FAQ

House and Pet Sitting
You have questions, and that is good!

If you have never brought in a House and Pet sitter before, I am going to guess that you have some questions. I know I did before ever becoming a sitter. So let me try to address your most freqently asked questions.

1) What is pet, plant & house sitting?

House sitting is a mutually beneficial arrangement between two parties – most usually taking place between a homeowner and a house-sitter – enabling the owner to leave their pets, plants and property in the care of the sitter for an agreed period of time.

2) House sitting is a mutually beneficial arrangement between two parties – most usually taking place between a homeowner and a house-sitter – enabling the owner to leave their pets, plants and property in the care of the sitter for an agreed period of time.

People’s reasons for getting a house sitter varies, but often include some of these reasons:

  • Security of your home by having an ongoing presence in your home.
  • Ensures that your home insurance is not invalidated (i.e.: some insurance policies say if the home is vacant for 3 or more days and something happens, then insurance liability is voided because homeowner has neglected their duty – please check your insurance policy!) This varies from policy to policy, and from country to country.  
  • Have someone take in your mail, take pictures of it/ send to you or process as instructed
  • Have someone water plants or do regular maintenance that you would normally do such as cutting the grass or shoveling snow, or do pool/ hot tub maintenance.
  • Have someone in the house every night (or as agreed upon)
  • Does not inconvenience family, friends and neighbours to check in your home.

3) Why get a house sitter?

People’s reasons for getting a house sitter varies, but often include some of these reasons:

  • Security of your home by having an ongoing presence in your home.
  • Ensures that your home insurance is not invalidated (i.e.: some insurance policies say if the home is vacant for 3 or more days and something happens, then insurance liability is voided because homeowner has neglected their duty – please check your insurance policy!) This varies from policy to policy, and from country to country.  
  • Have someone take in your mail, take pictures of it/ send to you or process as instructed
  • Have someone water plants or do regular maintenance that you would normally do such as cutting the grass or shoveling snow, or do pool/ hot tub maintenance.
  • Have someone in the house every night (or as agreed upon)
  • Does not inconvenience family, friends and neighbours to check in your home

4) Why get a pet sitter?

People’s reasons for getting a pet sitter varies, but often include some of these reasons:

  • Takes care of your pets
  • Maintains your pets’ habits/ routines and keeps them in your home
  • Reduces pet stress and anxiety
  • Saves you a ton of money
    • Preliminary research suggests that pet sitting fees are (low estimate) about $25 a day regardless of your currency per animal. Fees may also fluctuate based on the number of animals, home stays, number of responsibilities (ie; time spent walking), etc…
  • Ensures that pets are fed only what you want them to eat (i.e.: same brand, etc. if they have allergies, etc.) because you have supplied the food
  • Ensures that medications are provided (and by someone who does it the way you teach them to do it)
  • Pets receive love and attention
  • Pets receive the same or similar care with a pet sitter as what you would provide, including keeping them on similar schedules

5) What is plant sitting?

People’s reasons for getting a plant sitter varies, but often include some of these reasons:

  • They want their plants and gardens to not only survive but thrive during their absence.
  • Plants have a consistent watering and/ or fertilizer schedule to remain healthy or keep on track to bloom.
  • They have plants that are high needs, ie: orchids which are watered by ice and misting
  • Gardens need to be watered to ensure fruit and vegetable flower and are productive later in the season protecting the time invested in planting.
  • Have full gardens that have fruit or vegetable that need to be harvested to maintain plant productivity throughout the season.

6) What is the least talked about, but most important attribute when it comes to pet, plant and house sitting?

TRUST! I believe the pet, plant and house sitting community is a community of trust! Every aspect of pet, plant and house sitting is based on trust! Trust that the home owners and sitters will honour their commitments, that pets, plant and home will be cared for and maintained. Trust is the basis of every sit and without it, it is very difficult for the home owner and sitter to have peace of mind! (and yes, it goes both ways! Both needs to be able to trust the other to have a beneficial experience).

