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The beginner's guide to becoming a pet sitter.

Updated: Mar 4, 2023

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In this post, you will find the answer to how pet sitting is a great option to travel and save money during your stay in your country or another.


You may have heard about the concept of petsitting; I'm going to break down the doubts you may have and give you tips according to my experience taking care of pets for more than a year so that if you want to start doing it, you can be prepared for success.


To clarify, this is based on my experience and is something I do as a hobby, not as a job. That's one of the reasons I love doing it because, in short, it's a great community of people who love to travel and care for pets.


Let's jump right in!


Table of contents




1. What is Petsitting?


Petsitting means temporarily caring for another person's pet for a set period at the pet owner's home.


Petsitting is a great way to love and care for animals while their owners are away. It involves taking care of the pet's basic needs, such as providing food, water, exercise and companionship, according to the pet owner's requirements.


2. What do I need to be a pet sitter?


There are no requirements to be a pet sitter, you don't need an official certification, but since you will be in charge of another being, I would say you have to:


  • Have a liking for taking care of animals (cats, dogs, rabbits, etc.).

  • Be responsible, punctual and able to follow instructions.

  • Be clean and tidy because you will be in someone else's home.


Have a love of caring for animals so that you will enjoy being a petsitter.

3. Is there a high demand for pet sitters?


So far, I only use a platform called TrustedHouseSitters and every day, there are new positions available in different provinces, so you can see that a pet sitter is needed in every season.


4. What are the duties of a pet sitter?


The duties of a pet sitter are diverse and depend on the pet owner's needs.


Generally, it consists of caring for the pet's basic needs, such as providing food, water, exercise and companionship. It also includes primary care, such as brushing and bathing, and periodically informing the owner of the pet's status, usually by sending photos or videos.


One of the tasks will be to feed the pets.

In some cases, pets need medication or continued training if the owner has been working on it. That is why it is essential to check in detail what is requested in the listing to see if you have the experience and skills that will allow you to feel comfortable performing the required tasks.


Since you are staying at someone else's home, sometimes the listing includes watering the plants or taking out the recycling on the day the recycling service comes by, etc.


5. Advantages of pet sitting


Here are some of the benefits we've seen from another year of doing it:

  • Pet-sitting can be an incredibly rewarding experience, as it provides the opportunity to share the love and bond with an animal you don't have or give companionship to while you're on vacation.

  • In addition, it allows you to stay for free in beautiful places of your choice.


We were able to visit this beautiful place while taking care of two kittens.

  • It can allow you to learn more about a specific breed and gain valuable animal care experience.

  • It can be an excellent way to develop your skills. Caring for someone else's pet can allow you to learn new skills and become a better pet owner. We have put into practice with Corita, our kitty, several things we have learned from other cat owners.


Overall, pet sitting can be an incredibly rewarding and beneficial experience. Not only can you save money, but you can also give back to the community, develop skills and build strong bonds with other animals.



6. Which platform to use, and how does it work?


So far, I have only used one platform and this year; we renewed the membership without overthinking it because it's worth it. The platform is called TrustedHouseSitters, and here's what you have to do to pet sit with them:


  • Explore whether you want to become a pet sitter, whether you want to register as a pet owner or both.

  • Create an account

  • Choose the plan that fits your profile*. This platform works with annual plans, meaning you pay a fee/membership, and you can use the platform for unlimited pet sitting for a year.

*Check the updated values on the platform, but we paid 229 CAD for a combined membership this year (we have a combined membership because we take care of other people's pets, but at the same time, we have a pet sitter in our home to take care of Corita).



  • Once you purchase your plan, you complete your pet sitter profile, including:

    • Profile details: you must include your details such as occupation, date of birth, whether you are travelling alone or accompanied, etc.

    • About yourself: stating your motivation, why you want to be a pet sitter, and an introduction. Also, include photos of you taking care of other pets if that happened in the past.

    • Your experience: Here, you can include experience taking care of pets in the past; I realized that I had taken care of cats and dogs for friends when they were travelling, and all that information goes here.

    • Your preferences: Here, you can include if you have a specific location you are interested in.


Completing these sections will take time, but I recommend you take as much time as you need because this is essential for the pet owner to read your story and trust you.


7. How to define where to travel?


Depending on your preferences, this platform is available worldwide; you can even enter TrustedHouseSitters, explore a place you want to travel to, and see if there are listings available.


Once you have completed your profile, and if you want to go on vacation or travel close to home, you can create filters by location. For example, since I work from home, I made a filter within "Ontario" (the province where I live) and "cats." Hence, I get a notification to review and apply immediately whenever a listing is uploaded.


Plan your trips and create alerts with the places you want to visit

Remember that this platform allows you to coordinate only the contact with the pet owner. Still, you are responsible for getting your documents to travel to the place and buy your tickets, visas and everything necessary.


8. How to apply for a listing and increase your chances of being accepted?


Once you find the place and the pet you want to take care of, you have to apply for that sitting and try to be quick because some areas receive a lot of applications quickly.


Here are my recommendations:

  • Read in detail all the information on the listing, paying particular attention to the type of pets, responsibilities and if there is any special care you have to do.

  • If you think you meet all those requirements, there is an option to Apply, and you must write your application.

  • Personalize that email; I recommend you don't send the same email to everyone. As a pet owner, I loved it when a pet sitter addressed her email to Corita and me, I thought it was lovely, and since then, I have used it in my emails because it denotes that you care about that pet and that you consider them special.


