27 answers

How Much to Pay Pet Sitter

When we go out of town next month for 3 nights, we're asking the son of a friend of ours to house/pet-sit. They are family friends, and I talked to the dad about it already to be sure he would be alright with it. His son is almost 17 and is extremely responsible. I've known him for 10 years. I asked the dad if he thought the son would be interested in taking care of the house and pets for us, and he said yes; I asked what he thought I should pay, and he said his son would be happy with free cereal (he was no help). I don't know if the son will be staying over-night or not. I'll leave that up to him. Here are his duties.

Feed 3 dogs twice a day. Let them outside at least every 10 hours. They can stay outside if it isn't too hot, but it's probably going to be hot unless we get lucky and it rains. Then he would have to deal with cleaning muddy paws.

Feed 2 cats. We'll clean the catbox before we leave and when we get back, so he won't have to mess with that.

Feed a pig (outside) twice a day, very easy to do.

Feed ducks once in the evening. Don't worry about it if it's raining. The neighbors feed them, too, so they won't starve if we don't feed them.

Feed fish in tank once every evening.

Water plants outside once. I'll put all the potted plants in one area to make it easier.

So, what do you suggest? He's the kind of kid who will happily do it for free, but I won't take advantage of him. Money is tight, so I want to pay as little as I can, but still be fair. Thanks for your input. I really appreciate it!

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Featured Answers

Hi A.,

We have a friend who is on vaca right now & she has a young girl (just graduated h.s.) staying with her 2 dogs & 2 cats. She's paying her $25.00/day.

With 2 dogs and 1 cat I paid friends $100 for a week. There is a lot more work that you are asking this kid to do, so I would recommend $50- $75.

Hi A.,

I have a diabetic cat and so I pay about $15-$17 per visit (twice a day) for someone to come by test his blood and give him insulin, feed him, scoop his box and spend some time giving him some attention. Hope this helps.


More Answers

How long will it take him to do all of these chores? Think about it in terms of an hourly rate (of about $7.00 to $10.00 an hour). If he has to spend an hour in the morning AND another hour in the evening, then you need to pay him accordingly.

It's sad that the days of just helping a friend in need are just over with. It's all about the buck these days. Of course, you could just discuss it with him and ask him if $7.00 a day is appropriate (that is what I personally would like to pay).


With 2 dogs and 1 cat I paid friends $100 for a week. There is a lot more work that you are asking this kid to do, so I would recommend $50- $75.

I usually figured what it would cost to board the pets and pay around 1/2 of that. Since he is coming twice a day, my first impulse is about $15 a day - obviously less if you are going to feed them in the morning before you leave or in the eventing after you return.

My daughter was paid $10.00 an hour for pet sitting. The family wanted her to go to the house 2 times a day and stay a total of 2 - 3 hours. They wanted her to feed the cats and pet the cats if they came out of their hiding places.

She was pleased to receive $10.00 per hour.

When we have a pet sitter, it's $20/day. That's for 2 dogs and a cat. He stays overnight, feeds twice a day, maintains clean water, and lets them outside morning and night. I make sure there is plenty of food in the house, or I leave grocery money.

That is kind of a lot to do, so I'd think maybe somewhere between $7.00 & $10.00 per day? I don't know. My kids (9 & 7) helped the neighbor out by feeding their cat twice a day and they were WAY overpaid. I think she gave each of them $15.00 (for 1 week). I told her that was way too much, especially for such young kids, and her hubby agreed. But, at 17, and that's a lot of pets to watch and take care, I think 7-10 would work, and make sure to have food for him if he's going to stay overnight.

We use our neighbor's son when we go away and pay him $10 a day. We have several animals, as well, both inside & out. Hope that helps.

when i look at paying teenagers i think that if they go get a job at mcdonalds they would get minimum wage which is something like $6.25. i would say add up the hours you think he will work and then pay him about
$6 to $7 per hour.
kids are used to not making much money. it may not sound like a lot to you but to a teenagers that has no income, money is money.

