How to Become a Pet Sitter or Dog Walker
If you love pets, pet sitting or dog walking can be a good fit as a work-from-home job.
It’s also very flexible because you set your own hours.
You can be a stay-at-home mom, a student, a full-time employee etc. You decide your schedule and how much time you can spend as a pet sitter or dog walker.
What’s the demand like for dog walking and pet sitting?
According to the American Pet Products Association, Americans spend $10.3 billion annually on boarding, grooming, training, pet sitting, walking, insurance and other related services outside of veterinary care.
People often travel or have long work days. They don’t want to put their beloved pets in a kennel environment.
Owners want their pets to be happy, comfortable and diligently cared for by people who will treat them like family.
They’ll pay for sitters to look after their pets, whether it’s in the sitter’s home or their own.
How do you even start to become a dog or pet sitter?
You can advertise your services on local sites like Craigslist or Kijiji.
You can also join a company like Rover.
Rover connects pet sitters with a large network of pet owners who are seeking dog boarding, pet sitting, dog walking, or day care services. It brings the clients to you.
Rover is in 10 countries. The company provides a simple platform to start your dog sitting business and gives you the support and tools to successfully get you started.
What are the Rover services?
There are many services you can offer with Rover.
- Boarding: Caring for a dog or cat overnight in your house. Boarding has the highest earning potential. Pet sitters who offer boarding can make up to 2x more than pet sitters who don’t.
- Dog Walking: Taking dogs on walks.
- Dog Daycare: Caring for a dog or cat during the day.
- House-sitting, Drop-ins: Staying with or checking up on pets in their house.
Each request is different. Some might be one pet service or a combination. For example, some dog owners might be going on vacation and want you to look after their dog in their house. In this case, you’re pet sitting and house sitting.
Why choose Rover?
In addition to the large network of clients, one of the main advantages with joining Rover is getting the “Rover Guarantee”, which is a $25,000 insurance coverage for certain injuries or damages occurring during any visit.
They also provide an online platform for payments and a 24/7 vet assistance support team. There’s ongoing education for pet sitters. You have the flexibility of setting your own schedule, pricing and pet preferences.
How much money can a Rover pet sitter make?
Your earnings depends on how much time you can put into this job.
If you’re doing it as a full-time job, you can make a lot more.
Rover sitters doing it as a part-time job, taking 2-3 dogs for 2 weeks/month, earn an average of $1000/month.
While you can make less doing it part-time, this might be exactly what works for your lifestyle and situation. You might just want to pet sit to have extra money for a financial goal like a vacation or buying a house.
How do you become a Rover pet sitter?
The first step is setting up a Rover pet sitter profile. Creating your profile is FREE and easy.
Here are the steps:
- Create your Rover profile. This includes describing who you are, uploading photos, indicating whether you have animals in your house etc. If you’re looking for inspiration on how to fill out this section, check out other Rover sitter’s profiles in your area. You’ll also have to set your preferences including the below:
- Type of dogs or other pets you can care for (including size, age, whether the dog is spayed or neutered etc.)
- What pet services you offer
- What dates you’re available
- What your prices are
- Wait for approval for your application. Once you’ve submitted your application, Rover will review it within 5 business days and let you know if your application has been approved. Once your application’s been approved, you can start to…
- Accept or reject requests based on what works for you.
- Accept payments, which are ready 2 days after a job is completed.
If you’re wondering:
What qualifications do you need to be a pet sitter on Rover?
Approval is based on the question “Will a dog owner have a great experience with this sitter?”.
Just to clarify, you don’t need to have specialized training or certifications to be a pet sitter with Rover.
You just need to love dogs or cats and be able to care for them safely.
What are the Rover costs?
In exchange for using the Rover platform, Rover will take a 20% cut of all of your earnings. You only pay costs once you get paid yourself.
Depending on the service you choose to offer, you might also be charged a small fee to cover a background check.
What’s the process for people looking for Rover pet sitters?
For your reference, this is the process for people seeking pet sitters. It’s very simple:
- Go to Rover.com.
- Enter your preferences including whether you have a dog or cat, your postal or zip code, what pet service you need and the dates you need them for.
- See all the pet sitter profiles that match your needs.
- Contact and book the pet sitter of your choice.
- Pay for the service.
- Write a review (optional).
What are pet sitting best practices at Rover?
Here are a few best practices as a pet sitter:
- Send photo updates during the visit to pet owners. Pet owners can worry about their pets when they’re away. A photo gives them some peace of mind. It can make them feel more relieved about leaving their dog with a stranger.
- Before any booking, meet the pet owner beforehand. Having a meeting like this is important because you need to see if this arrangement is a good fit for both you and the owner. If the meeting goes well, this could potentially be a long-term relationship of repeat business. This is often easy to do as the pet sitter and pet owner lives in the same local area.