Apply to the listing with a nice email

  • Be polite and show that you can do the tasks and have read the instructions.

  • Read in detail and connect with what the pet owners have included in their profiles.

  • Be accommodating and offer the option to have a video call or, if you are near their home, offer a preliminary visit. See item 9 for examples of what to ask.

  • Don't be in a hurry; apply only if you are 100% sure you can go there. In our first experience as a pet owner, someone applied to take care of Corita and several weeks later, that person cancelled their stay, and we had to start the process all over again; it was not pleasant, and I am sure I will not consider that person next time.

  • If you get a response, reply as soon as possible.

  • Once everything is ready and you are accepted, the pet owner will send a confirmation through the platform, and you will have to confirm it once more; then, you are ready!



I will leave here 2 examples of actual emails we sent to pet owners and where we were accepted.


Example 1: The listing was two hours away from our house.


Hi (Pet owner name), (Pet name 1), and (Pet name 2),


I hope you are doing well. I am writing because we would love to take care of your kitties while you are away. We are (our names); we live in (the place where you live), (country). So we would be happy to accommodate travel to (the place where the pets are) for the days you need and take care of (Pet 1) and (Pet 2). We are cat lovers. We also have a kitten (Corita) who, once we confirm travel, will be cared for by a Trusted Housesitter. We have recently cared for other kittens (including other places if you already have previous experience) through the platform.

Feel free to check our profile, and if you like, we can arrange an interview/video call to resolve any questions you may have.

Thank you very much for reviewing our application

Have a great weekend



Do your best to be selected as a Pet Sitter

Example 2: The listing was in a Canadian city 5 hours by plane from Toronto.


Hello (Pet owner name), (Pet name 1), and (Pet name 2),


I hope you are doing well. I am glad you are planning your first trip post-covid. (we refer to what the pet owners had put in their profiles)

I am writing because we would love to take care of your kitties while you are away. We are (your name); We live in (the place where you live), (country), and we already have our air tickets to go to (the place where the pets are) between June 26 and July 3. So we would be happy to accommodate to go to (the place where the pets are) for the days you need and take care of (Pet 1) and (Pet 2). We are cat lovers, in fact, we have a kitty too (Corita) who will be cared for by a Trusted Housesitter as well, and we recently took care of another cat in (Other experiences) through the platform.

Feel free to check our profile, and if you like, we can arrange a video call to resolve any questions you may have.

Thank you very much for reviewing our application

Best regards


Don't be discouraged if you don't hear back or if someone notifies you that you have not been selected. Thank the pet owner, and keep looking for another opportunity.


9. How to prepare for a preliminary interview or visit?


Let's think that you have already had a preliminary conversation with the pet owner and will have a meeting with them, either online or in person.


In that interview, you should always be prepared to ask about pet behaviours and activities; remember that you will be there taking care of their pets, and that's your priority.


Go to the interview prepared

Here's a quiz on what to ask. Here's what we've learned from experience:


Cats:

  • Feeding: what type of food you use, where it is located, portion size and how often. If it has an automatic feeder, how does it work and how often does it release the food?

  • Water: Where it is located and how often it needs to be changed.

  • Litter box: Where is it located, where to dispose of the litter (directly in the bathroom, pick it up, put it in a container, etc.), if there is more stock to replenish, etc.

  • Does (pet's name) need any medication?

  • Anything special we need to know? Any special prohibitions, not to go out on the balcony, not to climb into the dishwasher, etc.

  • Does (pet's name) have any routine that he/she would like to keep (play at night or groomed at a particular time, etc.)?

  • Is (pet's name) allowed on the balcony? alone, under guard, only accompanied.

  • How does it work when the cats go outside? How long do they stay outside? If applicable.

  • Do the kitten(s) sleep with us?


Learn about the pet

Dogs:


We haven't cared for puppies yet, but we prepared these questions for an interview:

  • (Pet's name) walks X times a day - how long should those walks be?

  • Is she friendly with other dogs? If we meet someone on the road, for example.

  • Does (pet's name) always need to be on a leash?

  • Does (name of pet) need a toy with her/his when we take her for a walk?

  • Do we need to carry water for (pet's name), and does he/she have a particular container for it?

  • Anything special we need to know about (pet's name)'s routine?



About the house:

  • How many plants do you have, and where are they located? If it is necessary to water them

  • Do we need to take out the garbage or recycle?

  • Do you need to inform the concierge about our stay? If applicable

  • What time do you want me to arrive?

  • What time do you need us to leave?


If you feel it is necessary, you can respectfully ask for the following:

  • Can I cook at your home?

  • How is the system for paying for public transportation?

  • Are grocery stores close enough to walk to, or do we need to shop in town?

  • Do you have parking, or is there parking near your home?


10. Reviews


The only way to gain a good reputation as a pet sitter is to do it right.


The TrustedHouseSitters system works through the reviews pet owners can leave on your profile after you've taken care of their pets. So give it your best, and you will receive a lovely 5-star review.



The same you can do for the pet owner; at the end of your stay, you can leave a review and explain your experience to help the rest of the community who might visit that pet in the future.


This way, the next time you apply for a petsitter opportunity, you will already have reviews on your profile, and pet owners will be able to trust you more or even former pet owners you already visited will be able to contact you again to take care of their adorable pets once more.


 

I hope this post helps you understand how petsitting works; see if it's something you want to do and take the leap!


If you have any questions, feel free to contact me on Instagram @julietafromhappysoy.

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