How Much Should You Pay Dog House Sitters?

Updated on July 7, 2019
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James Livingood has been a dog sitter for several years. He has written numerous articles and a book about the topic because he loves dogs.

How much should you pay dog house sitters?
How much should you pay dog house sitters?

Vacations are exciting times, but not always the best time to have your dog around. That’s why many dog owners chose to pay a dog house sitter. These individuals come into your home on a regular basis to take care of your canine companion. So, what is a fair price for dog house sitters?

Factors to Take Into Consideration

Number of Dogs

The difference between one dog and four is quite substantial. One dog might be fine hanging out all day. However, four dogs could get into mutual trouble and cause massive messes. In addition, some of those dogs (if not all) may have a lot of pent-up energy. This can make dog sitting more difficult as you need to attend to each dog’s needs.

Medication or Special Treatment

Dogs may need a regular dose of medication or require additional exercise. Each layer of complexity adds to the cost of a potential dog sitter. In addition, many dog sitters may not feel comfortable giving dogs injections. Many dogs bark and bite when being given a shot. This problem is exaggerated when the person giving the shot is a stranger. Expect to pay an additional $5–15 per day per dog to administer medication.

Time of Stay and Number of Stays

A quick stop in twice a day is very different than an overnight visit. An overnight visit can allow an older dog to be let out during the night, but it does require more commitment and time. In addition, adding walking or dog parks to the visits may require more time. Each case requires estimating the number of visits it will take to take care of your dog.

Holiday demand for dog sitting
Holiday demand for dog sitting

Holiday Demand

Just like the seasons, there is fluctuating demand in dog sitting. Major holidays, like Christmas or Thanksgiving, generally cause higher demand. This allows dog sitters to cherry-pick their clients and charge higher rates than normal.

Age of Dog

While most mature and fully grown dogs are a regular rate, puppies normally cost more. That’s because puppies need to be watched more closely and need to have additional behavior training. In addition, puppies may not have the essential commands down yet (sit, stay, come here). They may also start to try out bad behaviors, such as digging, that need immediate correction.

Bulk Discount

Leaving for a weekend requires far less commitment than leaving for two weeks. Dog sitters will often provide discount pricing for bulk amounts of time because that means less getting to know individual dogs. The most difficult part of dog sitting, beyond taking the time, is getting to know each individual dog. Knowing a dog's quirks is the best way to having a successful dog visit.

Keep these things in mind when you're thinking about getting a dog sitter.

  • Rural areas may see dog sitting as cheap as $25–35 per dog per night.
  • However, most typical dog house sitters charge between $40–60 per dog per night.
  • Pricing my go upwards of $75–100 per dog per night if it’s during the holidays.

Additional benefits of dog sitters
Additional benefits of dog sitters

Additional Benefits of Dog Sitters

Regular Updates

Dogs have trouble taking their own selfies, but dog sitters have no problem snapping a few extra photos. While you are out having fun on your own adventure, you can rest assured that your dog is having fun at home. That can be done through photos and a regular adventure log. Many dog sitters provide regular updates so that you know when they arrive, what’s going on, and how your dog is doing.


Many dog sitters have additional backgrounds in dog training or in the veterinary field. That means that your dog is under extra good care. In addition, many dog sitters have a strong passion for dogs. That means you’ll receive someone excited to play with your doggie, potentially for hours on end. These people may even be able to provide additional tips and tricks outside of the normal dog car area. For example, where to find the best price on dog food, flea medication, or poop bags.

Free First “Meet and Greet”

Most dog sitters prefer to complete a free meet and greet before they agree on dog sitting. This allows them to begin to understand the dog’s temperament/quirks. In addition, meet and greets can be an excellent opportunity to learn the “rules of the house.” Great dog sitters adhere to the set of rules already established by the owner. That means if the dog is not allowed on furniture, the dog sitter will remind the canine. This meet and greet also allows any shyness or aggression to show, which can greatly cause complications further on.

Trial Runs

Dog sitters love to have small trial runs before big vacations. While this may seem extravagant, it’s nice for a dog sitter to learn a particular dog. This also allows for questions to be asked and answered while you’re still readily available.

Words of Warning

Cheaper isn't always better. This is allowing a stranger to take care of your dog. That involves a lot of trust. If possible, have a background check completed and learn about how they handle dogs. Some dog sitters prefer positive reinforcement while others have learned yelling works. Getting a good dog sitter is essential to your dog being comfortable in future visits.

Happy dog
Happy dog

Questions Every Dog Sitter Should Ask

  • Rules of the house: On or off furniture? When is the dog being fed? When do walks happen? Other daily routines?
  • Allergies: Foods or substances the dog is allergic to?

  • Vaccines: Up to date on vaccines?

  • Aggressions: Food aggressions? Cat or small animal aggression? Good with young people and infants? Toy aggression? Other dog aggression?

  • Behavior on walks: Leash pulling? Super excited when getting ready to go?

  • Current training: Knows basics (sit, stay, come here)? Knows more complicated commands? Any commands being trained and need reinforcement?

  • Shy around strangers?

  • Hates going out in rain/snow/wind?

  • The preferred vet that has your dog’s information?

  • Any medications needed?

  • Property destruction? (Extra important if they are a puppy. Puppies need a lot of help determining what is and isn’t a toy.)

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Questions & Answers

  • How much should I pay a house / pet sitter to walk my two medium sized dogs two times a day but at seperate times, as well as feed my cat?

    This depends on your region / country and if it's near a holiday. If it were me (Seattle region of USA) I would probably charge $60 - $100 per day, assuming house sitting is just "walk in and make sure nothing is going massively wrong". To break this down: $25 for first dog, $20 second dog, $10 gas, $5 to feed the cat, plus any extras desired (longer walks, playing fetch, etc.). That's a bit on the cheap side, with the hope that it would be made up in bulk. (7+ days) If it were during a holiday, I would simply double the rates.

© 2018 James Livingood


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