My son does this on a regular basis for a couple from our church. They have one dog. He feeds, waters, and plays with the dog every other day. He gets $15 per day (if they are gone 3 days he gets $45).

Just so you will know, Pet Hotels charge $18 per day per pet.

I pay $10 a day, but if we are gone for one night, I count that as 2 days. (A kennel costs about $20 a night for one dog.) -- You are having him do so much that I think I would bump that to $20 a day. You are gone 3 nights, so that is 4 days and I would pay him $80. - A lot of boys mow lawns for $20 a lawn, and it seems like this boy is expending a lot of effort to keep your place up for you. So I think $80 sounds quite fair. -- Have fun on your trip!

Hi A.,

I have a diabetic cat and so I pay about $15-$17 per visit (twice a day) for someone to come by test his blood and give him insulin, feed him, scoop his box and spend some time giving him some attention. Hope this helps.


Hi A.,

We have a friend who is on vaca right now & she has a young girl (just graduated h.s.) staying with her 2 dogs & 2 cats. She's paying her $25.00/day.

We went to Disney and brought our pet sitter, which are friends, something back from Disney, but another idea I had thought of was a gift card. Maybe Sonic, Main Event, or even Taco Bell, a 17 year old would like any of those. I would say maybe $30 in gift cards. You could also buy some candy or snacks and leave them on the counter for him to enjoy while he's there waiting for the pets to do their business. I keep my friends pug at my house whenever she goes out of town for free, she's my friend and besides that I might need her again one day to watch my pets, so it's a give and take.

I know my brother has been pricing pet-sitters/boarders just recently, and is finding that care for one dog starts at $25/day. Considering that you are asking your friend's son to provide care for 7 pets, in addition to ducks and plants, I would not even consider paying less than this. I think this is just part of being a pet owner and something a person has to realize before taking on the responsibility of having pets. Also, consider that regardless of how kind this kid is, he is still being asked to take on a job/responsibility and deserves to be compensated for doing so. That being said, your other option is to discuss with your friend whether or not the work you are asking his son to provide can count as "service hours". My first thought on this is that it probably will not count; however, since you are hoping to spend as little as possible, it is worth looking into. Hope this helps, and good luck! :-)

Debi A. , here on mamasource, has All Critter Sitter Pet Sitting Servce. She takes care of our 3 dogs, fish and house with overnights.

She would be a good resource. Before I met Debi, my regular pet sitter charged me $15-20 for each 45 minute visit to my house. Debi has reasonable rates and I know my house and pets are ok when I'm gone.

You might end up paying less with a teen but check the professional sitters in the area to get a feel for a fair price.

Have fun

Hello A.,

I don't know if this will help you any but we have 3 dogs. We pay our dog nanny $16.00 per visit to come let our pups out to potty, play with them for a little while etc. So, if we are out of town and she comes 2-3 times per day to feed morning, mid day potty play breaks, and tuck them in at night/feed, we pay her $16 x 3 each day. It actually works out to be so much cheaper than paying for boarding.

You have other duties for your home but maybe this will give you an idea.

Somewhere between $10 and $20 a day. That's a lot of details to watch over/be responsible for. For YOU, the freedom from worry about what is happening while you're gone should be well worth that amount, and he deserves to be rewarded for his efforts. It's never cool to "cheap" somebody out. It would probably cost $20 a day just to board one dog with a kennel, so $20 a day to get it all done well is cheap at the price. And $20. a day will probably make a significant difference in his limited financial life as a teenage. (20 years ago, my daughter did pet care duties for her favorite teacher for a week, and that lady paid her $10 a day, and she was so glad to get it. And that was 20 years ago, so $20 a day, today, should be about right.) And he'll be so pleased to get it that he'll be eager to do it for you again if you should ever have need of his services in the future. (It's worth money in the bank to have someone honest that you can trust with your important things.)
B. T.

Our professional pet-sitter charged us $15 per visit to feed the cats, scoop the litter box, clean up any kitty mishaps and check the mail. She was mainly charging us for mileage to and from our house. You definitely have more animals than we do but maybe this will give you some idea of costs for hiring someone to do this for you.

