If you are traveling for business or pleasure or spend long hours away from your dog during the day, you may find yourself hiring a dog sitter. Once you see how much your dog loves having someone check on them when you are gone, you might also be considering giving your dog sitter a tip. Should you tip your dog sitter? How much should you tip and when? We are going to dig into those details today.
So, do you tip dog sitters? Dog sitters do not expect tips in exchange for their work. Although tipping your dog sitter occasionally for outstanding work, at times where they perform duties beyond their normal requirements, or around special occasions, is a gesture of thanks they are sure to appreciate and is considered a nice gesture.
Ultimately, it’s going to come down to circumstances and context.
Have you just hired a new dog sitter? Is your dog particularly difficult? Has your dog sitter gone above and beyond – arriving early or bringing their own treats, for instance.
These are some things to perhaps consider.
Are they worthy of a tip, and can you afford to give them one?
With this in mind, let’s look more closely at when, why, and how people tip their dog sitters.
Should You Tip Your Dog Sitter?
Tipping your dog sitter is generally based on the personal choice of each dog owner. Dog sitters report having some customers who frequently tip and others who stick to paying the rate that was charged for their services.
At the same time, sitters say that they do not expect tips for their work, and any tips they receive are seen as an unexpected but positive bonus for their dog-sitting duties.
Tipping for dog sitters does not fall in the same category as tipping servers at restaurants who often rely on tips and are expecting them from each table.
Still, dog sitting is a part of the service industry, so tips for outstanding work are valued.
If tipping your dog sitter fits into your budget, and you feel that your sitter has done an exceptional job, then tipping is appropriate.
Some people tip every time they hire a dog sitter, some reserve tips for special occasions, and others may not tip outside of very special circumstances.
Do Dog Sitters Expect To Be Tipped?
Dog sitters do not expect a tip every time they help care for your animal. Most private dog sitters set their own rates and see tips as a positive extra when they occur. Dog sitters who work for a larger pet sitting company are usually paid an agreed-upon rate that should cover their expected financial needs. These pet sitters may or may not be allowed to accept tips.
On the surface, dog sitting probably sounds like a dream job to many, but it comes with a lot of responsibilities.
To be a great dog sitter, you must be able to pay attention to details, be willing to care for the often most loved pet family member, and be knowledgeable about a wide range of dog-related needs such as feeding, exercising health, and grooming.
Sitters are likely to see tips as an acknowledgment of the specialized skills and training they have obtained to provide your dog the best care.
In short, tipping is never expected but is appreciated when it is given out of gratitude for the love and care your sitter shows your pet.
How Much Should You Tip Your Dog Sitter?
The amount you tip your dog sitter is mostly based on the amount you paid for sitting. As with most other tipping situations, planning to spend 15-20% of sitting fees on a tip is a reasonable range.
However, the amount you tip may fluctuate based on things such as time of year, special requests made to your pet sitter, the number of dogs you have, and the length of time the dog sitter was needed for.
If you are looking for a quick payment amount, simply look at your pet sitting fee before taxes and calculate 15% of the fee.
This can then be provided as a standard service industry tip.
If 15% is out of your budget, it’s okay to tip a lower amount, such as 5-10%, to show your appreciation without emptying your bank account.
Some people may not prefer to do a percentage-based tip.
Other ideas are to pay your sitter a set amount per dog you have asked them to watch.
In this case, you could add on $5 – $10 per dog as a thank you. If you are gone for multiple days, you may also want to tip $5-$10 per dog per day gone.
All of these amounts are simply options to help you begin to determine what tip amount you can afford and would be easy to plan to spend based on your pet sitting needs.
When To Tip Your Dog Sitter
The best time to tip your dog sitter is after they have completed their care and you have returned home to a happy, healthy dog.
If your dog sitter stays at your home for the entire time you are away, you can tip them when you return home and before they leave.
If your dog sitter drops in and out of your home throughout the day, you can add a tip when you pay them their fees or even mail a tip to their contact address.
Part of when you tip will depend on the frequency you use your pet sitter.
Are you working during the day and paying a sitter to stop by and check on your dog on a regular basis while you work?
