards daily and haul off to the dump, love on the dogs, and spend quality time with them. She is also expected to groom the dogs every day, clean their ears every other day, exercise them in the various play yards, and mop all of the dog areas daily. She tells me about all the adorable things they did, how she already knows each of their tiny personalities, and how she is having the best of her life hanging out with these amazing Golden retrievers when she gets home. She has even learned how to remove the odd tick that likes to make its home in the wooded regions that surround her home. Because she detests coming into contact with ticks, it is often something that falls on my shoulders while we are at home. When she was my babysitter, I made sure to teach her to have her mobile phone attached to her at all times! It is impossible to predict when you may find yourself in a predicament that requires you to make instant phone contact with someone. When she went to care for the dogs for the first time, she discovered, when she stepped out into the play yard, that all of the doors automatically lock when they shut, and that her keys were inside on the counter!! Just a quick reminder of anything the owners failed to mention to her! Therefore, she kept her composure, contacted me, and asked for my guidance. She decided that she wouldn’t be able to squeeze through the doggie doors, so she scaled the 8-foot chain link fence, walked around the open door, and entered the building via the main entrance. Crisis averted without incident; nonetheless, the point is that the owners may not recall minor things like this that they take for granted, which is why you want a sitter who is going to be able to stay cool and address difficulties sensibly and with a clear mind. The bottom line is that you need someone who loves dogs!! Someone who understands how those of us who own dogs think! You should also make sure that someone is there who is able to discern when a dog is not behaving to their full potential. If your dog’s sitter isn’t paying attention to the dog’s cries for aid, even little issues may snowball into major problems. For this reason, a lot of individuals are interested in hiring veterinary technicians or people like Caroline, who grew up in a show house.
Dogs might not be able to communicate verbally with their owners, but they are still able to let them know when something is wrong. All you have to do is learn to decipher the language they use to convey this information, which can be communicated through a dog’s eyes, actions, and body language, as well as shifts in eating habits and other behaviors. Every single thing that is done differently than usual is a warning flag that you should not disregard.
This takes me to the third option, which is to hire a dog sitter to come into your house and remain for the whole of your time away from it. When I have to leave my dogs behind, I will do so using this approach. Because you are inviting this person into your home to live there and take over your life while you are gone, I believe that house sitting is one of the most challenging types of pet sitting to find a sitter for. This is because you are giving this person the responsibility of running your household while you are away. I can freely confess that I am an incredibly fussy person, to the point that I have dismissed all of my previous home and dog sitters with the exception of the one I am using now, who is fantastic! I went through a good number of them until I found this woman, who fulfills all of my expectations for the ideal dog sitter. When we go back, my home, the doggy areas, the dogs, and the yards are all spotless thanks to her. She is excellent with the TTs, and all of the dogs adore her to bits and pieces. Her daily wage is $75, and if I have small pups, I give her an additional $25 per day to take care of the additional responsibilities that come with having puppies. I give her my video rental card as well as full access to our house, the pool, a well-stocked pantry and refrigerator, and, if necessary, my vehicle. I also give her complete access to our home. Even if it is not a vacation, I believe that she takes great pleasure in the time that she spends here. She has shown herself to be trustworthy and dependable, and as a result, I have no hesitation in giving her a glowing recommendation. If someone is prepared to pay for her out-of-town travel expenses, she will do it and has done so in the past. She is able to comprehend the TT mindset and has developed the ability to communicate with them in the same way that we do. When I go home, I know that they have had a good day with her because she has entertained them, paid them genuine attention, and played with them. They are all hurrying toward her as if they don’t want her to go anywhere. In preparation for her first two trips to this house, I had images of all of the dogs, together with their names and a distinguishing trait for each, printed out. This was necessary since I have four red and white dogs that all get along with each other. As soon as she had her first two jobs here, I was no longer required to do that since she is quite familiar with all of the procedures. I utilize a color-coded method to leave her instructions hanging in my breezeway using dry erase boards, and each board has a different color. If she has any questions while she is here, she may consult the boards, and she has also come to visit with me several days before we depart so that I can address any concerns she may have.
I posted a question on one of my show dog groups asking other breeders on the list if they would be willing to share their experiences with dog sitters, and I received a few comments that are quite useful. The first three are about finding a sitter, and the final one is extremely useful advice from a home and dog sitter on things you should know from the sitter’s point of view on what you should know.
