How Much Should We Pay the Dog Sitter?

Updated on April 27, 2015
J.C. asks from Blacksburg, VA
10 answers

We are going to have a young woman come and stay in our house when we go on vacation. She will sleep here and feed the 3 dogs and fish and let the dogs out when they need to go out. I asked how much she charges and she said however much we want to pay. How much should we pay her? And should we leave food for her? Thanks!

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answers from New York on

You need to ask her these questions about food and pay up front so that there's no misunderstandings. Also set expectations about who will be allowed in your house when you are gone.

Find out what dog sitters charge in your area (pretty easy to do with just a phone call or two). In my area they charge $18 per visit x 3 visits a day when I'm on vacation plus an additional $5 to feed the cat and scoop the litter box. Kenneling the dog and cat runs $85 a day.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

How many days/nights? Honestly, the more you pay, the better care you will get. When my daughter was 10, she was dog sitting for our neighbors from Thursday-Sunday, they gave her $50, she won't do it again. It's a lot of work for that when she has school and dance. Plus at 10, we still go with her each time.

I would think $40-50 per day.

I would say yes, leave cheap food for her. I wouldn't stock the house with filets, but I would leave sandwich stuff, frozen pizza's, and some fresh fruits and veggies. Or things like that.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

i'm a little surprised that it's been set up without these questions being settled up front!
we assume that our farm sitters will use the laundry and cooking facilities, and we specify clearly that if it's here, they can eat it. i don't grocery shop in advance to stock it up for them, but they're welcome to help themselves, and if they don't like what's here they're welcome to bring in their own food.
we pay $100 a day, but we've got horses to cope with as well as the dog and cats, and fairly extensive gardens and flower beds and pots that need to be monitored and watered in the summer. and our favorite has to drive considerably further to get to her job, so we want to make sure her extra gas is taken care of.
i'd probably offer $60 per day. do you have neighbors you can check with? these prices vary so widely from region to region.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

My daughter has animal sat for a friend and she was paid $200.00 per day, which seems high, but she was caring for 10 dogs and 6 cats. She was also provided with food. For three dogs and fish, I would say no less than $50 per day, and absolutely provide food.

After you get through everyone's answers, if you're still not sure, call around to some boarding facilities and compare what you would have to pay them and consider that your pets will be able to remain in their own home and out of cages or kennels, and then decide a rate that reflects the value of that.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

We have used the same pet sitter and her daughters which have a business in our area over 20 years. They are bonded and insured. I will gladly pay more for quality and I tip nicely.

I get a slightly better deal right now because we are all dear friends. She sleeps over at my house and comes over to let the dogs (2 dogs) out and stay about an hour or so twice a day.

I know she loves various K-cups so I have them ready for her and she is welcome to eat anything here while she is here. She makes herself at home. The last time she was here, on the last day she ran the vac, laundered all of the bedding and had the bed made for the next guest when I got home.

I paid her $350 from Thursday through Tuesday. Her daily visits are about $20-$25 each depending on the distance and she stays at least an hour with the pets. Her night fee is $45 from about 7pm until she is ready to go in the morning. She stayed here all day on Saturday when she was here last. She said she loves coming here and it is a mom mini vacation when she does.

On some visits, she brings her children and she asked for permission to do that before she did it.

The rates I mentioned are pretty close to the going rates for the pet/house sitters in my area who do this for a living. Another perk is that your house is lived in while you are gone, therefore it is security is better as well.

When we plan any vacation or business trip, we plan on having pet sitting costs to be anywhere from $300-$500. It is just a part of the process when we travel.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I'd say about $50 per day and discuss food with her. My old BF dog sat in people's houses and they allowed him a friend for a visit (but no parties and not the whole week), and use of their entertainment room (huge tv!) but I'm pretty sure he provided his own meals.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Lock up the liquor and jewelry.
My sister had a dog sitter stay over she didn't know her very well.
Turns out this woman was bringing her boyfriend over and throwing large parties.
It's disturbing coming home and finding a lot of used condoms in your bathroom garbage and wondering what the heck was going on in your bedroom and the rest of your house while you were gone.
Wash all your sheets/bedding when you get home.

Now I'm not saying you will have this same problem but I'm just mentioning it so you'll be aware of what could go wrong.
My sister no longer trusts house/dog sitters and uses a kennel to board her animals when she has to leave town.

As to what to pay her, check Sitter City for going rates for pet/house sitters in your area and pay her according to that.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I would expect her to have free access to your kitchen. I would expect her to have access to the whole house but of course not go into your bedroom and stuff unless there was an emergency.

If she's using your house she should be able to use your house.

As for pay...I have no idea. I've house sat for people before but it was because they were a friend and I did it for them for nothing. I enjoyed having that time to myself and away from roommates or neighbors.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

Our dog sitter/ house sitter where we used to live charged only $15 a day. This is crazy cheap. She was very responsible and loved animals...she had another job as well. Our dog sitter here who takes our dog to her house charges $40 a day (which is a more normal price). Our teenage neighbor (she is also very responsible) will come over and feed our dog and walk her each day for $20 a day. For our inexpensive babysitter I would buy some frozen pizza/chips/fruit and tell her to help herself. She always ate the pizzas!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Fayetteville on

Most boarding facilities charge about $20/day. So, I would say pay her at least that. You probably should pay more for convenience and piece of mind, since the dog will stay in your home.

My cousin has 2 dogs and pays a pet sitter $60/day to come to her home 4 times to let the dogs out ($15/visit).

I would not leave her food. Tell her she can eat whatever is there, but I would not stock the place.

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