Pet Sitting and Animal Care
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Pet-sitting and animal care with Workaway

With Workaway you can find 862 hosts and organisations for pet-sitting and animal care work around the world.
Low cost travel without having to pay expensive agency fees.

Pet sitting and Animal care Opportunities around the world

Feedback from Workaway members

There are 7904 reviews for 654 Workaway hosts for Pet-sitting and animal care help from Workaway members.
654 Hosts for Pet-sitting and animal care were rated at least 4.8/5!

La presqu'ile de Crozon est un petit paradis encore préservé .
Jana et ses trois adorables chiens l'ont bien compris en achetant cette maison il y a ...


I had a incredible time at Kate's farm.
It is such a lovely place with a lot if work to do. But with Kate super delicous bread which she make in the ...


I had a great time at Michele and Oksana's donkey association. They made me feel at home. When reading their profile and viewing their beautiful websi...


My wife and I spent a month in the company of Triona, Dean and their wonderful dogs. It was a whole month of satisfaction and a lot of learning. Dean ...


A spent three weeks at farm.It was wonderful time. I learned a lot from Jessica. She is real horse lover and she likes to share knowlage. I felt welco...


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Pet-sitting and animal care

Are you an animal lover? Think you might miss your dog or cat while you’re travelling? Can you see yourself walking a dog through the early morning mist along a deserted beach? Or petting a cat on a shady terrace by a pool? Or feeding horses on a hobby farm? You can find an outlet for your longing for the company of animals if you volunteer to do some pet sitting or animal care while you’re travelling!

So what is pet sitting exactly?

Pet sitting is what a volunteer does when someone asks them to look after their pets in their home while they are away at work, on holiday or travelling. The pet sitter can stay in the property for free, in exchange for looking after the owner’s pets. Everyone knows pets are happier at home – and a live-in pet sitter not only saves animal boarding fees, it keeps the owner’s pets relaxing in their happy place surrounded by their favourite toys, familiar smells, and usual snoozing spots, ready to pick up their ears when the pet-sitter comes into the room. And at Workaway, pet-sitting can even include other forms of animal care, like helping out on a hobby farm, working with endangered species or volunteering at an animal sanctuary.

If the owner needs help with a lot of animals or is away from home at work during the day, pet sitting may involve very simple tasks, such as walking the dog, putting out food and water for the horses or keeping the cat company. However, if the owner is going away, then pet sitting starts to look a lot like house sitting, because the pet sitter will have to take on more responsibility and may be asked to do other jobs too, like simple maintenance (including looking after the pool and watering the garden), and generally making sure that everything runs smoothly, just as if the owner was at home. All of the facilities in the house, such as cooking utensils, washing machine, TV and Wi-Fi, are available for the pet sitter to use free of charge.

Sounds like a great arrangement, doesn’t it? It’s certainly a fantastic way to volunteer and travel the world, saving you heaps of money on accommodation, and saving the host the cost and worry of placing their animals in kennels or other boarding options. But let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of pet sitting, before looking at some tips on how to find pet sitting and animal care opportunities on Workaway. (If you want to find out more about house sitting with Workaway you can read more here.)

What are the advantages of pet sitting?

  • The company of animals – most travellers don’t have pets, or if they do, they’ve had to leave them at home. As a pet sitter you can enjoy the cold wet nose of a loyal dog, the wagging tails of rescue animals, the warm purrs of a friendly cat, the sweet smell of straw and horse in the stables… all without any permanent responsibility.
  • Routine – this can be great for a while amid the unstructured chaos of travelling: walking dogs, feeding cats and cleaning the fish tank can provide a gentle routine that allows you to recover your energy, catch up on work and travel plans, or on sleeping, reading or writing, work on special projects, or even binge watch all the television series you’ve been missing.
  • Free accommodation – paying no rent is obviously a huge advantage when travelling, and will save you lots money, meaning you can travel for longer.
  • Home comforts – sometimes even travelling can get a bit much, and it’s nice to set up home for a while. You can enjoy all the things you dream of when you’re fed up with hostels: doing your laundry, having regular access to Wi-Fi to catch up with your emails, cooking your favourite meals in your own kitchen, and having private space to hang out in that isn’t your bed. Not to mention the unconditional love of grateful animals!
  • Getting a glimpse of other people’s lives – pet sitters can enjoy all the details of someone else’s home, the art and décor, the different books and music on the shelves, the garden and pool... as well as the cuddles of a lonely cat or dog.
  • Connecting to the locals – setting up your life in one place for a while means you can be a regular at local shops and bars, talk to people, and find out much more about the region than you would otherwise. Plus you get to meet the neighbours. If your host is going away, don’t forget to ask them for introductions and recommendations to make the most of your stay.
  • Making a dream come true – maybe you always wanted to have a pet, but you haven’t been able to. With pet-sitting you can have a dog, cat or horse of your own to hang out with… for a while. Maybe you always wanted to do something about abandoned dogs, or neglected horses. Workaway hosts can give you the chance to do your bit. Maybe you always wanted to learn how to train huskies or how to support an endangered animal. You’d be surprised at the number of dreams you might share with Workaway hosts!
  • Having some time to yourself – volunteering with Workaway usually involves an exchange of 5 or 6 hours of work a day in exchange for food and accommodation, and this work will often be of the ‘whatever needs doing’ variety. However if your host is going to be away the agreement often changes. Although you might be asked to do a bit of watering or patio sweeping on a pet sit, you will usually be free of major household tasks, leaving you with so much more free time to explore the area, perhaps in the company of a dog.
  • Escaping tourist areas – like other volunteering opportunities with Workaway, pet sitting enables you to discover places you would otherwise never know existed. It’s a great way to go off the beaten track, explore, have new experiences and enjoy the places other people have fallen in love with.

