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Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

This article was written by TOBALIE in cooperation with Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

As an owner of a pet you know the following problem: The vacation is coming or you are absent due to illness. Who will take care of the beloved pet? Who will walk the dog, who will feed the cat? Pet sitters take over this part, if you are not able to take care of your pet as usual. But have you ever asked yourself how to become a professional pet sitter? Are you even considering a career in this field yourself? Everything you need to know about this profession, you will learn in this article.

How to become a professional pet sitter in Austria and Germany?

Statistically, the demand for a pet is increasing in both countries. Thus, also the need for care for the animal, in case of illness, vacation or work commitments. But how does you actually become a professional pet sitter?

In Austria as well as in Germany the job title is not protected. This means that there is no state-regulated education to become a pet sitter. Any person can call him/herself a pet sitter without having to prove that he/she has a specific qualification.

In practice, however, it is in any case more serious and also more profitable, if you can show a (private) training and further education. There are many private training providers, but you have to pay attention to the quality and reputation.

What is the job description of a pet sitter?

As the name suggests, the main task of a pet sitter is to take care of pets when their owners are absent for various reasons. The job includes among other things:

  • Go for a walk: Dogs want to relieve themselves and exercise regularly. Multiple daily walks are one of the basic needs of a dog. If now once the owner of the dog has less time for his darling, it is recommended to engage a so-called Dogwalker. This person picks up the dog from its home, takes it for a walk and brings it back to its home.
  • Care on their place or at your home: Especially during hospital stays or vacations, pet sitters are very popular. Either the pet is taken in by the pet sitter in his/her own home for a day or longer or is supervised on their own home (several times) a day or several times a week. Dogs and cats naturally require more intensive care than, for example, rodents, birds and reptiles. If the owners of dogs and cats are absent for a longer period of time, it is recommended to take the animals (if possible) to your own home.
  • Fulfillment of basic needs: Care appropriate to the species and adapted to the animal are, of course, part of the basic tasks. This includes feeding the animal, grooming, cleaning all equipment (litter box, food bowls, cages), playing, exercise, sleep hygiene and of course giving lots of love and affection.
  • Extended duties: In addition to the basics, sometimes other tasks are added, such as visiting a veterinary clinic or similar, giving medication, but also for example watering flowers, emptying mail, etc.
  • Helping out at animal pensions/shelters: Caregivers are not only needed in the private sector. Most of these jobs are on a voluntary basis, but you will learn a lot and possibly make your first contacts. In any case, the animal residents there will be extremely grateful to you 😉.
dog harness that fits your dog

Is the profession of animal sitter suitable for you?

If you decide to take up this profession, you should not only have a love for animals, but also other prerequisites:

  • A good hand for animals.
  • But also for people.
  • Flexibility, reliability, trustworthiness are important qualities!
  • As well as patience and empathy.
  • Mental and physical strength, because things can get challenging.
  • Quick reaction time to prevent situations from happening. 
  • Free from animal allergies.
  • Fearlessness (there is always a risk of injury when working with living creatures).
  • Basic knowledge of animal specific behaviors.
  • Some learning theory know-how and knowledge of positive reinforcement.
  • Basic knowledge of first aid for animals.
  • Basic knowledge of legal issues.
  • Also a driver’s license is an advantage to be able to act quickly in case of emergency, but also to drive with the dogs in the countryside.
  • Always be honest and tell the owners everything. Because only in this way it is possible to continue to help the animal well. For example, if there was a conflict with a conspecific, the animal was frightened by something, can be important information for a behavioral trainer.

Why do I have to know so much as a pet sitter?

 Simply taking the dog out or quickly feeding the cat is unfortunately not enough. Because you have the responsibility for the animal. You have to know how to act in various situations. Especially when you go for a walk, it is important to be able to read the body language in order to master dog encounters well and to be able to judge when a play between the dogs is okay and when it could become dangerous.

 What should you consider before taking care of a dog?

  •  Take out professional liability insurance.
  • An appointment to get to know each other is usually useful so that the animal can get to know you and you can discuss everything calmly.
  • Discuss the pet’s wishes beforehand and note down the pet’s signals, rituals, rules, feeding times etc. so that the pet can maintain its usual routine. Have the TOBALIE pet profile shared with you, so that you can keep an eye on everything.
  • Work out how you should react in the event of an accident (contact the owner, go straight to the vet, …).
  • Put all agreements in writing and have them signed. 

How much does a pet sitter earn?

Most of the time, this profession is a small part-time job, which means that the earnings will not be too high. However, it is also possible to register a business and make pet sitting your main profession. The income then depends strongly on the number of animal clients. The more jobs, the higher your monthly salary will be. 

To supplement your salary and clientele, it never hurts to offer additional services such as training lessons or the like. The more qualified, flexible and committed you are, the more you will earn. 

Basically, however, you are charged by the hour or by the day. For example, how much you charge for a day of dog-sitting at your home depends on your reputation and qualifications. For walking the dog or feeding the cat, you will usually be charged between 8 and 20 €.

woman give cat treat


As a side job, full-time or on a voluntary basis, the pet-sitting business is booming. Nevertheless, this profession is not suitable for every person to the same extent. A good hand in dealing with animals, as well as flexibility and high trustworthiness is a must in any case.