How to Make Almost $20/Hour Hanging With People’s Pets During the Holidays

Pet sitting
Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder

Fact: People are willing to pay you more to take care of their pets than kids.

That’s great news for pet sitters — or people who aren’t so fond of babies. Typically, pets are happy to see you, they’re furry and available for all the cuddles, and they don’t talk back.

And this holiday season, demand is ramping up. According to Care, 20% of its pet care job listings specifically mention a holiday need, and “it’s clear that families are willing to pay top dollar for pet care.”

Pet sitters (or aspiring pet sitters): That’s great news for your holiday spending budget.

How Much Will Pet Parents Pay For a Holiday Pet Sitter (You)?

Here’s how much pet owners paid for holiday pet sitters in 2015, categorized by creature:

  • Dogs: $17.45/hour

  • Cats: $17.34/hour

  • Fish: $17.09/hour

  • Birds: $16.54/hour

I have to point out the elephant fish in the room… Someone’s willing to pay $17 an hour for a fish? I suspect a fish doesn’t require an hour of care. I also suspect caring for fish might be tied into other tasks? Or maybe it’s just a big fish tank? I’ve heard the saltwater ones are high maintenance.

Anyways, even though Care gathered this data last year, it suspects those trends will continue.

It’s worth noting these petsitting jobs are short-lived. Care found that during the holidays these gigs ran an average of four days. In December, the average stint increased to six days.

The Top 10 Cities For Holiday Pet Sitting — Based on Pay

If the possibility of earning more than $17 an hour doesn’t get you stoked, these numbers might. Care also found the top paying cities for holiday pet sitting. (Again, this is based on its listings from last year.)

  1. Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, California, $19.78/hour

  2. Albany-Schenectady-Troy, New York, $19.63/hour

  3. Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, Connecticut, $19.60/hour

  4. Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin, South Carolina, $19.52/hour

  5. Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, Florida, $19.50/hour

  6. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Connecticut, $19.46/hour

  7. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA, $19.22/hour

  8. Salisbury, Maryland/Delaware, $19.22/hour

  9. Greensboro-High Point, North Carolina, $19.21/hour

  10. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California, $19.18/hour

Live in one of these 10 areas? This just might be the perfect time to make some new furry friends (because we all know that’s easier than making human friends).

How To Start Making Money as a Pet Sitter

Of course, this information comes from Care, which is a great place to advertise your services.

There are also easy-to-use apps such as DogVacay (it’s for cats, too), Rover and Wag!

If you’re feeling extra ambitious, this could be a great time to start your own pet-sitting business, too.

Your Turn: What’s your favorite pet?

Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder. After recently completing graduate school, she focuses on saving money — and surviving the move back in with her parents.