Once you start checking out pet-sitting opportunities on Workaway, you’ll soon find out that looking after someone else’s beloved animals brings with it a lot of responsibility. Workaway hosts want your loving care and undivided attention to go to their beloved pets. It’s important to know this before embarking on your adventure and to think about the implications of this responsibility. And there may be other aspects of pet sitting that don’t suit you.

What are the disadvantages of pet sitting?

  • You have a responsibility to the pets – this will restrict your lifestyle. If the owner is away, you can forget overnight trips, you’ve got to be home in the morning to feed the dogs, rub their bellies, and take them for their walkies.
  • Things may be a little quiet – again, if the owners are going away, you are likely to be visiting off-season, since that is when they will be choosing to travel. Think about the weather and seasonal closures and make sure you are ready to enjoy the delights of a cold and deserted beach resort, albeit with a cat to cuddle.
  • Things will go wrong – you might need to fix a broken shower, look after a sick animal, sort out a power failure, get to distant shops without a car to stock up on heavy tins of dog or cat food… It’s all your responsibility and there may not be anyone to help you.
  • It’s not completely free – you might have some expenses, depending on your agreement with your host: groceries perhaps, bus fares and meals out for sure. Remember to discuss these things in advance – you’ll be saving your host a lot of money, because cat and dog kennels are expensive, so utilities should be paid for by the pet owner. But what about your food? And what happens if their pet needs a trip to the vet? Settle this in advance.
  • The big unknown – you won’t know what the owner’s pets, house and neighbours are like until you get there… Check out photos, look at maps, have a Skype or phone call and ask lots of questions before you commit yourself!
  • You’ll need to be flexible and competent – if your hosts are planning to go away, it doesn’t matter how good the instructions are, there will be things you have to figure out for yourself. Make sure you have a few days overlap with them to get to know the animals and the house before you are left to your own devices. Make sure you know the basics: where the food is kept, how much they need each day, when and where to feed them, and any medications they’re taking. And make sure you have emergency contact information for the local vet or a local person who would be happy to help in an emergency.
  • Difficult or sick pets – even if you love animals there are some that may try your patience! Make sure you know about each animal’s likes and dislikes, such as how a dog is likely to behave with children or other animals, or if it has any behavioural problems, when to give it treats and rewards and so on. And remember that your host may need a pet sitter because their pet is old and arthritic or incontinent, or they may have a health problem that requires you giving them medication regularly. Make sure you know the best tricks to do this, since not all animals are cooperative.
  • Unusual animals – animal lovers have big hearts, and there may be all kinds of animals to look after, as well as the more obvious dog or cat. Make sure you’re comfortable with all of them and know what to do!
  • Isolation – pet sitting while the owners are away is very different to staying in a hostel, where you’re surrounded by other travellers all the time. It’s also different to other animal care volunteering opportunities where your host and even other volunteers will be around at mealtimes and in the evenings. If you’re travelling alone and want to socialise and make friends, pet sitting while the owner is away may not be the perfect volunteering opportunity for you. However if you and your partner want to settle down to some intimacy for a week or two in the company of a few animals, it might be just the thing!

So you’ve heard stories of people looking after wonderful animals in amazing places. And after reading the pros and cons of pet-sitting, you're interested in trying it for yourself. Here are some tips for finding pet-sitting and animal care opportunities on Workaway and some FAQ about pet sitting.

Why volunteer through Workaway?

Workaway has more than 50,000 opportunities all over the world, among them nearly a 1000 NGOs, all looking for volunteers. Browse our host lists to find incredible opportunities all over the world to help meaningful community projects.

