Dog sitting: Rates, services, and benefits

23 November 2023 - 3 min read
People walking dogs

Dogs are full of energy and excitement, and need lots of attention - which is why it can be challenging when their owners go on holiday or take a trip without them! Hiring a sitter is a way to ensure your dogs get personal attention while you’re away, along with all the food, care, and exercise they need on a daily basis. 

If you need someone to look after your furry best friend while you’re out of the house for any reason, check out our guide to dog sitter prices in the UK - including how to get a dog sitter, and what kind of services and benefits you can expect. 

What do dog sitters do?

Dog sitters do more than just look in on your dogs while you’re away. In fact, they offer a range of helpful services, including feeding your dog, socialising and interacting with it, administering its medication, and taking it out on walks. Dog sitters can also be there if your dog has a bump or scrape,  or if there's an emergency and it needs to see a vet.

You could hire a dog sitter to simply stop by your house to be with your dog, feed it, and take it for a walk while you’re not there. Alternatively, your dog sitter’s service might involve boarding, with them taking your dog to stay with them at their home. Sitters are a great alternative to putting your dog in a kennel, especially if it gets anxious in unfamiliar environments. 

Beyond looking after dogs’ needs, sitters will often perform other services when they visit, such as dropping off keys, picking up mail, turning lights on and off, and even watering household plants. These little extras are a convenience, and you should talk to your sitter to see if they’re happy to include them in the service. 

How much does a dog sitter cost?

You can expect to pay different dog sitter prices depending on factors such as: 

  • Your location: Dog sitters in cities or urban environments may charge more as a result of higher living costs. 

  • Your dog’s needs: Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, and some may require more attention from sitters than others. With that in mind, you should expect to pay more if you want a sitter to visit your dog more frequently or for longer periods, or if your dog has certain special needs. 

  • Sitting experience: Many experienced sitters, or sitters with certain qualifications (such as pet first aid), will charge more. 

  • Household tasks: If you need your sitter to perform any extra household tasks, such as light cleaning, or watering plants, you should expect to pay a little more on top of their dog care services. 

Dog sitting fees

Average dog sitting costs in the UK may break down in the following ways: 

Dog walking £10 to £15 per hour
Weekday drop-in visits - 30 mins to 1hr Up to £30 (higher on weekends and bank holidays)
Doggy day care - full day Around £25
Home dog boarding - full day Up to £60 (price may vary based on dog’s breed and needs)
Other services - trips to vet, cleaning, key collection, plant watering, grooming, overnight stays £5 to £100 (or more depending on detail and duration of service)

The benefits of dog sitting

If you don’t have friends and family to look in on your dogs while you’re away, or if you’re going away for an extended period, a dog sitter is usually the right choice. With that in mind there are specific advantages to hiring a dog sitter, including:

  • Comfort: Your dog will be happiest in places that it knows. Having a dog sitter means it can stay at home, in its own bed, and with its own toys while you’re away. 

  • Care and attention: Dogs love getting personal attention and your sitter will be able to give your pup all the scratches and belly rubs it needs. Even better, your sitter will be able to cater to your dog’s unique needs in a way that a kennel wouldn’t. 

  • Exercise and interaction: Walks, adventure, and play are essential for all dogs. Your sitter will not only be able to take your dog out for its daily exercise, but ensure it gets all the social interaction it needs. 

  • Feeding: Dogs need a healthy, well-rounded diet. Your sitter will make sure they get their food, water, and treats every day. 

  • Updates: If you're lying on a beach somewhere, or on a business trip, your sitter can send picture updates of your dog to give you valuable peace of mind.

  • Emergencies: Should your dog get injured or fall ill while you’re away, your sitter will be able to get them to a vet for an appointment, and make sure they get the treatment they need. 

  • Little extras: For an extra charge, you’ll probably be able to arrange for your sitter to pick up other little tasks around the house. They may even be able to stay overnight if you need a little extra comfort and security for your dog.  

Choosing your dog sitter 

It’s important not to rush into picking a dog sitter. If you’re going away, plan ahead so you’re not rushing to find one that suits your dog, and you. When you’re making your decision, think about the following things:

  • Reviews: You’ll probably be able to find reviews of prospective dog sitters on websites and social media. 

  • Friends and family: If you have friends and family that have dogs (or pets) canvas their opinions on sitters that they’ve used in the past. 

  • Meet and greet: Before you hire your sitter, it’s really important that you meet, or at least talk to them. You’ll be able to understand how they work, and whether they’ll fit with you and your dog. 

  • Insurance: Look for dog sitters that have insurance - which will cover them should there be any damage or accidents while they’re looking after your dog. 

  • Qualifications: Certain qualifications, such as pet first aid, demonstrate a sitter’s skills and capabilities. 

How do I find a dog sitter near me?

Wondering where to start on your search for a UK dog sitter? If you don’t have recommendations from family or friends, check out these useful resources:  

  • Tailster: A dog-focused service with options for walking, sitting, and boarding.

  • Borrow My Doggy: A site for connecting local dog sitters with local owners looking for sitting, walking, and boarding services.

  • Pawshake: A website with thousands of trusted, vetted UK pet sitters, offering a range of services, including dog sitting. 

  • Trusted Housesitters: A resource that puts pet owners who are going on trips in touch with prospective sitters who are willing to sit in return for accommodation. 

Insurance for extra protection

Beyond giving you the freedom to travel and enjoy your holiday time, having a sitter means your dog will be able to get to the vet should they suffer an accident or illness while you’re away. 

If your dog sitter does need to take your dog to a vet (as an emergency or any other reason), having insurance in place offers added peace of mind that you’ll be able to afford any unexpected bills. With that in mind, if you’re thinking about insurance as part of a proactive approach to dog welfare, take a look at ManyPets’ award-winning dog insurance policies - or contact us for a quote. 

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Lewis Martins
Communities marketer

Lewis has worked in pet health since 2017. Before joining ManyPets in 2021, he led content production at VetForum and PetsApp. Lewis has collaborated with some of the world’s biggest vet groups and suppliers to write educational articles for vets and pet parents. His Instagram feed is 60% dogs, 40% cats.