And, if we had let her take care of the dog too, she was going to charge $25 per day for the dog. Thankfully, the dog stayed with a friend and we just needed our pet-sitter for the cats which are very low maintenance animals. But, they're your friends, so offer whatever you think is right.

I say $50 a day. That's a big job and you have a lot of animals.

I read your update-- even though times are tough I'd still offer $100. You are asking A LOT- plus you can't put a price on your precious critters. Plus, you want him to do it next time you need him! I have 2 cats & 2 dogs. I pay my sitter $50 a day (and our finances are very tight). She takes great care of them & we don't worry- I'd pay her more if I could!

Wow - if we had to pay $20 a day, we wouldn't be able to go on vacation! Money is tight here, too. We went home for a family reunion last month, and paid our neighbor's son $50 for the week to come over twice a day, feed the dogs and play with them for a while. He also has full use of the pool. (It makes it easier for him to stay a while over here when he has something to do!) Getting paid $50 for basically playing with dogs and swimming made him happy.
I think it's less what you would pay elsewhere than what you can afford to pay that he will be happy with. I say ask the kid, "How would you feel about "X" amount of dollars to do the job?" If his eyes light up at the prospect, then you know you are not taking advantage of him.

$10 a day x 3 days = $30 (plus tip if you feel he did a great job) (if it were me personally, I would pay at least $100)
It isn't about the amount of work, it is more about the amount of time you are asking him to give of himself.
Aren't the lives of your animals worth at least that much? Find out how much it would cost to board your dogs and cats, You will find that having the peace of mind knowing he is there watching your property and your animals is worth at least that much...but as times are tight...be fair.
Hope this helps

Sounds like a fun pet-sitting job! I hope some of this info helps:

In college (about 8 years ago) I pet-sat a lot, and the pet and access to a house without roommates for a few days was enough, but it seems like all my families paid about $10 a day. I had one family with lots more animals and needed some more extensive plant watering around the house, and it seems like they paid $20 a day, but I also had to drive 20 miles to their house. I haven't read your other responses, but I'd say $15 to $20 a day would be fair. Definitely pay him something though, because if he does a good job, you'll want him when he's a broke college kid too! :) Have fun!


I just pet sat the past 10 days and was paid $25 a day. 2 dogs. That is how much it would have cost the family to board their dogs so instead the dogs got to stay in their enviroment and I was able to check on their house.

I had to be there in the morning and at night to let them out and feed once a day. Gas is expensive and I had to drive about 10 min to get there.

Another family of mine pays between 25-30 a day as well. You are asking a lot so I would not go below $25.



if he lives close by, i'd opt to not have him stay in the house overnight. if it's a 10 minute drive for him to come twice a day to do things, then that's fine. for the number of pets that you are asking, i'd say $30 atleast. we pay more than that to my friend when she watches our 3 dogs and 2 cats (comes 3 times a day, includes walks and playing), but then again she is a trained vet tech.

It depends on a lot of things. Does he live really close or is he going to drive over? Are you leaving soft drinks and snacks for him? If he is going to spend the night be sure someone else sort of monitors that like not 10 cars in your drive way.
I typically give anywhere from $10 to $20 a day. I have never had any complaints.
Hopefully he will work out wonderfully and you have a responsible person you can trust for your next trip.
Be sure to leave vet #'s, plumber, electrician, air conditioner repair #'s. You may want to go over that with his parents.

3 dogs, 2 cats, fish in tank, plants, ducks and pig outside ... & twice a day at your house. That's a lot of stuff. I know it might not seem like it to you, but remember you are used to it, and you are already there to do it since you live there. I'd say $75 minimum, and $100 if you can afford it and he does a good job. It's worth every penny to know your pets are being well taken care of and you have peace of mind to enjoy yourself while you are gone. And - you'll know you have someone to count on in the future if you don't short change him now. There is nothing worse than having to board all your pets ... I know mine hate it, and I can't relax while I'm gone knowing how unhappy they are ... not to mention how expensive boarding is. It's wonderful to have a nice young person you trust who can help you out.

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