3 min read

Amateur vs. Professional Dog Sitters: What's Better?


Few things in life are as exciting as vacations, but worrying about a woofer's well-being can take away some of that magic. That's why it's so important to find the best "pawssible" care for your fur-baby before heading out of town.

Pet parents who are on a tight budget or aren't keen on sending their canine to a kennel might think hiring a friend or family member as a dog sitter is a frugal move. But is hiring an amateur sitter the best choice for your barking buddy? Let's compare professional and amateur dog sitters to see who comes out on top.

Pros and cons of a professional vs. amateur dog sitter

There's plenty to mull over when hiring a professional dog sitter, but do the positives outweigh the negatives? Let's look at the pros and cons of hiring a professional over an amateur dog sitter.

Pros of hiring a professional dog sitter

  • They're highly qualified. Professional dog sitters have years of experience working with dogs in shelters, veterinarian clinics, training facilities, and similar settings. Many also have qualifications in pet care. Friends and family are unlikely to have as much experience caring for dogs.
  • They're insured. Pro dog sitters usually have personal liability insurance, which means they're covered in case something unexpected happens during a sitting session. Friends and family may be harder to hold accountable for problems.
  • They'll provide care tailored to your dog's needs. Little things like dietary requirements are often the most important. Pro dog sitters carefully tailor their care to your dog's needs. A friend or family member may be more likely to miss small details
  • They'll go the extra mile. From watering your plants to keeping your home spotless, pro dog sitters will go the extra mile. After all, their job is their livelihood, and bad reviews affect future business. 
  • They're responsive to issues. Friends and family have their own lives and may be less responsive to your questions. Dog sitters are almost always on hand to answer your questions and update you.
  • They know dog training basics. Most pro sitters can command a dog with ease, making dog sitting a little safer. For example, if a dog runs away on a walk, a dog sitter likely knows the best training techniques to ensure their safe return. 
  • They're, well, professional! Pet parents could fall out with family and friends if their amateur sitter causes damage and doesn’t ’fess up. You won't have to worry about damaging an important relationship when dealing with a pro dog sitter.

golden dog holding blue rope toy in their mouth - pro vs amateur dog sitters

Pros of hiring an amateur sitter

  • They're less expensive. It tends to be more costly to hire a professional, as a friend or family member will be doing you a favor. A kind-hearted friend may even care for your pup for free!
  • They won't be a stranger in your home. Some people are wary of allowing a stranger (including new dog sitters) to access their home. You can avoid allowing someone you don't know into your house by hiring a friend or family member.
  • They're familiar with your dog. Your dog is likely already familiar with a friend or family member. If your dog is protective, a stranger coming in unaccompanied could result in a confrontation or anxiety. That said, a sitter could build a bond with your dog over repeat sessions. 
  • They'll know the ins and outs of your home. Your first few sessions with a pro dog sitter are essentially an adjustment period. A professional sitter might need to ask you questions about where things are located and where your dog is allowed. On the other paw, friends and family members have likely visited your home before and may not have as many questions.

Overall, there are more reasons to hire a professional sitter than a friend or family member. If you're in need of a professional dog sitter to care for Fifi while you're away, check out dog sitters available on the Wag! platform. All sitters on the app are carefully vetted, offer competitive rates for their services, and are sure to keep your pup's tail wagging!

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