Pet Sitting Services: How to start one

The Pet Sitting International Organization defines pet sitting as the “Act of caring for a pet in its own home while the owner is away.” Thus, Pet Sitting Services is taking care of someones pet in the owner’s home/vicinity. 

The services of a pet sitter will include dog walking, exercising the pet, feeding the pet, medication, and entertainment, amongst other things. Owners are usually concerned about the well-being of their furry babies and their different kinds of pets and require pet sitting services when needed. 

The pet sitting services are usually rendered in the owner’s home to ensure the pet’s well-being in an environment the pet is familiar with, which is its home. It gives the pet a sense of security and eliminates anxiety or loneliness, unlike when the pet has to move to a new environment. In addition, rendering pet services in the owner’s home enables minimal disruption for the pet. The pet can continue to thrive without the owner since it’s in a familiar location. It gives peace of mind to the pet and the owner, possibly in equal measure. Walking a dog is also a pet-sitting service since the pet sitter walks to the pet’s home. 

Situations that demand pet sitting services

Pet sitting services could arise when the owner requires care for their pet but cannot deliver this care due to different circumstances. Instances of travel – short trips, vacations, etc., of the owner, and the owner cannot travel with the pet; the pet sitting services can be a great way to care for and tend to a pet without paying for boarding the pet. Some owners are uncomfortable boarding their beloved pets as they would like to reduce interactions with other pets and disease or insect control of their beloved pets. 

Other instances where an owner can engage the services of pet sitting would be to exercise the pet; for example, dog walking or dog running when the owner is busy or incapacitated. Also, there are instances where the pet owner has a lot of pets requiring attention at the same time and needs assistance to handle all their pets. Here, a pet-sitting service comes in handy. The pet sitter would ensure the pet is fed, groomed, and exercised, and if the pet has a vaccination schedule, the pet sitting service could also cover this. 

What is a Pet

The Oxford Dictionary defines a pet as a domesticated or tamed animal kept for companionship and or pleasure. Most think of dogs and cats when we consider pets, but we can expand this also to include horses, parrots, certain birds, rabbits, goats, aquatic animals, and even cows. Pets are companionship to their owners. It is no surprise, as humans have kept pets of all kinds over the centuries. The pet and human relationship should have the same level of affection and closeness.

Please remember that people keep pets for companionship and comfort, emotionally supporting animals, hunting with them, for economic purposes, and even for entertainment, such as dog shows and pony shows. Did you know that pet grooming is tailored to meet specific purposes? Whether to keep your furry friend looking fabulous or improve their overall health and hygiene, pets are purposefully groomed. So, the next time you take your pet to the groomer, consider the benefits they’ll receive beyond just a shiny coat and fresh smell.

What does it take to be a pet sitter?

You only need a little to become a pet sitter and render these services. All you need is some enthusiasm about animals and volunteering to care for animals of friends and family where relevant. Gaining experience can be through personal experience with pets and animals of your own, through your network of neighbors, family, and friends, or even from the veterinarian as a volunteer or worker.

Lots of pet sitting services started with walking their dog, caring for their pets, taking an interest in other pets, and leading to consultations from others about their pets. In short, a learn-on-the-job approach.

Grooming services for their pet suddenly expand to other pets, given the beautiful and tender grooming executed on the owner’s pet. This is how a lot of pet sitting services are born.

Another example observed is an aquarium setup specialist becoming a pet sitter for the fish in the tank when the owner is on travel or unavailable. Given the familiarity of the home, goes to the home of the aquarium to provide cleaning services of the tank, grooming of the objects in the tank and feeding the fish (es) in the aquarium, water change, etc.

Pet sitting services can be a fun way to pursue a hobby in animal care and earn an income. Recently, a man interviewed by a blog was asked how augments his paid job; he mentioned being a pet breeder, specifically dogs. He got into pet sitting services by first caring for his mum’s dogs via walking, feeding, and grooming.

