Choosing a pet sitter to look after your cat or dog when you’re away is a popular choice for pet owners who want something different to traditional kennels and catteries.
Leaving a pet when you're away or on holiday, can be a worrying time for some pet owners.
The chance to leave pets in the care of fellow animal lovers gives owners the peace of mind that their furry loved ones are in safe hands, getting lots of love, care and attention.
What do pet sitters do?
Pet sitting covers a range of activities. The most popular services include:
- Dog boarding
- Dog walking
- House sitting
- Doggy day care
- Grooming and exercise
- Giving medication and special dietary requirements
- Additional home sitting duties
Pet sitting services can offer a more personal form of care for pets whilst their owners are away.
Everyday routines such as walks and feeding times can be maintained and pets can be looked after in the comfort of their own home. In the case of boarding, some pets can have their own “holiday break” by staying in the home of a pet sitter.
How do I find a pet sitter?
There are two ways you can find a pet sitter.
You can use an online platform that connects pet owners with pet sitters. Alternatively, you can choose a business that provides its own pet setting services using its own staff.
We've listed some of the most popular pet sitting businesses and community platforms currently found on the internet.
Pet sitting networks and communities
Cat in a Flat
Cat in a Flat is a cat-sitting community. They operate a platform which connects cat owners with cat lovers who want to offer cat sitting related services.
Cat owners can enter details on the platform such as their postcode or local area, followed by the dates they need a sitter. The platform will then connect them with cat sitters available in the local area.
Each sitter will have their own profile detailing their experience, qualifications and rates. Once a sitter has confirmed availability, cat owners can go ahead with the booking and online payment.
DogBuddy is a dog sitting platform that helps dog owners connect with a network of pet sitters and dog walkers.
They provide: Dog boarding, house sitting, drop in visits, doggy day care, and dog walking.
In 2018 the company was bought by the American dog sitting platform Rover. DogBuddy has now become the European arm of The Rover.
DogBuddy and Rover both currently operate in the UK and pet owners can use both platforms. There are future plans to integrate the two platforms into one.
House My Dog
House My Dog is an online platform offering pet sitting services across the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
Users can search profiles of professional pet sitters and dog lovers offering their services. Users can make a reservation and pay online. All Reservations include Emergency Vet Care & 24/7 Customer Support.
Pawshake is an online platform connecting pet owners with local dog walkers and pet sitters.
They offer: Dog boarding, dog walking, dog sitting, and doggy day care.
Pet sitters can set their own rates, organise their schedules and create their own personal profiles offering their exact services. Booking and payments can be made on the platform with Premium pet insurance included, covering illness, injury and third parties.
Launched in 2010, Trusted Housesitters is a platform connecting people looking for pet and home sitting arrangements. Users pay an annual membership fee of £89 which allows them to either find a pet sitter or advertise as one.
Once a sitter becomes a member, they get free accommodation in exchange for looking after someone’s pet or home.
Yoopies is a network that provides not only pet sitters but also childcare services, tutoring, housekeeping and senior care.
They offer: Pet sitting, dog walking and boarding services
Pet owners and sitters need to create a Yoopies account which is free of charge to set up. They can then begin searching for pet sitters or post an ad to advertise for a pet sitter.
Pet sitting businesses
Animal Angels have been in operation since 1993 and provide pet sitting services for cats, dogs and more exotic animals across the UK. Their website states that their pet sitters have a minimum 15 years of animal care experience and are fully insured in each client’s home.
They provide home sitting services alongside pet sittings. Pet owners can choose both short and long-term bookings from 2 days to 2 months.
Sitters live in each client’s home for a minimum of 21 hours each day while they’re away. Sitters will help maintain any daily routines requested as well as ensuring each client’s home remains clean and tidy.
Animal Aunts was founded in 1987. They employ a team of 450 pet sitters, covering mainly cats, dogs, and horses. They also provide sitting services for livestock animals, reptiles and birds.
They provide services throughout the UK and have also offered services in Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
The company provides self-employed house and animal sitters. When making a booking, 25% of costs are paid to Animal Aunts with the remaining 75% going to the animal sitter. Pet owners will be quoted a rate per day based on the requirements of the booking.
Dog walking, cat visits and horse care start at £20 per visit plus travel expenses. Their dog walking services are available in Central London, Surrey, Hampshire and Sussex.
Founded in 2000, Barking Mad provides home boarding for dogs. They have over 80 branches across England, Scotland and Wales.
They arrange an initial registration meeting with pet owners which normally takes about an hour. This is to learn more about the individual needs of each dog being boarded. This includes their feeding and exercising routines along with their likes and dislikes. This helps ensure dogs are matched with the right sitter family.
Holiday4Dogs was established in 2006 and provides home boarding services across the UK.