If so, your pet sitting relationship is ongoing and frequent. In this case, you may choose to pay your pet sitter by leaving them a note of thanks and tip in a location they will be sure to find it, such as with your pet’s supplies or by their crate.
If you only use a pet sitter on rare occasions for things such as vacations or business travel, then paying once you have returned and can confirm your pets were well taken care of is the best time to give a tip.
Do You Tip Your Dog Sitter Every Time?
If you use a dog sitter occasionally when you are out of town for multiple days, you might want to pay each time you use your sitter. If you are using a daytime sitter on a frequent and regular basis while you work or do other activities away from home, you may choose to tip on a schedule or save extra tips for special occasions.
Because I have many animals that need care when I travel for vacations around twice a year, I tip each time I use a pet sitter.
My pet sitter stays at my home for the days I am away and provides great care to my animals.
The amount I tip varies based on how long I was gone and the sitter’s exact duties, but I do tip at least a small amount each time.
On the other hand, a friend uses a sitter who stops by their house mid-day during weekdays to let their dog out to use the restroom, stretch its legs, and get a drink.
They do not tip their sitter every time they come to their house.
Instead, they tip their sitter special amounts around holidays, birthdays, or when the sitter is asked to do extra duties such as an extended walk or care for the dog in less than ideal weather.
How often you tip your dog is a personal choice based on your unique situation.
Because most sitters do not expect tips, they will be grateful to receive them any time you give them with honest thankfulness.
When tipping a predetermined rate on a schedule, there may still be times that you want to consider tipping more than usual.
Let’s talk about those times now.
When You May Want To Tip Your Dog Sitter More
You may want to tip your dog sitter more around the holidays if they have been asked to take on more responsibilities than normal or if your dog has been difficult to care for than normal. Taking these things into consideration helps you to give your dog sitter a meaningful tip that aligns with the work they are asked to do.
Around The Holidays
Everyone appreciates a little extra money around the holidays.
A larger tip around the holidays makes a great holiday gift for the person who helps keep your perfect dog happy in your absence.
If your pet sitter watches your dog during or directly before or after a major holiday, tipping more than normal is a good show of thanks.
Even if you typically opt out of tipping, a tip around the holidays makes your dog sitter feel seen and appreciated for working during a time when many take off to be with their families and friends.
If you have added duties or responsibilities to your dog sitter’s routine, increasing their tip is something to consider.
Have you started requesting a walk in addition to a simple trip outside to potty?
Is your pet sitter taking your dog for grooming or veterinary appointments?
These tasks are often part of a pet sitter’s duties but reach beyond simply feeding and caring for your dog’s basic needs.
Extra Care & Attention
Even the best dogs can have times when they are hard to care for.
If your dog has recently had a medical procedure, such as spaying or neutering, they may need extra care and attention.
A dog that has a chewing habit may tear up things in your house that your pet sitter feels responsible for cleaning up.
Other times, dogs can simply be ornery and make their human care providers work harder than normal.
If your dog has been having a tough time in the behavior department or needs extra care and consideration, a larger than normal tip may be in order.
How To Pay Your Dog Sitter A Tip
How best to tip your dog sitter is mostly reliant on how you pay your dog sitter their normal fees. The general approach to paying your sitter a tip is to pay them in the same currency form you pay for all other fees.
If you pay your sitter with cash or a check, simply add your tip amount to the total of your sitting fees when paying.
Make sure to tell your sitter thank you, so they know the extra money is intended as a tip for their work.
If you pay with a credit card, you will often find a tip line on your payment receipt where you can write the desired tip amount.
Some sitters like electronic payments; in this case, sending an extra payment labeled as a tip through the electronic payment platform is a great way to deliver your tip.
Tipping your pet sitter is a wonderful way to express gratitude for the person who is likely your pet’s second-best friend.
Sitters love the dogs they watch and want to build a list of happy customers, both hound, and human.
A tip can go a long way towards letting your dog sitter know they are seen and appreciated for their efforts.
Or you could even get them a gift.
Wondering who else you may need to tip, I’ve got you covered in the following guides:
- Do You Tip Dog Trainers
- Do You Tip Dog Walkers
- Do You Tip Dog Boarders
- Do You Tip Dog Groomers
- Do You Tip A Dog Transporter?
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.