Pet sitting home visits: what's involved

Pet sitting home visits: what's involved


If you’ve recently become a pet sitter, you’ll no doubt be keen to start paying all those lovely pets in your neighbourhood a home visit. But how long should such a visit last? What can pet owners expect from you? And what, exactly, do pets need from their pet sitter?

A home visit typically involves calling on the pet owner’s house once or twice daily, to take care of their pet(s). Pet sitters are often asked to keep an eye on things from a security perspective too (particularly during long absences) and to perform additional tasks such as retrieving mail and storing it somewhere safe, or watering plants. The responsibilities can vary considerably per individual pet and home, so it’s essential that both parties make clear agreements in advance.

Pet sitting home visits: who and when?

House visits are ideal for pets that are extremely attached to their home surroundings and can be left alone for longer periods of time. This includes cats, which tend to find boarding stressful, as well as rabbits and other small pets that prefer to stay at home whilst their owner is away. Since they cannot spend long periods alone, most dogs are unsuited to the home visit arrangement. Their best option is ‘house sitting’, which involves the dog sitter coming to stay in the owner’s own home, or 'home dog boarding' in your home, if this is a service you are able to offer. You might, however, be asked to perform home visits for puppies or younger dogs, which require extra attention during their owner’s working day.

cat chin scratch

Cleaning the litter box

Depending on the length of the reservation period, pet sitters may also be tasked with cleaning the litter box, cage, tank or other type of pet enclosure. Ask the owner to leave plenty of extra cat litter, straw, gravel or pet bedding for this purpose.

Additional services

Removing cat hair, cleaning up 'accidents', storing mail, watering plants, emptying the rubbish: these are just some of the additional household chores a pet owner might ask you to perform. After all, returning to a spotless house after a relaxing holiday is far preferable to a kitchen buzzing with fruit flies or an overflowing bin! Discuss in detail what the pet owner expects from you, above and beyond standard pet care duties.

How long does a home visit take?

Owners often ask you to do far more than simply feed, clean and provide fresh water for their pet. You’ll be the animal’s only source of companionship during their absence. Play and cuddle time is therefore factored into the majority of home visits. So, make sure that you spend sufficient quality time with the pets under your care. Some cats miss their owners terribly and yearn to snuggle up on your lap, play with a favourite toy, or have their coat groomed. Don’t disturb shy or anxious cats who prefer giving you the ‘once-over’ from the safety of underneath the sofa. Spend time in the same room and allow them to get used to your presence gradually. On average, a home visit should last about an hour.

How much does a home visit cost?

As a pet sitter, you determine your own rates. The average price of a home visit is approximately $20. Some pet sitters charge more, others less. The price depends on your experience, reviews, additional services, certification, relevant work experience and popularity on Pawshake. Tip: want to get started as a pet sitter at Pawshake? We recommend charging a relatively low fee to begin with, and then slowly increase your rate in line with the number of positive reviews that you receive. If you do this, be sure to communicate with your current clients beforehand.

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Comments (6)


I'm not sure I agree that dogs are not usually home visit pets! The majority of pets I visit are dogs some with a cat companion. Owners like them to stay home for security reasons as well as the fact they may not get along with other dogs and of course cost factors. My home visits are from half hour to 3/4 hour for 1 - 2 pets, longer for additional pets, responsibilities. $20 is too cheap for an hour long home visit as there is the cost of petrol to and from and your time getting there!

Aug 23 2018 - 03:33

I agree with Janet - $20 per visit is too low for one hour - after Pawshake fees that is about $16 per hour - below minimum hourly rate - add to that the cost of petrol and travel time both ways and you are effectively only clearing far less (on which you will also need to pay tax). While guidance for new sitters is appreciated the advice needs to be a little more realistic.

Aug 23 2018 - 04:15

Totally agree with both of the above ladies. My home visits are always 1 hour, mostly more thought as I like to spend some quality time with the pets. Most of my home visits are for dogs, where there are 2 or more. I think single dog households may be different as, yes, a dog on their own would be very lonely. As for the fee I base mine as $20 minimum and that also increases with distance. We live in an area that requires me to travel quite some distances and the cost of petrol I have to charge more. I hope you alter your wording to justify our charges.

Aug 23 2018 - 04:33

I'm a professional cat sitter and charge $30 for a visit to a single cat (there's a sliding scale on the number of cats per household as there is more cleaning up, feeding and of course the best part, cuddling). Most cat sitters in my region of Sydney charge between $28-$35 a visit. $20 is WAY too low when you factor in petrol etc. My visits are 30 minutes minimum.

Aug 23 2018 - 05:22

I can’t believe you are saying that a one hour visit- not including travel time- is only worth $20. Take out your 19% commission and it’s around $15. I think you need to rethink your advice. I try to treat all clients fairly and give value for money but in my opinion, you need to respect and value your pet sitters a bit more highly

Aug 24 2018 - 01:58
Codie Joy

I charge $15 for one daily visit, which is between 15 and 30 mins depending on how many pets and the tasks required per visit. Im a professional, I have certifications and years experience. I have competitive rates that work for both me and my clients. I have enough clients to bring enough enough income to make $15 worth it.

Aug 24 2018 - 14:38