Hiring a Professional Dog Walker, Cat Sitter, or Pet Sitter

How to find and choose the perfect pet care professional.


Even if you work from home, have two extra hands, and speak fluent Boston Terrier, there will still come a time when you need help caring for your pets. If you've already found your way to Local Pet Care, you likely know how we feel about choosing professional dog walkers and pet sitters for your pet care needs. In fact, we created Local Pet Care because we believe that local, independent pet care pros provide the quality care that your pets deserve. If you haven't had a chance to take a look, we have a great article on why hiring a professional pet care business is better for your pets.

Find a pet care pro - cat

Why hire a pet sitter or dog walker

Like we mentioned above, no matter how on top of things you are, there will inevitably come a time when you could use some extra help caring for your pets. Whether you need someone to walk Pepper during the week while you're at the office, or you need someone to watch your cats and house while you're out of town for a groovy tropical vacation, there is a professional pet care company to help!

There are many benefits to hiring a pet care provider for both you and your pets. And if your pets are anything like our pets, they are accustomed to a particular type of lifestyle that includes frequent walks, regular meal times, and lots of love. Having a pet care provider that you can count on makes getting your work done or enjoying a relaxing vacation more peaceful, knowing that your beloved little fur baby is safe and happy!

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Why hire a pro vs. other pet care options

Here is a quick look at why hiring a professional pet care provider is better for your pet and your own peace of mind. You can easily find an excellent pet care pro in your area by doing a quick search for your zip code on Local Pet Care.

  1. Pet care professionals are trained, experienced, insured, bonded, and often certified in pet first aid. You must trust the person that has access to your pets and home.
  2. The familiarity of seeing the same dog walker or pet sitter is better for your pet. Working with the same pet care company means that your pet will build a relationship with the same person or team.
  3. A professional pet care business can help you create custom-tailored services that are right for your pet. This can be especially important if your pet has medical or behavioral issues.
  4. You can schedule a meet and greet before any pet care services to ensure that the pet care provider is a good fit.
  5. When you hire a local pet care business, you are supporting your community and small businesses.
  6. Professional pet care providers that start their own business have decided to make pet care their career, so they will inherently be more responsible than someone working a gig or side-hustle.
  7. When you work with a pet care pro, you'll know who is with your pets, and you'll be able to contact them when you need to. When dealing with something as important as caring for your pets and home, you want to work with a business with accountability, including a telephone number you can call that someone will actually answer.
  8. Independent pet care businesses now have all the same technology as the big Uber-type pet care apps.


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How to find a professional pet sitter or dog walker

Besides using Local Pet Care to find a local business, the best way to find a pet care pro is through referrals. Ask your friends and family if they have anyone they work with that they really like. If you don't know anyone that uses a professional pet care business in your area, it's easy to do a Google search and find a few local options. If you find a business online, it's okay to schedule a meet and greet first before booking any services. It's also okay to ask the company to provide you with references from current clients.


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What to look for when choosing a dog walker or pet sitter

  • Are they bonded and insured? Insurance and bonding protect your pets, and your home — any pet care provider you hire must be fully insured.
  • Do they do background checks on their team? If the pet sitting business has multiple staff members, it's essential to know that they perform background checks on their team. You are trusting the pet care business and anyone from the staff who visits your pet and home.
  • Can they provide client references? Many businesses will have pictures and testimonials on their website and social media accounts. They should be willing to provide references from clients upon request.
  • Do they have experience caring for pets? An experienced professional will be comfortable with many different personality types and behaviors. Experience also means that your pet care pro will know what to do in case of an emergency.
  • Do they have a service agreement or contract? A service agreement or contract is a good indication that you are working with a professional. The contract will usually have detailed information on rates, fees, key management, and cancellation policies. Having an agreement that both parties understand will prevent many instances of confusion and misunderstandings.
  • Do they have certifications like pet first aid training? Many pet care professionals take additional classes or courses that earn them certification in pet first aid, behavioral issue management, or other forms of training and education.
  • Do they belong to a professional organization like Pet Sitters International (PSI) or the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAAPS)? The two major professional organizations for pet sitters and cat sitters are Pet Sitters International (PSI) or the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAAPS).
  • Do they have a well-organized website with straightforward pricing and contact information? When hiring a professional pet care business, it's nice to see a clean and easy to navigate website. They should have services, pricing, and contact information readily available. It's also always nice to see some pictures of happy pets they care for and client testimonials!
  • Do they use pet sitting software? If a pet sitter or dog walker uses pet sitting software like Time To Pet, you'll have the ability to easily schedule services, make payments, and receive report cards through an App on your mobile device. It also makes communicating with your dog walker or pet sitter incredibly easy.
  • Will they schedule a meet and greet? It's always nice to put a face to a business, especially one that will be taking care of your pet and home. A meet and greet is an excellent opportunity to determine if a pet care pro is right for you and your pet.


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How much should you pay a professional dog walker or pet sitter?

As mentioned above, most professional pet care providers will have a list of the services they offer on their website, along with straightforward pricing. Several factors will determine how much a pet care pro charges:

  • Where you are located The city you live in and the cost of living will play a large role in how pricing is determined. In larger cities, especially downtown areas, you can expect to pay more.
  • The type of service you have requested Dog walking, pet sitting, drop-in visits, and overnight stays-will have different pricing. They may also be additional charges for travel and special services like administering medications.
  • How many pets you have — Many pet care companies will offer deals for adding additional pets to the service beyond the first one.

To give you a rough idea of pricing across the country, here are a few national averages pulled from Time To Pet's rate calculator tools:

  • Dog Walking - 30 Minutes: $22.88
  • Dog Walking - 60 Minutes: $32.25
  • Cat Sitting - 30 Minutes: $23.26
  • Cat Sitting - 60 Minutes: $34.30
  • Pet Sitting - 30 Minutes: $28.15
  • Pet Sitting - 60 Minutes: $36.23

Overnight pet sitting rates will have a more extensive range. Again, this cost of overnight stays will have many factors like location, length of visit, number of pets, and many other considerations. Most businesses will have a rate listed on their website. Overnights can range anywhere from $25 to sometimes more than $100.

You know what to look for, now find that perfect pet care pro!

With Local Pet Care, you can find and compare all the top dog walkers and pet sitters in your area. Using this guide, you'll know exactly what questions to ask and what to look for. You deserve to have peace of mind while you're away, and your pets deserve the best care possible!

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