Whenever I go away and can’t take my dogs with, I pay a dog sitter to look after them. I first ask all my friends to see if anyone can help, otherwise I book a professional sitter through an agency. I have a friend who’s dog sitting next month and she asked me how much to charge. So, I took some time to do the research and here’s what I found out…
Most dog owners pay professional dog sitters $13 to visit their dog for 30 minutes. Dog walks with a sitter cost about $17, care visits for an hour or less cost $9 to $50, dog daycare is about $45 per day, and overnight visits run between $45 and $85 per night.
Some people just choose the cheapest dog sitters or don’t know how much to pay a friend to dog sit. There are actually a few simple things to think about before you talk about the money. Discussing these things with your dog sitter can make a huge difference in what you pay and the level of care your dog gets. The prize here is to negotiate so that you and the dog sitter are both happy with the price and services involved…
What dog sitting services you need
Dog sitters can offer many different services to help you out. Here’s a list of some common services that a dog sitter can offer:
|List of Dog Sitting Services|
|Visits||Feed the dog, give fresh water, give medications, let the dog out, play with the dog|
|Walks||Take the dog for a walk|
|Dog Grooming||May wash and/or brush your dog or be certified as a dog groomer for the works – dog wash and cut at your house|
|Training and Behavior Modification||Sitter trains your dog, for example how to walk with pulling on the lead, how to sit, etc.|
|Dog Daycare||Your dog spends the day with the sitter and maybe other dogs|
|Stay Overnight||Sitter spends the night in your home or hosts the dog in their home|
|Dog Boarding||Your dog sleeps over at the dog sitter’s home|
|Transport||The dog sitter takes your dog to the vet, the groomer, or wherever you need your dog taken|
|Dog Fence Installation||A professional dog fence installation to stop your dog from getting out|
|Wedding Service||The dog sitter takes care of your dog during your wedding|
|Garden Cleaning Services||The dog sitter picks up the dog poop in your yard|
Think about what services you need from the dog sitter and be clear from the beginning what the dog sitting job will involve. Don’t keep quiet and hope you can slip in some extra responsibilities along the way.
Are they just going to walk the dog for 30 minutes or do they need to give your dog medication, too?
The more services you ask for, the more you should be prepared to pay.
What other dog sitters get paid for their services
The charges for dog sitting services vary a lot, depending on which state you live in and how much experience the dog sitter has. Here’s a table of dog sitting services and what they typically cost:
|Dog Sitting Service||Price Range||Average Price|
|30-minute dog visit||$9 – $20||$13|
|60-minute dog visit||$25 – $50||$30|
|30-minute dog walk||$15 – $30||$17|
|Dog grooming||$35 – $60||$60|
|Dog training||$150 per private lesson||$150 per private lesson|
|Dog daycare||$25 – $50 per day||$45 per day|
|Overnight stay at your home||$45 – $85 per night||$60 per night|
|Overnight boarding at sitter’s home||$25 – $60 per night||$40 per night|
|1-week boarding at sitter’s home||$250 – $375 per week||$300 per week|
Many dog sitters create a profile for themselves and get work through an online agency. New dog sitters often charge much less than the going rate to get clients and reviews, before putting their prices up to the average rates for dog sitting services.
If you do decide to get a ‘fresh’ dog sitter, try them out for a short visit to see if they are reliable and look after your dog well. Then you can move on to bigger services, such as dog daycare and boarding.
Are they a professional dog sitter, hobby dog sitter, or your friend?
The longer the person has been a dog sitter, the more they can charge for their services.
Here is a guide on what to pay a dog sitter based on their experience and reviews:
|Experience with Dog Sitting||Average Hourly Rate|
|Less than 1 year||$10.87|
|1 – 4 years||$12.86|
|5 – 9 years||$15|
|10 – 19 years||$15.21|
Where you live does influence the average rate charged. But someone with 5 – 19 years of experience as a professional dog sitter and good references can earn 50% more than a beginner hobby dog sitter.
If you are asking a friend to dog sit, they may be kind enough to give you the friend rates of a hobby dog sitter or even less. Perhaps you can work something out, where you look after their pets or do something in return for free dog sitting.
What state do you live in?
The state you live in impacts the price you pay for dog sitting services due to differences in the cost of living. States that are more expensive to live in mean higher rates for dog sitters.
Live in Austin, Texas? Then you can expect to pay 17% less than the rate, which comes to $10.79 an hour.
Live in Columbus, Ohio? The going rate for dog sitting services is 108% higher than the average, making it $27 an hour.
Is the dog service needed over the holidays?
Dog sitters usually charge an extra fee to see your pet on a national holiday, like Thanksgiving. This fee is usually about $5 to $10 extra per day.
Do you have more than one dog to look after?
If you have more than one dog, the dog sitter will probably charge you more.
Some charge an extra $5 per dog per service, but I’ve seen others charge just as much for the second dog as what they charge for the first dog.
Again, talk to the sitter and negotiate this cost as there is some leeway here.
Does your dog need any special assistance?
If your dog needs medication, especially at certain times of day, or any other special assistance, then you can speak to the dog sitter about care visits. These cost anything between $9 and $20 for visits that are less than half an hour.
You might be able to negotiate a better rate if you pay upfront and/or give the dog sitter a lot of work over a long period of time.
Where to find a dog sitter
Be sure to start looking for a dog sitter long before you need them, especially if you need help over the holidays when a lot of people are on vacation and sitters are busy or going away.
You can look for a dog sitter by:
- Asking friends if they are able to assist or know someone who is. Be wary of teenagers who charge very little but can be unreliable and unpredictable. House party, anyone?
- Booking someone through an online dog sitting agency, such as Trusted House Sitters, Rover, and Pet Sitter.
Do you have any other pets besides dogs?
You may have a dog and another pet, such as fish, birds, cats, etc.
If you do, then you will need to find a pet sitter, not just a dog sitter. Try to find someone with experience in taking care of these types of animals.
Most pet sitters are familiar with and happy to take care of dogs, cats, fish, small mammals, such as guinea pigs.
If you own exotic pets, such as spiders, farm animals, reptiles, birds, or horses, you may have a harder time finding a pet sitter and will need to give yourself time to find one or ask a friend to help you.