How Much to Pay a Friend for Dog Sitting?

friend dog sitting

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As dog lovers, we often attract friends that also love our furry kids. Sometimes this pays off too, as friends often step up to help each other watch their pets during vacations, family trips, or emergencies.

But how much should you pay a friend that is watching your dog?

Payment heavily depends on the responsibilities expected, the time it takes, how easy the pet is, as well as the sitter’s experience. Most non-professional pet sitters charge $10-$30 an hour, $75-$350 per week, or $400-$1000 a month for either drop-in services, dog walking, or overnight stays.

As you can see, there is a wide range of what you should pay a friend for pet sitting, and it depends on many factors. Let’s look into each of the most popular pet-sitting services and what factors help determine how much that service should cost.

How Much To Pay A Friend: Quick Reference

We’ll explain exactly how we go to these numbers but if you just want a quick look you can check out this chart:

Type Of Visit One Time Per Week Per Month (1 visit/day)
Drop-In Visit $10-30 per hour $75-150 Per Week (1 visit/day) $400-500 Per Month (1 visit/day)
Walking Only $20-35 per 30-minute walk $150-$250 Weekly (1 dog/1 walk per day) $550-700 (1 dog/1 walk per day)
Overnight Sitting $10-30 per hour OR
$30-60 per night (overnight only)
$200-350 per week (overnight only) $750-$1000 per month (overnight only)

How Much to Pay a Friend for a Drop-In Visit

When looking at how much you should pay your friend for dropping in on your pets, we should look at a few specific factors that affect the price of a drop in visits.

Drop-In Duties

The responsibilities of the drop-in sitter greatly affect how much they should get paid. A sitter that simply needs to let the dog out to potty and feed it dinner is going to earn a lower fee than a sitter that needs to walk the dog, feed them, scoop the litter box, give medication, etc. These duties will take more time and effort, and should be paid more.

You should review all the expected duties for your sitter before your trip, as well as leave thorough instructions to make sure everyone is well taken care of. Writing down your expectations and discussing them with the sitter can help you understand how much time it would take them to perform the actions, making it easier for you to judge payment.

Multiple Pets

For almost every sitter, friend, or professional, the more pets you have, the more it will cost to have them taken care of. This partially ties in with the expected duties, but multiple pet fees may not always be because of time.

Walking two dogs can be much more difficult than walking one dog, and takes a certain amount of skill to successfully do. Even if your sitter is a friend, they deserve to be paid according to the skill needed for the job!

Number of Visits

How often your sitter needs to come to the home can greatly affect the cost of their services. If your pets need multiple visits per day, most people will charge per visit or a charge a higher daily amount. Proximity to the sitter’s home or work can also affect the cost. The farther your home is away, the more likely they will charge more.

Your sitter has to set time out of their day to perform these visits, and that can be difficult if they are just friends. Professional sitters are available all day for appointments, but friends often have their own lives and jobs that they have to attend to. It’s important to ensure that the price you are paying them is worth it for them.

Summary:

  • $10-30 Per Hour
  • $75-150 Per Week (1 visit/day)
  • $400-500 Per Month (1 visit/day)

It can be hard to determine exactly what to pay your friend for dropping in on your pets. If you have a relatively easy dog that just needs breakfast and a short walk, you could pay them a lower fee like $15 per visit. If your home is on their way to work, they may be willing to add 30 minutes to their routine for $10.

Extended stays may cost less as well. A recurring weekly or monthly drop-in visit is a larger total amount paid for your pet-sitting friend, so they may be willing to give you a better deal. Generally, the longer the stay, the cheaper per visit but that is completely up to the friend you are considering pet sitting for you. Also important to keep in mind the number of pets and visits per day needed.

However, if you live in a secluded area, far away from your potential sitter, or have a dog that is a bit more high maintenance, it takes a little bit more financial motivation to ensure the best care for your pets. Remember that your friend is not a professional, but they still deserve to be paid for their time and effort. You want your dog to have a trusted, recurring sitter to keep them happy while you’re away!

How Much To Pay a Friend For a Walk

While some pets have a backyard that allows them to be easily let out and exercised, some pet owners are apartment dwellers that need their dogs walked around their neighborhood. Walking the dog is a chore that many parents give to preteen and teenage family members, but it can be quite the job for pet sitters with some dogs or neighborhoods.

There are a few questions you should ask yourself as you think about how much you should pay your friend to walk your dog.

How Easy is the Dog to Walk?

We’ve all seen the owner that is not walking there, but being walked by their dog! no one wants to be pulled down the street by a dog that’s twice their size, or even by a dog that’s tiny. Not only is it uncomfortable for the sitter and the dog, but it’s also dangerous! One wrong move or slip of the leash can be disastrous.

Unfortunately, not every dog is taught to walk well on a leash. Dogs that are used to walks tend to do much better than a dog that is not used to being on a leash. If you are planning on hiring a friend as your dog walker, make sure that your dog is well-trained on a leash. If you cannot do that before hiring a walker, it may be worth looking into the pricier but safer option of a professional trainer that offers walks.

Multiple dogs are also a reason that a walk is not as easy. Controlling one dog is easy enough, but controlling two dogs on the same walk can be a challenge even for professionals. This is exasperated if the dogs are not leash trained. Taking two or more walks to accommodate all dogs also takes extra time, and should be considered when discussing cost.

How Often?

Pricing for a dog walker will depend on how often the walker needs to visit your home. A dog that only needs one walk a day will cost less than a dog that needs 2 or 3 walks a day. when hiring a friend, you also have to consider what they can reasonably do in their day. They often have their own lives and jobs, so the cost should be worth it for them to spend the time walking your dog.

How Long Should the Walk Be?

