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Pet Sitters: Separating the Facts From the Fiction

Pet Sitters: Separating the Facts From the Fiction

Not all owners can watch their pets 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Many owners have jobs, personal responsibilities or other activities to which they must attend. Rather than forcing their pets to stay cooped up indoors, however, they can hire a pet sitter. Pet sitters provide an essential service for owners. They walk, feed and care for owners’ pets while they are away. Even if you know the general duties of pet sitters, though, there are probably some things you don’t know about this profession.

Low Revenue

Pet sitting isn’t a low-paying job. Most pet sitters earn well above the median annual income. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, pet sitting businesses in the United States earn an average of $236,000 in revenue per year. The median annual income, on the other hand, is just a little over $31,000. Pet sitters have the freedom to work as much or as little as they want to. They can choose which sitting jobs to take, thus giving them greater flexibility over their work schedule and earnings.

Dogs Only

Some people assume that pet sitters only provide sitting services for dogs. Dogs are the most common type of household pet in the United States, so pet sitters often provide sitting services for them. With that said, most pet sitters don’t limit their services to dogs. They provide sitting services for most types of pets. When an owner is unable to watch his or her pet, a pet sitter may step up to the plate to care for the pet.

Pet sitters may provide sitting services for the following types of pets:

  • Dogs
  • Cats
  • Fish
  • Parrots
  • Turtles
  • Lizards
  • Guinea pigs

Same as Boarding

While they both involve caring for pets, pet sitting isn’t the same as pet boarding. Pet sitting is always performed at the owner’s home. Pet sitters visit the owner’s home while he or she is away. During this time, pet sitters will walk, feed, water and play with the owner’s pet. Pet boarding consists of similar services. Rather than being performed at the owner’s home, however, pet boarding is performed at a remote kennel. Owners often prefer pet sitting because it reduces unnecessary stress and anxiety with their pets. Pets are more comfortable at their own home as opposed to a kennel.

Expensive to Start

All businesses have startup costs. Pet sitting, however, has lower startup costs than most other businesses. You don’t need to own, lease or rent a building. Pet sitting is performed remotely at the owner’s home. Most owners will even have their own pet food. You’ll still need some basic supplies, such as collars and leashes, but there aren’t many expenses associated with starting a pet sitting business.

Insurance Is a Waste of Money

If you’re going to open a pet sitting business, you should invest in an insurance policy. An insurance policy is something that’s good to have even if you never use it. It will protect the finances of your business — and your personal finances, depending on the business structure — from liability claims. There are insurance policies available specifically for pet sitters. With an insurance policy, you can work as a pet sitter without fear of financial loss from claims. An insurance policy will shield your business from claim-related financial loss.

Only Provide Sitting Service

While pet sitters obviously provide sitting service, most of them offer other services to accommodate their pet-owning clients. Assuming an owner is going away for several days, for instance, the pet sitter may collect his or her mail. Most pet sitters will gladly collect their clients’ mail. Owners may also ask the pet sitter to water their plants. Plants require water just like pets do. Pet sitters can collect mail, water plants and perform other non-sitting-related services.

Must Be Licensed

You don’t need to be licensed to work as a pet sitter. There are no licensing requirements for pet sitters. This is in stark contrast to many veterinary jobs, which do require licensing. If you want to work as a veterinarian, veterinary technician or veterinary technologist, you’ll need to obtain a license. You can work as a pet sitter, on the other hand, without a license or any formal education. There are certification programs available for pet sitters, but they are completely optional.

Unable to Provide Medication

Pet sitters aren’t veterinarians, but they can still provide medication to pets. If a pet has been medication, the owner may ask the pet sitter to administer it while he or she is away. Pets may take medication to treat a variety of ailments, including arthritis, heart disease, epilepsy and more. To ensure pets don’t miss a dose, owners may ask the petter to administer the medication. Pet sitters can provide medication to owners’ pets. It’s one of several duties for which pet sitters are responsible.

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