In a short while, he became the go-to person for all things related to animals to his neighbors/others who referred to their pet issues and questions. Therein began his journey to pet sitting services. He admitted that having an interest and open mind to animals and, subsequently, pets enabled him to develop in this journey. What an excellent way to fuel your side hustle. 

Pet Sitting International organization.

You know, there is an international body called the pet sitting international (PSI). The body states that to be a member of the PSI membership is for those providing pet-sitting services, which is defined as caring for a client’s pet (s) in the client’s home. Dog walking is also considered pet sitting. Members can offer other services in addition to pet sitting/dog walking. Still, individuals only offering boarding or doggie daycare (caring for pets in your own home or at a facility) are not eligible for membership. The PSI body mentions the following roles as services provided by the pet sitter. Note that these serve as guidelines. 

Pet sitters care for clients’ pets in owners’ homes. In their busy and hectic lives, Pet owners often hire pet sitters when they travel, work long hours, or cannot care for their pets due to sickness or injury.

Pet sitters may offer one or more daily visits, and some offer overnight stays. During the pet-sitting service visits, the tasks pet sitters perform are below:

  • Feeding the pets and changing their water bowls
  • Providing exercise and play time (may include walking the dog)
  • Cleaning litter boxes and cleaning up any other pet messes
  • Administering pet medications, if needed
  • Providing lots of tender loving care. 

PSI International adds that Pet sitters can also bring mail or newspapers in when the owners are away; it’s a good idea to alternate blinds and lights to create a lived-in look in the home. Pet sitters may also be asked to perform additional duties as the pet owners request. This is left to the discretion of the pet sitter. 

Would you like to start up a pet sitting service establishment? 

Well, look no further. Some tips are below. We have already covered how to get the experience with pets and animals. 

  • Business name: Agree on the name of the business and get it registered. This establishes the legitimacy of the company as an entity. 
  • Bank account: Open up an account name where the funds from the services rendered will be paid. This shows a separation of personal and business accounts and can also be helpful for tax purposes. 
  • Business license: investigate the cities where you plan to offer services and check for their specific business requirements. Do you need to register? Or freestyling and freelancing is the way to go. Check all of that in the city of your trade. 
  • Professional organizations and memberships: this can be a great way to connect with like-minded groups and businesses where you live. It can also serve as a support system for exchanging ideas and developing partnerships. 
  • Insurance: this can significantly support a new business and serve as a reassurance to clients. Check the cities you live in for pet sitting insurance and get signed up. 
  • Supplies: You want to invest in some generic supplies like a leash, poop bag, shampoo and conditioner, and doggie treats. You don’t need to go wild on the items but have them handy whenever they’re needed. Also, display some professionalism with the client. 
  • Marketing: this would refer to awareness drives on the sitter services to Neighbours and interested clients in the area. Some ways can be to make flyers and business cards, which can be distributed in locations where pet owners go. For example, the veterinary can be a great place. Clients would be open to receiving messages and deals on your pet sitting services. Another place to meet with potential clients will be the pet stores. It’s an excellent way to interact and market the services of a sitter. Another good location is the boarding facilities and kennels, where animals and pets are kept when their owners are away. The pet sitter can market to clients by sharing a proposition that can appeal to owners to give it a try, especially if they already have misgivings about the overnight boarding or had a bad experience. 
  • Pet first aid can be pretty handy to have under your belt. So a good idea would be to attend a Pet First Aid Class. It is an excellent idea for a new pet sitter turned business owner. Your new clients will feel reassured of their beloved pet’s safety while appreciating that you are Pet First Aid and CPR Certified. Go for it. 

In summary, becoming a pet sitter can be a rewarding experience physically, emotionally, and financially. If you love pets and don’t mind caring for them, you can gain something on each side of the coin. Caring for pets via sitting services can be easy to set up, as all you need is an interest in, enthusiasm for, and love for animals. The lifestyle you are dreaming of is just one pet away. 

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