How do I become a professional pet sitter?

Professional pet sitters on TikTok
Professional pet sitters on TikTok. Screenshot.

To answer the question in the title, what I would do is go to the TikTok website and search for "pet sitting" or "pet sitter" and look at one or two of the videos and from that you will find all you need to know to start off on a career as a pet sitter. These people have done it. They've got the t-shirt! They should know and it is a very simply starting point. But makes sure that you are the right kind of person.

In essence, there are quite a few organisations which act as an agent between a professional pet sitter who wants to provide the service and the customer who has a cat or dog that requires pet sitting. But I would strongly recommend looking at these TikTok videos because it really does get you going and one of them is below. There are many others.

@frogmommyyy Reply to @magic.melk here you go folks #petsitting #SmellLikeIrishSpring #petsitter #rover #UnsealTheMeal ♬ original sound - riley

One couple do it professionally and they travel wherever their work takes them which often means travelling abroad and sometimes staying in really nice homes while they look after a couple of cats.

It obviously cuts down the cost of travelling and enjoying the experience of visiting new countries tremendously. And of course, there is time during one's day at the customer's apartment or house to take a quick tour around the location and become a tourist briefly.

@nomadsandpawpads Our first of many sits in Europe is going to hard to top! We had so much fun with these two and we miss them already. 🥰 We’re so excited to share where we are now! More updates coming soon, and If you want to learn more about travel by pet sitting follow our page of check out our website!🙌🏼 #fyp #fypage #europetravel #travelhack #abroad #travelingpetsitter #travel ♬ Eine Kleine Nachtmusik - Mozart

If you like travel and animals and are conscientious, self-disciplined and well behaved then I would suggest that a professional pet sitter is a good job because they are in demand. And the work is internationally based.

Link to rovers.co.uk

In the UK, there is a cost-of-living crisis and I suspect that quite a lot of people are supplementing their income through pet sitting. I have recently read a story of a young woman who earns over £3000 annually pet sitting to help her make ends meet. It is a way of earning money on a freelance basis as a self-employed person. This is always welcome because it allows some flexibility. But also, it carries extra responsibilities.


You can ignore this section if you simply want to know how to get started on pet sitting and you are convinced that you have all the right attributes.

Attributes

Nonetheless, I think that it is useful to at least touch on the attributes of a good pet sitter. Not everybody can do the job. You've got to really like cats and dogs if you pet sit cats and dogs and often there will be a cat and a dog in the same home, so you got to like both of them.

Oh, and it pays to have no family obligations like kids and pets of your own! Common sense, I guess.

It doesn't really work if you are allergic to cats and dogs!

You really must have some knowledge of cat and dog behaviour. And indeed, some cat/dog health knowledge would certainly help so that you can pick up health issues quickly and be observant about them and be able to distinguish between health issues which you can wait and watch and those that require veterinary treatment urgently.

Above all else you need to respect domestic cats and dogs. You need to respect their behavioural traits, demands and requirements.

Vis-à-vis a domestic cat, you really must not let them escape and there is a potential for a full-time indoor cat to try and escape.

There is no other breach of contract greater for a pet sitter than to have to tell the cat's owner that you have lost their cat during the time that you were a pet sitter for them.

To avoid the possibility of losing a cat you have to be diligent, cautious and aware of the potential problems that might exist and shut them off in a timely manner.

It probably pays for a professional pet sitter to have with them their own first-aid box and other professional health accessories and medication to use as and when required.

On a personal level, pet sitters will have to be insured against liabilities in relation to damage to the pet's owner's property and against, for example, losing a cat as described above. Any accident should be insured against.

Pet sitting is a responsible job
Pet sitting is a responsible job. Image: Pixabay.

The corollary to that is that the homeowner and pet owner should also take out insurance to protect themselves. What if a pet sitter is injured while in their home and it is because the home is defective? That would be an instance where the owner would be personally liable. There are countless other possibilities. It's about what is called 'occupiers' liability' and protecting against it.

Clearly, a professional pet sitter needs to be a good communicator both with humans and pets! They need to reassure the cat and dog owners that they can trust them. The greatest problem or the greatest barrier to a cat or dog owner permitting a pet sitter to live in their home and look after their companion animals is believing that the pet sitter will respect their home and their animals. 

It is in believing that when they come home after their holiday or whatever they come back to a home in exactly the same state that they left it.

Companion animal owners need to feel completely relaxed with pet sitters looking after cats and dogs. Otherwise, is going to be difficult for them if, for example, they are on holiday.

I don't think that a pet sitter can do a good job if they think it's easy. If they think it's easy, they might be lazy, and laziness can lead to unforeseen catastrophes. It is absolutely essential that the cats and dogs are kept safe in their charge. That's the first requirement.

If things go wrong, they should contact the owners and talk through what is going on. There needs to be excellent communication as it will help to reassure the owners that all is well.

I think a pet sitter takes on a very responsible job because they are taking charge of a family member or family members for a period of time, and these are very important individuals to the owners.

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