What does it take to become a pet sitter?

Author picture Pawshake

The greatest job in the world? It's got to be: pet sitter! Which child doesn't dream of 'working with animals' when they grow up? Thanks to modern technology and a large community of animal lovers, that dream can now become a reality at Pawshake! So, what knowledge and skills are required to become a competent pet sitter? The 5 qualities below will certainly stand you in good stead.

1) You're an animal lover extraordinaire!
You're known among your friends as that 'crazy cat lady' or the bloke who always has poo bags or training treats on him ... And you're just as fond of bunny rabbits, horses, cows, goats, stick insects and even pet rats, as you are of cats and dogs. In other words, you're a bona fide animal lover! This is an essential requirement for a pet sitter, as the welfare of animals will be your number one priority!

2) You have animal care experience
You're not only fond of animals, you also have extensive experience in their care. This could be in either a professional or a personal capacity: perhaps you've had dogs or cats of your own for many years, for example. Make sure that your specific expertise matches the services you intend to promote: if you have an in-depth knowledge of cats, it clearly doesn't make sense to offer a dog walking service. Provide full details of your experience with animals and precisely what that entailed in your profile, and don't forget to highlight relevant skills, such as dog training, first aid, dealing with behavioural problems and so on.

You can clearly highlight specific skills on your profile

3) You have a strong sense of responsibilty
Pet sitters at Pawshake must be 18 years or over. We also require that all our pet sitters have a strong sense of responsibility. In concrete terms, this means making clear agreements with pet owners and then sticking to them. The welfare of animals should be your number one priority and you should know what to do in the event of an emergency. You also attach great importance to safety and adhere to the 'pet sitter values'. You not only respect doggy etiquette for example, but you additionally check to make sure everything in and around the owner's home is as it should be during a visit. And, you always process each and every booking via Pawshake: that way you know you're insured. If you're a pet owner and want to be certain that you're dealing with a trusted pet sitter, please refer to our checklists below:

4) You have excellent communication skills
Those wishing to become a pet sitter must not only get on well with animals, but also with people. This means: responding promptly to messages, answering pet owners' questions as fully as possible, and asking your own questions where appropriate: after all, you're a pet sitter and will naturally want to know everything about the dog/cat/horse/rabbit you're going to be looking after! As you can imagine, meeting a new pet sitter can be a daunting experience for a pet owner. Show them just how trustworthy and responsible you are. And be honest about what you don't know. You can't possibly know everything, so always discuss any doubts or questions up front. Make your agreement as clear as possible and: confirm what you've agreed in writing. This ensures that the arrangement is clear for both parties.

5) You're responsive and flexible
As a pet sitter at Pawshake, you'll naturally determine your own availabilty and will be free to refuse booking requests at your discretion. We do, however, ask that you provide a professional and polite response to all enquiries, so that pet owners know where they stand. It's also important to keep your profile up-to-date. You can do this by logging in regularly and amending your calendar and description as necessary. We also expect you to be flexible enough to handle whatever happens on the job: as pet sitter the ultimate responsibility rests with you! When in doubt or if you have questions, you can always contact the Pawshake Customer Service team for advice.

As you can see: becoming a pet sitter is a huge responsibility, BUT ... in our experience, if the 1st quality is a given, then the rest tends to follow :-)

Still have some questions after reading this article? Check the FAQ's for pet sitters or send us a message!