Interview with a Rover Pet Sitter
In this interview, Janet shares how to become a dog sitter, why she selected Rover, as well as her favorite aspect and biggest challenge about dog sitting.
Her insights are invaluable for anyone considering becoming a dog sitter with Rover.
1. What’s your background? How did you become a dog sitter?
My background is in Psychology and Therapeutic Recreation from Brock University. I’m a married mom of 3 teens.
I became a dog boarder in September 2017. I was looking to get a job that would compliment my family life as well as follow my passion.
I have always had dogs in my life. They are one of my natural passions so this was obvious to me that this line of business would make me happy as well as supplement my family income.
2. Why did you decide to become a Rover dog sitter?
I began doing research on dog boarding, sitting and walking in the city of Toronto. When I compared the options, Rover stood out as a perfect fit.
I agreed with the mission statement of the company. I was impressed with employee feedback as well as the experiences that the dog owners had while using Rover as a support.
Rover was different in that the business I wanted to create was up to me. If I wanted full time, part time or a combination, that was completely dependent on my commitment.
I also felt supported by Rover with the insurance coverage as well as the 24/7 support for any reason.
3. What’s the most valuable aspect about being a dog sitter with Rover?
The most valuable aspect of being a Rover boarder is that I have created amazing relationships with hundreds of dogs and their owners.
I feel that in some ways I have become a valued support to the families. They trust me with their beloved pets and that humbles and inspires me.
4. Is there anything you feel Rover can do better to support you as a dog sitter?
I feel extremely satisfied with Rover. They ask for feedback consistently so I feel heard and supported by the company.
5. How much money do you make monthly as a Rover sitter? How many hours do you work per week as a Rover sitter?
As mentioned previously, my income depends solely on my availability. To date my doggie stays are 24 hours and usually from 1-2 weeks at a time. If I need a break, I book ‘unavailable’ on my Rover page. It’s a win/win.
6. What costs are involved with being a Rover sitter?
The costs are minimal as all owners are responsible to supply all of the dog food, treats if they are particular, the dog beds, leashes and comfort toys.
That being said, I do have a million toys, balls, frisbees, bowls, leashes and beds and treats in the event that they need or want more. I have no trouble spoiling the pups during their stay. Lol
7. What is your favorite aspect about being a dog sitter?
The very best aspect of my job is the unconditional love that dogs naturally bring to my home. The minute they come in the door we are all laughing and loving them like they are part of our family pack.
The owners seem to feel that energy as well and that gives them peace of mind that their dogs are enjoying a fun filled vacation.
I also love the walks through the parks and forests. I enjoy meeting other dog owners along the way. This always brings a smile to
8. What is your biggest challenge with being a dog sitter?
The biggest challenge is giving them back. I dread packing up their belongings because selfishly I will miss them.
However the moment the owners are reunited with the pups, I see the excitement and love and I feel very satisfied. I was able to honour the dogs and their owners during their stay and that’s why I do this job.
9. What’s your typical day when working as a pet sitter?
My typical day begins at 7 am. I take the dogs out in my fenced in yard for a potty break. They run around and sniff, play with some toys etc. I feed them breakfast and then at 8:30 am, we leave for Sherwood Forest for a 2 hour walk/run/social.
When we come home, typically they fall asleep on my back porch or kitchen. Lol
I also dedicate this time for any training or behavior modification if requested by the owners. I work on bad habits, dominance concerns or weight issues. My exercises can help the dog and their owners have a more positive relationship.
After lunch we take a city walk. Usually around 45 mins.
Dinner and then a neighbourhood stroll. My street is VERY dog friendly and everyone is eager to meet my new or experienced visitor.
The evening is usually play and free time in the backyard.
Bed time is 11 pm.
10. What are your top 3 tips to get started as a dog sitter?
Top tips are:
- Do your research. Look into the guidelines of the company you are considering working for. Do they compliment your expectations? Do they support you as an employee? Do they provide safety and educational resources?
- Is your home environment appropriate for this line of business? Is your family or roommate committed to this job? Are they comfortable with dogs? Is your space safe for dogs? Do you have experience and patience with dogs? Will you commit the time and effort toward dogs and their owners?
- Are you doing this for the right reasons? This can be an emotional job.
You have to have compassion for the dogs and their owners. You have to have the time to communicate with the owners.
I LOVE what I do❣️
A big thanks to Janet for her dog sitter and Rover insights!
If you’re interested in joining Rover as a pet sitter, you can sign up to become a Rover Pet Sitter here.
Interested in other work-from-home opportunities?
Here are additional work at home options:
- SEO Writer – earn $20,000+/month
- Virtual Assistant – make $100/hour
- Transcriptionist – earn more than $100,000/year
- Scopist (edit legal files) – earn $4000/month
- Pinterest Account Manager – make $30+/hour
- Online English Teacher – make $26/hour with Qkids
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