  • Home owners trust that:
    • sitters will be clear about what they can and can’t handle
      • for example, I do not sit with excitable dogs over 75 lbs, its simply more than what I can handle.
    • sitters will arrive when they say they will arrive, or keep home owners appraised if there are delays (ie: flights, etc)
    • sitters will show up!
    • sitters say and describe themselves accurately
      • For example: loves dogs and actually does love dogs
    • sitters will treat their properties with care and respect, making sure it is cleaned and maintained to the same level it was handed off to them
    • sitters will use the car, if included, as discussed, and will be careful and clear about what they can or can’t drive
      • for example: I (Anik) can drive manual and automatic cars, right or left hand drive, and small cars to 34 foot RV’s, I have a motorcycle license and have driven gas or electric scooters.
  • House sitters trust that:
    • Home owners are clear about pets behaviours and size
      • For example: how do pets react around other animals? are they will trained? toilette habits? health and medication
    • Home owners have a space for the house sitter to sleep, work and cook as discussed
      • this includes fresh/ clean bedding, space for food and clothes
    • Home owners will keep the sitter appraised of any changes to the dates, expectations, or number of animals or care required.
      • for example, if the health of one of the animals changes, or holiday time is reduced, the the sitter is advised and options are discussed
    • Home owners will not cancel the sit, especially as some sitters travel internationally for the sit.
      • Although it is true that emergencies happen, the sitter does incurs expenses for travel, and additional costs if they need to find alternate accommodations.
    • Home owners will have prepared their home for the sitter
    • Home owners will be clear about boundaries
      • For example, where you can go, what you can use but also the things you can’t!
      • For example, I was in a Scottish home and they had Canadian maple syrop (a staple as a Canadian, but a luxury product in Scotland). They requested that not enjoy it. Their wish was easily respected because I knew it was something important to them.

7) After trust, what is the next key to success in pet, plant and house sitting?

It’s always about COMMUNICATION!

Home owners communicating what their wants and needs are. What they can offer, how they can support the house sitter, and the resources available, including an emergency back up, vet information, quirks of the house, etc.

House sitters communicating their wants and needs. This includes what they can and can’t do, what are deal breakers, and an honest assessment of whether they can complete the sit based on the home owners description.

So ask the silly questions (ex: where is the water shut off?), or the things that seem common sense at home but now that they are in a different language seem confusing (ex: how do you run the washing machine if all the text is written in Greek letters?) and the burning questions (ex: you mentioned your pet is sick, what do you want me to do if….). NO subject is taboo, its about getting what you both want and need, in order to get your expectations met! So ask away and share! Remember, the more you communicate, the better the experience for both parties as both will know what to expect and you can negotiate activities and responsibilities.

8) How do you choose a pet, plant and house sitter?

Technically, this is the easy part! You ask questions. But in my experience, you want to make sure you have right person for the sit and the personalities. So ask all kinds of questions and trust your gut when you hear the answers! If it does not feel right, move thank the sitter, but move on to the next one! Now some of the questions you ask include:

  • What is your pet, plant and house sitting experience?
  • Do you like … Do you have experience with …
  • Have you traveled in this country before? What languages do you speak? How have you managed in other countries where you did not speak the language?
  • I live in a remote location, how well do you deal with being alone?
    • Or the opposite, I live in an urban location, how do you deal in large cities?
  • Do you have experience with sick pets?
  • What is your typical day like? what are the activities you enjoy?
    • for example: think about pet and plant routines, does their typical day suit your situation?
  • Do you have any requirements or limits for a house sit?
    • for example, I work online so a home without access to wifi would be something I would need to consider and might be a reason for me to decline a pet, plant or house sit.
  • And there are so many other questions you can ask based on your situation or need! So don’t be afraid to ask your sitter about themselves, their expectations and whether they can meet your expectations. After all, the goal is to create a mutually beneficial opportunity that provides peace of mind for the home owner and the house sitter.

9) So you have chosen your sitter, and you want to get ready! What are some of the basic expectations or recommendations?