One breeder wrote:
I pay anything from $25.00 – $40.00 for the trainer to come to check on the dogs and spend time with them, up to and including $100.00 – 200.00 for the duration of Friday afternoon – Sunday afternoon. During an overnight visit, the dog(s) may sleep on the person’s bed with them (unless the dogs lie down and all of their brains come out of their ears), or up to two of the dogs may spend the night in crates.
Here includes both what I look for in a pet sitter as well as my actual questionnaire that I encourage prospective pet sitters to fill out:
We breed SHOW dogs and Security Horses here at our facility. We are Mounted Patrol riders for Bush Intercontinental Airport, as well as breeders and exhibitors of Great Danes. In addition to that, we have one cow, two cats and two birds that live outdoors. Because of the high cost of petrol, there are occasions when our performance schedule needs us to drive a significant distance. Because of this, we often choose to remain in the same location where we performed the previous night. When we are compelled to remain overnight, we are required to leave certain of our creatures behind. These include horses, cats, and birds, as well as dogs that are not displayed.
We are looking for a pet sitter that is PROFESSIONAL in providing our pets with CORRECT care and who pays undivided attention to our animals while they are here caring for them. We are seeking a pet sitter that can provide care for our animals at our home, in the familiar surroundings that they are used to, regardless of whether the pet sitter decides to spend the night or just pay many visits to our home.
Some of the recommended regulations that should be taken into consideration right away:
- We have neighbors who will keep an eye out for the pet sitter as she enters and exits the house.
- The house is not to be entered by anybody while we are away, with the exception of the pet sitter.
- It is very forbidden to take birds from their cages or touch them in any way. Although the birds are friendly, I do not want them handled in case someone is hurt while doing so.
- You are required to have a mobile phone on you at all times so that you can get in touch with us in the case of a crisis.
- You have to be able to lift at least 20 kilograms (44 pounds).
- During the time that the pet sitter is responsible for our animals, he or she may bring NO personal pets of their own.
- We live on an acre, so our dogs get enough exercise, and we will not allow them to leave the property unless there is an emergency.
These guidelines, which are outlined above, are subject to modification.
My actual questionnaire
1. Have you ever pet sit for a Great Dane or are you familiar with bloat issues? Do you feel you are mentally and physically able to handle a bloat case?
2. Have you ever seen a Manchester Terrier and are you familiar with Terrier behaviors?
3. Have you ever pet sit for horses and are you familiar with the signs of colic?
4. Do you have three references to offer as to your character and responsibility around animals or house sitting? Please no family or close best friends, preferably someone you have pet sit for.
5. If not bonded, how do you feel about pets sitting in the pet owner’s residence and being responsible around their property and its contents? Are you a trustworthy person?
6. Are you scared to handle birds if an emergency arises with one of my birds? Do you properly know how to remove a bird from its cage if the bird will not step up onto your hand?
7. Do you like cats?
8. Do you have a problem filling in our daily care log if we hire you?
9. If your pet sits for more than one family the same day you are scheduled to come to tend to our animals do you have a problem with changing clothes and removing shoes prior to entering our residence? We are very cautious about our show animals obtaining viruses from others pets and we take extra precautions.
10. Are you a college student?
I look forward to reading your responses and possibly setting up a personal meeting to introduce you to all our pets and provide you with our show schedule, etc. if hired.
I keep an eye out for a variety of various items. I want them to come over and get familiar with my dog’s routine ahead of time even if it will cost me additional money. This is the most important thing. While this manner, the dogs will be able to enjoy a higher level of comfort in my absence. But that is not the only reason I want them to arrive beforehand. I also want them to come because… I also pay attention to see whether they are picking up the names of my pets. If they are not going to make the effort to learn the names of my dogs, then I have reason to believe that they will not give the appropriate level of care while I am gone.
In addition, it is important to me to find someone with prior expertise in the medical field. It would seem that they are more prepared than others to handle unexpected situations.
When I am looking for someone to take care of my dogs while I am gone, I try to find someone who can remain at my home while I am gone, at the very least in the evening and overnight.
More resources: National Association of Professional Pet Sitters