Most dog walkers charge by the visit but work out their charges by looking at their hourly fee plus the minimum charge to visit the home. That’s why 30, 45, and 60-minute walks may all cost differently, depending on your dog walker’s offerings.

First, figure out how long your dog needs walked per walk to fulfill their exercise needs while you’re gone. Older dogs may only need a short trip 15-minute around the block, while high-energy dogs may need an hour of hiking in nearby woods. As you can imagine, these two activities will differ in time and effort, therefore will differ in price.

Summary:

  • $20-35 per 30-minute walk
  • $150-$250 Weekly (1 dog/1 walk per day)
  • $550-700 (1 dog/1 walk per day)

According to HomeGuide.com, the average dog walker charges anywhere from $10-35 per 30-minute walk, but as a pet care professional this seems low to me. I would estimate the average professional sitter wouldn’t take a job for less than $25 per 30-minute visit for one easy dog. When considering how much to pay a friend, consider how easy the walk will be, how long it will be, and how often then need to set time aside for your pet. Though they are not a professional, they should still make enough to make the time and effort to give your pet great care.

How Much To Pay a Friend for Overnight Sitting

Most people prefer that their pets stay safely in their homes, so they hire a sitter to stop by or stay in their homes while they are away. This is a common job for friends of the family, especially teenagers or young adults. It is generally a pretty easy gig, but that can depend on the pets needing taken care of, how long they will need to stay in the home, and what sacrifices they are making.

Responsibilities

The responsibilities of the pet sitter are going to vary from job to job-based on the number of animals, how easy the animals are to care for, and what else the sitter may need to do to upkeep the house while you are away. While it is expected of any sitter to clean up after themselves, extra litter cleaning, retrieving mail, or other cleaning should be factored into the cost of the pet sitting.

How Long do They Need to Stay?

A major reason that many people choose to keep their pets in their own homes during trips is that their pets suffer from some sort of anxiety, such as separation anxiety. Separation anxiety and other behavior/health problems can be really difficult to deal with, as it often requires a sitter that can stay home with the dog for most of the day.

Not every sitter is available to do this, and this can be especially true for friends. They often have other jobs and responsibilities to attend to, so staying at your home should be worth the missed opportunities for them! It’s important to be respectful of your sitter’s time and energy, especially since they’re you’re a friend!

Summary:

  • $10-30 per hour
  • $30-60 per night (overnight only)
  • $200-350 per week (overnight only)
  • $750-$1000 per month (overnight only)

When asked about overnight pet sitting, HomeGuide.com stated that the average pet sitter charges anywhere from $45-$75 per night. These charges usually don’t include all daycare as well, so if your dog needs that it will likely be charged hourly or on a per-day basis.

Because of the many benefits of your pet staying in their own home, it is often more expensive than boarding facilities, however, the comfort of knowing your pet is sleeping in their favorite spot on your couch is priceless!

Other Factors that Affect Payment

In addition to the nature of the services you are looking to hire a friend to do, there are a few other factors that should be considered regarding how much the sitter deserves to get paid.

Sitter’s Experience

If your friend has lots of experience in pet care, such as a vet tech or kennel attendant, they will likely cost more to book! Many pet professionals do some sort of sitting on the side, and rightly charge what they should for the knowledge they bring to the table.

Sitters that your dogs are super comfortable with are also a huge plus, and that should be considered when discussing pricing. If you’ve had a great friend turned sitter that has been reliable and your dog loves them, it’s worth it to consider giving them a small raise to show your appreciation.

Special Attention or Care

Dogs or other pets that need special attention are going to cost more than dogs that are fairly low maintenance. Not only does special attention take extra time and effort, but it can also be very daunting for your sitter. Not every friend will be prepared to deal with certain needs, so be sure to discuss all this before giving them the job.

Medication

Medications are popular among dogs, especially senior pets or dogs that have chronic illnesses. Even for dogs that aren’t on regular medication, some dogs will require occasional meds to be administered for allergies, flea and tick prevention, or to treat an illness or injury.

If your dog is going to require, or potentially require, medication while you are gone, make sure that your friend-turned-sitter is on board with administering the meds. Show them the best way for you to get the dog to take it, but also be prepared with backup ideas if the dog refuses the usual way in protest.

This is going to be a huge undertaking on the part of your pet sitter, and you should discuss how important medication is to take on time so your sitter knows what to expect. This kind of coordination naturally should cost more, as it is not a light task for a non-professional pet sitter.

Behavioral Problems

How well-trained and mannered your dog is can make a big difference in how much your pet sitter should get paid. dogs that pull on a walk, are reactive towards other dogs, or require specialized care due to aggression are not dogs that everyone can handle.

It’s important to see your dogs in an unbiased light and determine how difficult they would be for your friend to take care of. If you feel that they are going to be a handful for someone that isn’t used to their antics, it’s worth it to up their payment to make them know you appreciate it.

Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is incredibly common in dogs, up to 76% of dogs have some sort of separation anxiety. The pandemic did not help this issue at all, with many owners working from home for two-plus years. While in-home care helps with this, adding your scent to an item for your pet can make a huge difference as well!

Unfortunately, dogs with separation anxiety can be difficult to find care for. They often need someone that can stay home with them for most of the day, and that often means they have to turn down other forms of income. For this reason, paying a friend to miss work to spend time with your dog is not cheap!

Conclusion

Paying a friend to act as your pet sitter can be a great way to save money, especially if your friend is someone that your dogs know and love! Though they are not professionals, your friend is still putting time and effort into giving your dog amazing care and should be paid accordingly for that.

On average, a professional pet sitter makes anywhere from $20-$40 per hour. A nonprofessional friend-turned-sitter can expect to make about $15-$30 per hour, depending on the job, the pets, and their experience.