These are simple and common sense but not everyone knows or does this.

  • Leave the house neat and tidy, before leaving but the sitter will also make it neat and tidy before the homeowners return
  • Leave enough food for at least 2 meals (a dinner/ snack + breakfast) because no one will have time to grocery shop before their arrival. So it is nice to leave some staples to get started with (homeowner for sitter & sitter for homeowner). If you are unsure what to leave, ask the sitter/ home owner what they would like to have when they arrive.
  • Discuss with house sitter/ homeowner about arrival time and whether they have eaten, have a meal or snack available as needed. 
  • Leave enough food/ medications/ supplies for the animals for the duration of the house sit, or longer (in case of delays)
  • Leave car ownership and insurance papers (if applicable), and sitter to provide copies of driver’s license(s).
  • A clean space for the house sitter to sleep, including sheets & towel.
  • Essentials – i.e.: toilette paper, ideally shampoo, soap, etc. for the duration of a short stay, or if a longer stay, at least enough to get me through until I can get some shopping done.

10) Would you like to know what I personally appreciate from home owners when pet sitting?  

None of these are obligatory, but very, very appreciated:

  • A reasonable sized float (for house sits in Europe/ North America, I usually recommend $50.00) so that any immediate expenses or emergencies can be dealt with immediately.
    • For example: I had one homeowner who did not buy enough dog food for the house sit, she simply miscalculated the amount needed. So with the float, I was able to buy the food needed (and ensure there was some for her arrival) and leave her a copy of the receipt and remainder of the float in her float bag!
    • Another example: I did an urban house sit for an elderly and sick cat. No car was provided, and if an emergency occurred, the bus would have taken too long. So a float was left to cover transportation costs, if needed. Payment arrangements with the vet were also pre-planned. As it was pre-planned nothing was needed but it did provide a sense of comfort to know it was done.
  • When a home owner says, “go ahead”, use the perishable food or the dry goods you need. Sometimes you don’t really need much, but to buy everything, every time (because you cant travel with it) gets costly and inconvenient. This also makes me feel better as I don’t like to see food wasted and gives me ideas about what the home owners enjoy eating and this can guide my cooking.
  • Tupperware/ containers – I often cook for homeowners – and it’s nice to have a place to store things to give to the homeowners (either fresh or frozen). And its always nice to come home to a home cooked meal after travelling.
  • It’s nice if there is shampoo/ conditioner in the bathroom, especially if I am on multi month house sitting stretch because liquids when flying is a challenge!

Have more questions?

dog, animal, continental bulldog
Fish Discus Aquarium  - ReginaWoelk / Pixabay
Rat Mouse Rodent Eyes Wild  - ivabalk / Pixabay
Rooster Chicken Hen Chicken Coop  - enriquelopezgarre / Pixabay
Cat Tabby Sleeping Pet Animal  - guvo59 / Pixabay

Are there other resources I can access?

Oh yes, there are ton’s of resource online! General resources such as

House sitting Magazine  – a resource supporting the house sitting community across the globe. It’s available online or by app!  FREE

Trusted House Sitters – a house sitting platform that connects home owner/ pet parents to sitters around the world.  MEMBERSHIP

House Sitting Canada – a Canadian house sitting platform for Canadian home owners and pet parents. Sitters are mostly Canadian, however not only Canadian. * FREE FOR HOME OWNERS/ MEMBERSHIP for Sitters

* these are sites that I use frequently because I am a member of these sites as a Sitter. It should be noted that there are many more hosue and pet sitting websites that are global or country specific, such as: Nomador, House Sitter Australia/ UK/ Mexico,  Mind My House, etc. You can actually find a comparison and discount codes for these other sites through House Sitter Magazine.

However, if you would like to join these sites – let me offer you a a discount/ referral code! If you join using this code, I get a bit of extra time added to my membership!

  • Trusted House Sitter: RAF174251 
  • House Sitter Canada: X9Z5HQ (this code changes frequently so if you need a new one, please let me know)