If you want a description of a pet sitter or dog walker job then just look at the job requirements. After having a love for animals, the most common job descriptions are experience and reliability.
But just as important is to be trustworthy and physically fit. You have to pass a background check, provide references, and be able to walk 3 or more miles per day.
Finally, you need to have reliable transportation, a cell phone, and be able to work outdoors in harsh conditions.
Dog Walker Job Description
Here are the most common requirements and working conditions that you will see in a job description for a dog walker. The descriptions for each company may vary for their dog walker postings, but the list below are the core requirements.
Dog Handler Experience or Dog Ownership
The most important dog walker requirement is to have experience walking or handling dogs. You can get this experience by being a dog owner or volunteering at shelters.
Being a dog owner is a great benefit, both personally and if you are looking for a dog walker job. Consider adopting a dog if you do not already own one.
But experience walking or caring for dogs is better than just dog ownership. One of the best ways to get that experience is volunteering for a dog or animal shelter, rescue or adoption center. Try an online search or take a look at the ASPCA dog adoption page to find shelters in your area.
That one resume bullet point on your resume will look fantastic. It shows that you love dogs, are experienced with many types of dogs and are part of the pet industry.
Keep in mind that volunteering also involves cleaning crates, and“accidents”, and other non-walking responsibilities. It’s still worth it if you want an established pet service company to hire you.
Keep track of all the dogs that you have walked either for shelters or for other people. Note the actual number of walks, different breeds, different sizes, puppy or senior dogs, trained or untrained, etc.
Also, become familiar with different leashes, collars, and harnesses. The more knowledge and experience you have increases your chance of landing a dog walker job.
Another thing to consider is getting a dog or pet CPR and first aid certification. The American Red Cross used to offer classes, but that is no longer the case. Try to find a course in your area.
Here is a summary of the key requirements you will need to maximize your chances of being hired:
- Be a dog or pet owner
- Have some kind of experience walking, or caring, for many types of dogs
- Have your Pet CPR and First Aid Certification
You should get a dog walker job if you have those three things.
General Dog Walker Job Requirements
Let’s say you meet all of the requirements above. There are a few other critical requirements that you will see in dog walker job descriptions. If you can’t meet these requirements, then you will not get hired.
I believe the next most important thing is being able to pass a background check. There is no way I’m giving you keys to clients home if you can’t pass that test. Neither will any other dog walking business owner.
And to be able to perform the background check, you will need to have a valid ID like a drivers license or something similar. So update your ID before you apply for a job.
The next few requirements should be easy.
You will need to have a cell phone and internet access. I’m sure different companies do things differently, but you need a cell phone for short notice changes or other communications. I personally would send weekly schedules to my walkers via email on Sundays.
You also need reliable transportation to get to each dogs location throughout the day. If you live in a city, a bike should be fine, if not ideal. But you will need a car if you are servicing the suburbs.
So make sure to:
- Have a valid ID so that you can
- Pass a background check
- Have a cell phone and email access
- And have some form of transportation
If you have gotten to this point and you can check “yes” for all of the above, then you may be making money walking dogs soon. Just one more group of requirements to meet.
Time, Weather and Physical Requirements
People need their dogs walked around midday Monday thru Friday. So you need to be available every weekday. Some companies may need off-hour or weekend walks, but they need midday walkers the most.
If you can do off-hour and weekend walks, then you will become one of the most reliable walkers for the company. That means more dogs to walk and more money!
Most companies list working hours of 10 am to 5 pm in their job descriptions, although those hours vary from company to company. Starting at 10 am is close to the start time but you are usually done by 3:30 at the latest.
You also have to enjoy working outdoors even when the weather is horrible. Most of the time the weather is nice to a little difficult. Sometimes the weather is very challenging.
If you have any doubts about walking dogs in extreme cold, heat, rain or snow, then just think of other people who are sitting in a cubicle or doing hard labor. Or even better, imagine a job where you often ask “Do you want fries with that?”
Then there is all the walking to do. I estimate that I walk 3 to 4+ miles per day, or up to 20 miles a week. If you have any physical ailments involving your feet, knees or hips, then being a dog walker is not a good job choice.
Make sure you can meet the following requirements:
- Can work midday during weekdays
- Work from approximately 10 am to 4 or 5 pm
- Have no problem working outdoors in all types of weather
- Are physically fit enough to walk difficult dogs a few miles every day
How are you doing so far? Can you meet all of the above requirements? If so, then a dog walker job should be easy to find.
Benefits to Expect Being a Dog Walker
Other descriptions you will see in dog walker job postings are benefits like working with dogs, making your own schedule, and the actual pay rate.
The joy of working with dogs is a given, but the pay rates and variable scheduling will be particular to each company. Look for those details in each individual job description as every dog walking company do things differently.
Keep in mind that it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. You will have difficult dogs, last minute changes, and walks in horrible weather conditions. You also may have to work when you are not feeling well.
But the best benefit which overcomes all difficulties is when you walk into each home and the dog is eager and excited to see you. That puts a smile on your face every time.
Pet Sitter Job Description
All the descriptions for a dog walker job also apply for pet sitter jobs. The main difference is that pet sitting will involve dogs, cats and other types of pets.
Pet sitter job descriptions will mention that you must do morning and evening visits in addition to the afternoon dog walks. You may also have to do morning and evening visits for cats or other pets that need medication twice a day.
Another common requirement in pet sitter job descriptions is being responsible, specifically when it comes to the keys to each clients’ home. You will need to hold onto the keys over the days that you will be making your visits. If you lose the keys, how are you going to feed the pets or administer medicine?
Common Daily Pet Sitter Job Requirements
The most important requirement is giving the pets you are watching their daily food and water. Next important is giving the pets medicine if that is required.
Also, cats and caged animals will need their litter cleaned. You may also be asked to bring in mail or packages, and water indoor and outdoor plants.
Hopefully, you will never have to make emergency vet appointments. I only had to do that once in the ten years that I have been pet sitting. But you may have to. Remember, you are responsible until the owner gets home.
One of the biggest requirements though is being available to work holidays. That’s when most people go away, and of course, need pet sitting. Keep that in mind. While everyone else is having fun over the holiday weekend, you are walking dogs and cleaning litter.
I hope that I gave you an accurate description of the typical dog walker or pet sitter job posting. If you are lacking any of the requirements above, then do your best to change that.
You can still try applying for a dog walker job if you are lacking experience or some of the other things above. You may just contact a company at a time when they are in great need of a walker.
I have two other articles that will give you insight and practical tips for being a dog walker or pet sitter: 14 dog walking skills and Starting a Dog Walking Business, Tips & Tricks. If you live in or near Philadelphia, PA then check out my Adoption Centers article for places to adopt or volunteer.
I wish you luck finding a fantastic dog walker job!