How to find a pet sitting opportunity on Workaway – the next steps

Workaway is the world’s leading community for volunteering and cultural exchange. Lone travellers will find plenty of opportunities to meet and connect with the locals, but Workaway also offers many opportunities for couples, friends and families. Workaway has more than 50,000 opportunities and many of them are looking for pet sitters and other help with their animals – this is the perfect way to make travelling affordable anywhere in the world, or to allow you to travel for longer. Whether you want to visit coastal paradises, inland cities or farms, or get right off the beaten track and immerse yourself in wild nature and local life, the perfect host is waiting to hear from you. It doesn’t matter whether you are exploring during your summer holidays, or seeking a gap year adventure, the volunteering opportunities are almost unlimited and will guarantee you have the time of your life.

Like other volunteering opportunities, Workaway pet sitters save money on accommodation, while travelling on vacation, or when living nomadically. Pet sitters can experience living like locals in different countries and cultures around the world, for anything from a few days to several months, or sometimes even longer. Although there is not a separate list of hosts looking for pet sitters, there are plenty of pet-sitting and animal care opportunities available all over the world that can be found on the Workaway site. When using the Workaway search tool, just tick the “animal welfare” box in the “More Search Options” drop down menu on the host search page and start choosing from the more than 1000 hosts currently looking for volunteers to help with animals all over the world. Some of these are one-offs but others are more regular, since ex-pats often return to their mother countries regularly to visit family members. You can also enter “pet sitting” in the text box on the search page and view host profiles who have specifically mentioned a need for pet sitters in their profile.

Who can become a Workaway pet sitter?

If you’re very young, or look like a violent criminal, you’re probably going to find it hard to get a place while the owner is away! But if you’re responsible, trustworthy and a genuine animal lover, you stand a good chance of becoming a pet sitter.

Competition can be steep, as many volunteers like the idea of looking after animals. So when you write to your host looking for a pet-sitting opportunity, make sure you give enough information to inspire confidence. Talk about your knowledge and experience of looking after animals and give evidence of your love for them. It will help if you can offer a testimonial or reference. Don’t forget to ask Workaway hosts that you’ve already stayed with to give you a review.

Remember, although all volunteering opportunities are based on trust and part of the sharing economy, pet sitting involves even more trust than usual, because you will be left in charge of the owner’s beloved animals. Don’t be surprised if hosts ask for more information.

How long do Workaway pet sitting opportunities last?

Pet-sitting placements can last from a couple of weeks to a few months. Usually they cover people’s holidays, so one to two weeks is common. However animal sanctuaries or projects with working animals may need volunteers for longer periods.

Do Workaway pet sitters supply their own food and household items while the owners are away?

This will depend on your agreement. Some hosts will provide your food, but others will expect you to do your own shopping. Make sure you discuss this. Pet food should obviously be paid for by the house owner, and the owner should also make sure items like toilet paper, cleaning sprays, clean cloths and dishwasher tablets are fully stocked up before the pet-sitting adventure begins.

Do Workaway pet sitters need their own car?

It isn’t essential to have your own car, but you might find it difficult to live without one in a remote location if the owner is away. Ask your host about public transport and shops before committing yourself to a pet sit.

Does the volunteer pet sitter need to clean the house while the host is away?

Again this will depend on the agreement you make with your host. The house owner’s main concern is usually the welfare of their pets, but it would be very strange behaviour to stay in someone’s house and leave it dirty. If you haven’t agreed to do more, then a basic clean up is advisable before the owners return. If you’ve been sleeping in the owner’s bed, it’s also nice to wash the sheets and make the bed for them, especially if they’ll be getting back at night. Both the pet owner and pet sitter should leave the home clean for each other out of basic courtesy. And remember, if you get good reviews, you will find it easier to get other pet-sitting opportunities!

What jobs will you have to do as a volunteer pet sitter?

Pet sitting duties vary hugely from job to job; you could have an easy-maintenance cat that just needs dry food and water topping up (quite rare though), or a whole menagerie of animals that require medication, multiple walks and even special meals. But after you fulfil the obvious duties like cleaning and feeding, remember to give the pet extra affection, by stroking, cuddling and talking. Pets – and especially cats and dogs – are very social and crave human attention, especially when their owners are away.

Volunteer pet sitting and healthcare

If you are planning to visit any country as a volunteer and not as a tourist, you must have the correct visa. To find out about the latest requirements, you need to contact the Embassy in your home country before travelling. And please don’t forget to take out appropriate insurance to make sure you qualify for healthcare!

Pet sitting can be a fantastic way to travel and to get to know a new place at a low cost. For hosts who need a holiday, it’s a brilliant way to keep their pets happy while they’re away. For projects such as animal sanctuaries or hobby farms, it’s a great way to get an extra pair of hands at busy times. If you’re ready to expect the unexpected, enjoy someone else’s home and kitchen and love someone else’s animals, then pet sitting could be perfect for you. Why wait any longer? Join Workaway and get planning your trip! And once you’re there, making friends with the animals and making yourself at home, remember to get out and visit the area as much as possible – you’re still a traveller after all!