Dog sit – What does it mean and where can you go?

11 Sep, 2021

Dog sit – What does it mean and where can you go?

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Are you a pet owner or more importantly a dog owner? Have you had to leave your dog at home or in kennels when you travel? Then you’ll know about dogsitting, dog minding and dog kennels. However, whether you have paid for these pet sitting services or not you may not know what the term dogsit means. Read on to learn not only what dog sit means, but how it helps you as the dog owner and the dog sitter.

What is a dog sit?

become a dogsitter
Caring for dogs as a live in dog sitter is a ‘dogsit’

Meaning of dog-sit, the term

The meaning of the term to dog sit is similar to the term pet sit, but specifically for dogs. That said when you pet sit dogs you care for them like a pet sitter, but you are a dog sitter. These following points in particular are useful to note when you are considering organising a dogsit, or committing to doing one as the sitter:

  • Where – You dogsit usually you are located in the pet’s own home. There may be more than one dog you are minding for the pet owner while they are away.
  • For how long – The duration of the pet sit can also be a short one like a day or weekend, or indeed long term petsitting arrangement for anything up to a year!
  • Who – Usually you are a pet sitter who specialises in being a live in dog sitter. Sometimes you also care for other pets and the property you are all staying in.

Dog sitting services in your own home

A dog-sit offers you dog sitting services in your own home. That means that a dog sitter house sitter will travel to your home where the dog lives and will move in to care for the pet.

Dog sitters near me

You may have started your search for a pet minder by searching for ‘dog sitters near me’. However, using a pet sitting and house sitting website like means you don’t pay for the dog sitter. They offer a free exchange of pet care and home care for rent free living.

What you do on a dog sit

When you are dog minding domestic dogs in their own home the pet owner will ask you to manage their routines. These pet care routines will usually involve dog walking and some form of exercise. Maintaining a feeding schedule is critical for most dogs as they are creatures of habit. And moreover routines often help dogs feel safe.

Dog sit routines

Maintaining a routine in their own home can also help to minimise any separation anxiety they may experience when the owner leaves for their trip.

Pet sit responsibilities for pet dogs

Here are some of the main per care responsibilities for pet dogs on a dogsit:

1. Dog walking with the dog sitter

Dog exercise is essential for all the dogs in your care as a dog sitter. And dog walking is the most usual form of exercise required of a petsitter.

Dog sitter – More than a dog walker

If you are a new dog sitter and are still building experience consider doing some research into dog behaviour and body language. A dog sitter is a live in dog minder, which is more than a dog walker in terms of the pet care services offered.

Dog sitters – Please Note

Here is an article for reference on Dogsitter’s Tips – Body language and how to read it

Dog walking is an essential task on a dog sit

2. Dog sitters grooming and bathing

Some dogs need more bathing than others. If you are a dog sitter on the dogsit assignment, make sure you understand from the dog owner how often if at all they want them bathed. And if you do bathe and groom the dogs ensure they tell you which products to use and where to bathe the dogs.

Bathing and grooming may well be required while dog sitting

3. Feeding while on a dog sit

Feeding is a daily routine. Sometimes the dog feeding regime requires you to feed them more than once while you are dogsitting. For total clarity on the dogsit responsibilities, ensure as the dog minder you are fully briefed as to when and how often and what the dogs should be fed.

Dogsit feeding and cleaning

Some dogs are messy eaters. So it is also worth noting how the owners like you to clean the dog eating area in the home.

robot vacuum cleaner
Feeding the dog and maintaining routines is key on a dogsit

4. Dog play and stimulation on a dogsit

Most dogs are intelligent animals. Some are highly intelligent and thrive on engagement with other dogs and the human beings caring for them. During the 2020 lockdown due to the global pandemic dogs grew used to spending time with their owners. It is particularly important post pandemic, to encourage dog play and stimulation as a distraction. As a dog sitter play and stimulation can really help dogs with separation anxiety.


live in dogsitter
Dogs are intelligent animals. Some need lots of stimulation

Puppy sitting dogsit

When you are looking after a puppy on your dogsit you will need to do more play and stimulation than with older dogs. As the dogsitter you may have your instructions from the pet owner. However, you should also be aware that the puppy training needs to be ongoing even if the pet owner is away for a while.

Advantage of a live in house and dog sitter

The consistency in training becomes even more critical for the development of the dog.

Puppy sitters – Please Note

Whatever instructions the owner gives you to continue to call to the puppy, and how to reward the puppy, make notes.  In puppy training it is essential to keep it going. Repetition and consistency is essential for the puppy training. Here is a handy video which helps to describe the essentials in puppy training.

5. Giving dog medication on a dog sit

Some dogs need either medication given on a regular basis, or various treatments. As dogs mature some breeds become susceptible to a number of common ailments. On a dogsit, especially a lengthy one, you may be asked to medicate or care for the dog with such a treatment.

Trusted pet sitter

As a trusted pet sitter the pet owner will expect you to look out for unusual behaviour and any signs of illness.

Common dog ailments to watch

If your pet charges on the dogsit are mature or even senior they may suffer from a dog ailment. There are a number of common dog ailments to be aware of. Ask the pet owner about the required medication or treatment that you may be asked to deliver include:

  • Ear Infections.
  • Itchy skin/Skin Infections.
  • Dental Disease.
  • Vomiting/Diarrhoea.
  • Stiffness and Pain.
  • Urinary Problems.
  • Obesity.
  • Diabetes.
Some dogs require ear syringing.> This is done by the vet


Another element of dog pet care is nail trimming, which every dog will need to have done. However, if you have never done this before either as a dog owner or a dog sitter, then the dogsit is not the time to do this. Take the dog to the vet to have this done. Here is a training video to offer more details about dog nail trimming.

