How to Borrow a Dog #1: Become a Pet Sitter

There can be a lot of reasons that a dog lover may not be able to own a dog including extensive travel for work, financial reasons, or not living in a pet-friendly building. Luckily, there are a lot of ways to keep dogs in your life without making the full commitment to ownership. This is the first part of a series where we explore the various ways you can spend time with dogs without owning one.

In this first part of our series, we will focus on becoming a pet sitter. With pet sitting, you not only get to spend time with dogs but you can actually make money while doing it. Pet sitting has been around for a while but with the birth of online services like Rover,, xcDogs, and DogVacay it has never been easier for pet owners to find a sitter for all of their needs.

The premise of pet sitting is pretty straightforward. Pet owners hire pet sitters to watch their pets while they are at work or away on vacation instead of boarding their animal. Pet sitters typically watch a dog for the entire day or overnight either in their own residence or at the animal’s residence. However, pet owners are starting to use these services on a more in-demand, short-term basis. Sally Baughman, the founder of xcDogs, says that “many owners traveling with their dog want to find somebody nearby on short notice so they can go sightseeing for a few hours.” This increased accessibility only makes it easier for you to start your own pet sitting business. All you need to get started is to setup a profile on one of the sites mentioned previously and you’ll be ready to go!


Dog Sits on Sofa with Dog Sitter

Create Your Profile

Write a compelling intro so users know who they are dealing with. Include photos of yourself with other dogs and your house. If you really want to stand out, list some places near your house where you are likely to take the dog: dog parks, cafes, restaurants, work, etc.

Set your Rates and Calendar

Compare rates for other pet sitters in your area and settle on a competitive price that you are comfortable with. Show all available dates you are willing to watch dogs. Users will find your profile and send you a request for certain dates. You will have right of refusal, but I doubt you’ll find many you won’t want to watch.

Host the Dogs and Get Paid

The last step is simple: host the dog(s). If you are watching the dogs in your own home, the owners will drop them off and pick them up at the agreed upon times and dates. All payments are processed through the services and you will earn your daily rate minus any fees (typically 15%). The fees might seem steep but they also cover your insurance in case anything goes wrong.

That’s it. It really couldn’t be easier and a lot of people make good income doing this.


Up Next in the “How to Borrow a Dog” series:

Take a Shelter Dog on a Field Trip

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