We all want the absolute best for our furry friends.   It’s no different when it comes down to who will care for your pets when you have to go away.  THAT is usually the very reason most pet-people choose the option of a pet sitter vs. kenneling or boarding.  Some of us can’t even STAND the thought of our pets in a facility.   That’s where pet sitters come in.  But did you know that not all ‘pet sitters’ are created equal?  That’s what I’m here to talk about.  How will you know who to choose when it comes to the BEST possible care for your dog or cat?

Hobbyist Pet Sitter vs Professional Pet Sitter?

There are people out there who call themselves ‘pet sitters’ but who should be called a ‘hobbyist pet sitter’.  These sitters can by NO means call themselves ‘professional pet sitters’ but they often try to pass themselves off as such.   I will share with you three BIG things to look for that will show you the difference between the hobby sitter and the professional sitter:



Hobby pet sitters usually charge less (sometimes much less) than professional pet sitters.  This is one place you can believe the saying, “You get what you pay for.”  Hobby sitters usually want to be paid on a cash basis and (most likely) will not be claiming their income to the IRS.  If there is no company name affiliated with their pet sitting services – they just may be a hobbyist pet sitter.  To give you a reference point, most professional pet sitters charge between $25-30 per visit for a single pet.


Bonding, Insurance and a license to do business in the state

Hobbyist pet sitters do not spend money on insurance, bonding, training or a website. They will not be focused on keeping you or your pet safe when it comes to accidents that may happen in your home or with your pets.  Professional pet sitters have gone through all the necessary channels to do business with you the RIGHT way.  They will have the insurance needed to take care of you and your pets if there is an accident.  They are bonded (and their staff is covered under the business insurance too). Professional pet sitters file and pay business taxes and have a business checking account.  They will have a website, and will have a list of referrals of pleased clients ready for you.


Affiliations, credentials, medical and/or CPR training

A hobbyist sitter usually doesn’t care about the things that a professional sitter (or sitting company) does.  Professionals will have protocols in place. There will be systems to cover emergency care, key safety, and proper medical forms. Be sure and ask your potential sitter what emergency protocols are in place.  If they stammer or ask what you mean: this is a red flag.  You may be thinking of arranging pet care with a with a hobbyist pet sitter such as a neighbor or friend.  Keep in mind that this is probably someone who hasn’t given thought to the responsibility of caring for your home and your pets.  They probably have minimal experience with emergencies that may arise and be unprepared to handle them.


We’ve all heard the horror stories about someone who hires a ‘pet sitter’ and they didn’t even show up!  Talk about unprofessional and uncaring! When things like that happen, it truly blemishes the term ‘pet sitter’.  This is why I’m always promoting the term “Professional pet sitter”. There really IS a difference. It breaks my heart that some people can be so uncaring toward an animal and the people who love them.  They don’t deserve to even be on the fringe of this incredibly rewarding profession of caring for people and their pets.

Hopefully, with the above 3 things to look for when choosing your pet sitter – you’ll KNOW that your sitter is a professional and worthy of your business for years to come.