Convenience of in home pet sitting

One of the real advantages of having a live in petsitter is that they can monitor pet well being and catch any issues quickly.

Dog sitters – Please Note

Always ask the dog owner about any pet care treatments, or symptoms you have noticed since the owner’s departure before you do anything. Then make sure you have a local vet’s details in case you need to take the dog to the vet.

Who does the dog minding on a dog sit?

– As the petsitter you mind the dogs

A dogsit will involve care of the pets in their own home. This could be called a dog sitting job or assignment.

As the dogsitter you may be looking after dogs and cats, you may also be bird sitting or even Guinea pig sitting.

The care and well being of the pets is the responsibility of the housesitter while the pet owner is away. Therefore, that means that the petsitters are responsible for all the pet minding, and especially the dog minding. That includes feeding routines, exercise routines, grooming and play. All these activities form part of what you might be asked to do to care for the pet.

– As the pet owner look for skills you need in the dogsitter

Some housesitters specialise in particular pets as either dog sitters or catsitters etc. Some even state on their public profile whether they prefer or have more experience with particular pets. Alternatively they may state if they are general all rounders and have cared for lots of pets. Some housesitters like to keep skills sharp by taking pet first aid courses, or dog handling courses for example in their downtime. This may or may not be important to you as a pet owner.

Some housesitters are active in petsitting and housesitting because they love the active holidays and animals. They may state in their profile prefer to stay in homes and live with and care for the resident pets rather stay in anonymous hotels or hostels. It can really enhance the experience of a new location to stay in a neighbourhood, and live like a local.

Where can you dogsit?

Dogsitting in the dog’s own home

Kennel alternative
A dogsit takes place in the dog’s own home

Dogsits take place in the pet’s own home.  It’s a dog sitting service in your own home.

Dog house sitting

This has many benefits for the dog, making sure they are at ease in their own environment. For the pet owner too this can give great peace of mind knowing that everything to dog needs is at hand. The dog’s home may be in your own country or indeed it may require you to travel abroad.

Dogsitting abroad

If you have dogsat in your own country and fancy going further afield, read on. There are petsitting and housesitting websites that promote dogsits abroad.

Dogsitting and house sitting abroad has many advantages and challenges.

If you have been dog sitting and housesitting in the UK and now fancy going further afield it can be a real adventure.

Advantages of rent free living when dog and house sitting abroad

Going abroad for a dogsit means you have to gear up to apply and you have to organise the logistics of getting there.

If you fancy dogsitting and housesitting in Europe then consider joining a house sitting website. These platforms will offer a range of exciting dogsits and housesits. Some are free to join and are free housesitting websites.

Dogsitting websites

Some people search for dogsitting websites, however, largely they are included in the services of most housesitting websites.

You can go to many other locations when you have dogsitting and housesitting experience. By exchanging your skills as a sitter, and promoting your speciality in dog handling and pet care you could try –

Pet and house sitting in Australia

Pet and house sitting in Canada

Dog and house sitting in the USA

Precautions on a petsitting and housesitting website

The more evolved sites charge a small annual fee to cover other professional services offer via the site. For example, they will ensure you get properly checked when you join to keep the website and membership safe. These checks will likely include an ID check and a police and background check.

These simple yet essential steps help to keep the membership safe by keeping undesirable persons out of the network. All who join and are willing to be checked through these simple procedures for example on prove themselves to be collaborative and happy to be recognised for who they are. This is a testament of a general good nature. It bodes well if you are looking for petsitters and housesitters to live in your home and care for your property and pets.

All these pet sitting and house sitting websites offer an exchange of services, free pet sitting and housesitting in exchange for rent free living.

Caring for dogs in their own home can happen in any country

Is a dog sit a job?

A dogsit can be a professional job. For many professional petsitters and dog sitters a dogsit is a job. Each dog-sit they commit to and complete helps them to earn their living. How much they earn per dog-sit will depend on a number of factors:

  • Their experience as dogsitters
  • Where they are located and where they choose to dogsit – cities are usually more expensive
  • The average rate per dog sitting assignment in the local area
  • How many dogs are involved in the dog minding assignment
  • Do you have other pets in the household they also need to care for
  • Are they professionally insured – this may increase their prices
  • Are they required to stay in the house the whole time or may they come and go according to the petsitting agreement with the owners.

Can a dog sit be a holiday ?

Yes a dogsit can be a holiday for the pet sitters. Doubtless it will be an active holiday if there are several dogs or even one lively dog involved.

If you consider the number of dog owners and pet owners in general who ask friends and relatives to step in to care for their animals while they are away on holidays then definitely yes. Some people love dog sitting as a way to have an active holiday, staying in a home and caring for pets. It attracts a large range of people especially retired and semi retired people or even families living on a budget. Here are some examples of dogsitting assignments that proved to be much appreciated active holidays by the dogsitters:

Housesitting Ile de France – Losing myself in the country#

Family housesitting in Spain – Top tips


More useful blog links about dogsitting with Housesitmatch

At we always try to share useful and informative blogs and practical advice with our members. Read on to find some helpful articles with useful tips for dog owners and dogsitters about dogsitting.

Top dogsitting tips for beginners

Dogsitters’ tips – Dog’s body language and how to read it


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Founder and Director of HouseSitMatch - I'm a hands-on Admin on the site. Please ask any questions and as soon as I can I'll happily answer and assist where I can.

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