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What I Love About Pet Sitting: The Pros and Cons of my Favorite Side Hustle

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

I have made some extra cash in exchange for my pet sitting services for the past few years. My favorite thing to do is dogsit or dog walk, but I have also had the opportunity to watch cats, bunnies, fish, and even swimming pools. There are many different reasons I continue to pet sit, and sometimes I will rearrange my schedule at my part-time job to take on more pet sitting jobs.

PROS:  

  • Under the table CA$H

Since petsitting is just like babysitting, and I do not work for a company I get paid cash. Taxes are not taken out of my “paycheck” so I get paid exact amounts. While this does not work in the United States government for full-time jobs, since I do not make over the taxable amount I do not have to account for it in my tax return either. It’s a nice little boost to my bank account, helping pay for gas, lunch out, or gifts I would not normally have the money for.

  • Cute and Cuddly Friends

I am most definitely a dog person, but I love all animals. Sometimes I enjoy spending time with fur babies over spending time with people. When I pet sit I am responsible not only for the health and well-being of the animal but also for their happiness. I make sure that the pets get their food, and go out to the bathroom, but I also make sure they have walks, treats, toy time, and cuddles. I love grabbing a book and a blanket and sitting on the couch with a dog that needs a friendly presence to spend time with. My longtime client and my own dog’s best friend, Luna, gets Pup Cups any chance I get because it makes her happy which in return makes me happy. 

  • Flexibility 

I know that most pets need to be tended to everyday. Most of the time I am given instructions, “Please feed Roxy and LuLu between 5-7PM.” The time frame allows for me to use my time management skills and for flexibility. If I am out grocery shopping or spending time with friends I know I have a range of time to finish my activity and then feed the dogs. I even have gotten jobs where I only have to check on a cat every other day. It always depends on the animal on how many times a day they need to be tended to, how they need to be given care, and if I need to stay the night with them. Each unique situation allows for me to be flexible with my schedule. 

  • Purrfect Pictures

I think my favorite part of watching other people’s furbabies is taking pictures of them. I always make sure to send the pictures to their owners. For many people their pets are part of their family and when they leave them behind to go on a trip they want to know they are safe and loved. I think the best way to confirm that for them is by sending them pictures of their happy pets. Plus I love to post my cute new friends on social media to share.

  • Homework can still be completed

Similar to babies, most pets take frequent naps. I think that they sleep more soundly when someone is in the house with them, they do not feel the need to protect their property when someone is home to help them, i.e, me the pet sitter. But that’s just a theory, nonetheless I spend a lot of time with pets that continue to take their afternoon naps in my presence. I get to use this time to work on homework. Pet Sitting is a job that never hinders my schoolwork.

CONS: 

  • Poop Lots of POOP

Obviously, the biggest turn off of pet sitting is Poop. Dogs poop outside and it needs to be cleaned up. Cats have litter boxes that need to be cleaned. Bunnies like to leave pellets of poop everywhere! And then there’s always the occasional accidents that have to be cleaned up. Some pets get nervous since their owners are home and go inside, and others do it out of anger towards their missing family. So no matter what at some point of petsitting you will have to clean up poop. If you can get past the smell, and wash your hands afterwards you’re going to be just fine, everyone poops. 

  • Barking, Scratching, Growling, Biting

While I have never been bitten harshly while watching pets, knock on wood, it does happen. I have been nipped by playful puppies, growled at as if I was an intruder, and used as a scratching post for cats before. Pets are stressed when their owners are not home, and sometimes act out. I always try to meet the pets I am watching multiple times before their owners leave to help them adjust. I am not scared of dogs at all, and animals can sense when you are scared of them. If they sense your fear they will act on it. So my best advice is if you feel comfortable that the pets you watch will feel comfortable too.

  • Missing my own Pup and Bed

The biggest downfall of pet sitting is that I miss my own dog. Jodi is a black and tan dachshund that I spend everyday loving and caring for. When I decide to take on a pet sitting job, I don’t get to spend the majority of my time with my own dog, and I miss her. I miss cuddling with her in my own bed each night and morning. But I always remind myself that it’s nice to have extra money, and I will get to spend my full days with her just like normal shortly after the owners of the pets I am watching come home.

Overall, I love to pet sit. I love animals and this is the best way for me to make extra money. I 100% think the pros outweigh the cons, and highly recommend any college-student animal lovers to give it a try. Shout Out to the following fur babies that make it possible for me to Pet Sit year round: Luna, Roxy, LuLu, Sadie, Sawyer, Baxter, Munchkin, Dawkins, Nellie, Stitch, Fisher, Posey, Martin, Harper, Rocky, Chloe, Link, Caramel, Lily and so many others. 

Julia Harpel

West Chester '23

Julia Harpel is a senior editor and student at West Chester University. She is working towards her BSED English Writings Track with a Creative Writing Minor. She hopes to one day earn a Master's Degree. Julia is a mental health advocate, environmentalist, and feminist. When she is not at school, at work, writing, or reading, she loves to spend time with friends, go on adventures such as kayaking, and listen to country music.