Dogs will live in the home of a pet sitter registered with Holiday4Dogs. Dog owners have the chance to visit and meet their allotted dog sitter in their own home. This allows them to see exactly where their pet will be staying.
Bookings can be made via an online account after registering personal details. Alternatively, pet owners can speak with a member of the Holiday4Dogs team by calling their office. Team members can then help pet owners choose a preferred local pet sitter.
Paws Galore Pet Sitter
Paws Galore are a London based pet sitting business. They provide pet services for cats, dogs and other small pets. Pet sitters in London will come to a client’s house at an agreed time and for a specific time period. They will provide services such as feeding, pet playing and emptying litter trays.
They offer dog boarding holidays for small dogs (up to 7kg) at their Kent seaside resort. Paws Galore only board a very small number of dogs at one time and no more than three. Prices start at £40 per day and include pick up and drop off within London.
London Cat Sitting Company
This is a pet service based in the North London Borough of Islington.
They offer a range of services that include: Dog walking, visiting, sitting and boarding.
Their standard walking services are 30 minutes, 45 minutes or an hour. They will collect a client’s dog/s and walk them for the agreed amount of time, bringing them back to their owners’ home at the end.
Their sitting service offers half day, 1 day and overnight options and are provided at the home of each pet owner. Their cat and dog boarding services are provided through a network of fully vetted sitters at their own premises. They are offered for any duration.
How much do pet sitting services cost?
On many pet sitting platforms, sitters can set their own price for the services they offer. You can then pay online, using the platform or through mobile apps.
Dog walkers normally charge between £10 and £25 for a 30 minute - 60 minute booking, depending on location, demand and number of dogs being walked.
For other activities, fees vary and will depend on different factors such as:
- The type of service you need (walking, sitting or boarding)
- The business or individual you choose
- The inclusion of any registration or service fees
- The length of time of your booking
- The number of animals being cared for
- The town, city and region of the country you live in
- Any additional services, such as housekeeping and special requirements
You should carefully read the fees and FAQs section on the website of the businesses you are thinking of using.
What should I look for in a pet sitter?
When choosing a pet sitter, they should be:
- An animal lover
- Comfortable with your pet
- Experienced with animals
- Trustworthy and reliable
- Friendly and knowledable
- Mature and competent
- Fully insured
- CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) checked
Most pet sitting businesses will have their own recruitment policy and vetting process in place for pet sitters.
This should be explained on their website. If you have further questions you should contact each pet sitting business directly and ask how they choose their pet sitters if this information is unclear to you.
If you choose a pet sitter through a community site or platform, you should read through their profile carefully.
Once you’ve found a potential sitter, it’s important that you arrange a meet and greet session with them. It’s a chance for you, your pet and the sitter to get to know each other. You can discuss the needs of your pet and what will be expected from the booking.
Before meeting your pet sitter, think of some questions you would like to ask and write them down as this will help you remember.
During your meeting you can discuss any additional activities such as housekeeping. Some businesses provide sitters that will do housekeeping services such as plant watering, collecting your post, emptying your bins and making sure the house looks lived-in.
Does my pet sitter need insurance?
Pet sitting businesses should all have some form of insurance cover in place. This should be stated on their website.
If you choose to book a pet sitter through a community platform you should check what insurance coverage the business provides as part of the booking contract.
When making a booking you should consider whether some of the following policies are included:
- Public Liability Insurance: covers any damage that your dog might cause to third parties while in the care of a sitter.
- Veterinary Insurance: covers any visits to the vet and prescribed medicine to your dog, which happen as a result of any illness or injury occurring the booking.
- Accidental Damage: within the property of the pet owner.
- Loss of keys
- Professional Indemnity insurance: can cover a pet sitting businesses against claims made by clients for the loss or damage due to negligent advice or services.
What type of people become pet sitters?
Pet sitting attracts a broad range of different people. Families, couples, and individuals.
A genuine love of animals will be a common feature shared by those who choose to be pet sitters.
Many retired people enjoy pet sitting along with those who work from home or have extended periods of time off work.
What training and qualifications do pet sitters need?
Qualifications aren’t a legal requirement for many pet related businesses; but having a certain level of training and qualifications can help pet owners have more confidence when choosing the person to look after their pets.
On pet sitting platforms, sitters will normally provide information within their profile explaining how and why they have the necessary skills and experience required to look after people’s pets.
If you’re arranging a sitting through a pet sitting business, you should read the relevant section on their website that explains their recruitment process and policy for pet sitters.
What are the benefits of pet sitting?
Pet sitting offers a great experience for both pet owners and sitters.
Pet owners can spend time away knowing that their pets and home are being cared for. Having a pet sitter come to your house means your pets can remain happy and safe in their own home.
Some pet sitters and businesses will also provide owners with regular text and photo updates for further peace of mind.
Pet sitting is also a great opportunity for animal lovers to spend time caring for other people’s pets as well as earning some extra money.