a woman and dog on the couch

If you’re planning a vacation or have to go away for a while for whatever reason, whether that’s a couple of days or a few weeks, a trustworthy dog sitter to check in with your furbaby on a daily basis is something you’ll need to budget for. Pet sitters charge varying amounts based on a number of different factors, and in this post, we’ll break it down to give you an idea of how much you can expect to pay.

The Importance of Hiring a Dog Sitter

There are a host of benefits of hiring a dog sitter as an alternative to other pet care options, like boarding. For one thing, it will greatly reduce the stress your dog feels as they will be in a familiar environment with all their usual home comforts. Hiring a dog sitter also means you’ll get a service with a personal touch—most dog sitters are also dog lovers, after all, otherwise, they wouldn’t be doing what they do!

For this reason, your dog is more likely to receive plenty of personal attention by way of pats, cuddles, and play. Most importantly, hiring a dog sitter gives you peace of mind that your dog is safe, in good hands, and getting their daily walks and exercise time as normal.

Even if you’re going to be away for a couple of days only, please never consider leaving your dog alone—always make sure there’s someone to check in with them—if not a dog sitter, then a friend or neighbor.

golden retriever dogs lying on the floor with their owner at home
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How Much Does a Dog Sitter Cost?

The answer to this question depends on whether you’re hiring a sitter from a professional pet sitting company, an independent dog sitter, or a hobby sitter. Professional pet companies offer you the ultimate peace of mind, and some companies even include basic home care like bringing in mail or keeping things tidy in their packages. Their employees may be required to acquire a pet care qualification and/or undergo specific training.

Independent dog sitters are self-employed individuals who provide dog sitting services either as their main job or as a side job. Their charge varies based on their experience level, the services they provide, and their location and they are free to charge the price they see fit. Independent dog sitters are often professionals with experience.

Hobby sitters are people who offer pet sitting services because they love spending time with animals or want to earn a bit of extra cash. They could be your neighbor’s kid, a student from a local university, or an animal lover happy to help someone out.

In short, dog sitters tend to charge between $20 and $35 per hour as a rule, but this can go up to between $60 and $200 depending on the service you need. To compare costs, we’ve researched the average prices charged by professionals, individuals, and hobby sitters in the U.S.

Note: Please bear in mind that the prices in the above table are just estimates based on our research. They are not set prices and will differ depending on the service provider.

Type of Sitter Basic visit (20–30 Minutes) Extended Visit (50–60 Minutes) Long Visit (60–90 Minutes) Overnight Stay (12 hours)
Professional Company $27 $40 $55 $100–$150
Independent Contractor $25 $35 $50 $75–$100
Hobby Sitter $12–$20 $15–$25 $30–$35 $65–$75

Additional Costs to Anticipate

Many professional pet sitting companies and professional individuals include walks in their standard rates, but this isn’t guaranteed. Some charge extra for additional services such as longer walks or multiple walks, medication administration, pet food pick-up, and key pick-up or return. There’s also usually a surcharge of around $5 per dog in multiple-dog households.

Some offer short, walk-only visits, which typically last around 15 minutes—just enough time for your dog to relieve themself and stretch their legs. These brief walks typically cost around $15.

man and dog walking
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Which Type of Pet Sitter Is Best?

This depends on the kind of care your dog needs and the length of time you’re going to be away, but typically, professional pet sitting companies and professional individuals are your best bet. People who work for pet sitting companies tend to be trained in dealing with various situations that may arise as well as being qualified in some way, which gives you the ultimate peace of mind while you’re away.

Likewise, highly-rated independent contractor pet sitters are usually experienced in pet care and offer a great service that can be tailored to your needs. If you’re thinking of hiring an independent contractor, check the past reviews and comments left on the individual’s online pet sitting profile for reassurance that you’re choosing a trustworthy person.

Many hobby pet sitters also do a fantastic job. Naturally, most are animal lovers and it can be a great way for young people to feel a sense of responsibility and earn a little extra cash. That said, they’re less likely to be experienced in dealing with urgent situations or administering special care.

Do Pet Sitters Need Insurance?

This is not a legal requirement for pet sitters, but it is highly recommended for professional pet sitters. Some insurance companies offer this kind of insurance to cover you in the event of an accident or some other unforeseen situation.


To sum up, how much you will pay a dog sitter depends mostly on the type of pet sitter you choose to hire. Pet sitters with rates on the lower end of the scale tend to charge between $12 and $25 per hour, whereas those with higher rates (like professional sitters with experience and/or training) tend to charge between $30 and $40 per hour on average.

These costs rise depending on any additional services you require, like overnight stays, medication administration, and general house care.

Featured Image Credit: Pexels