Clients commonly ask whether they should tip their pet care providers and if so, how much to tip. My answer to this question is always that tips are not required, but whether or not you should tip your pet sitter or dog walker depends.
Just like in the service industry as a whole, if your pet sitter or dog walker does an exceptional job or goes above and beyond for your pet when you need them to, a tip is not required, but you probably should.
Of course, there are a variety of influences on whether and when to tip. These include the setting, scheduling, and length of time working with your pet sitter or dog walker. To get to the bottom of this question, we asked our most experienced employees to chime in with their thoughts.
First, it’s really the positive feedback that matters most.
Pet sitters love tips because they love receiving affirmations that you are satisfied with their service and that your pet is getting the love it needs. Pet sitters and dog walkers are caring, empathetic people who care for your pets as much as you do. They’re sometimes helpful in other ways too, like with additional household tasks, extra services, checking in on your home when it’s empty or you’re away, or administering your pet’s medications with dependability and care.
Our pet sitter, Ellen, said, “Tipping 20% in the service industry is standard, but tips aren’t required. I am so grateful whenever a client tips, especially new clients! When I get a tip, I know I did a good job for the client and their pets.”
When she gets a tip, Ellen knows her compassionate care isn’t going unnoticed. While Ellen gives quality care no matter what, a tip can be a great way to affirm and encourage high-quality care.
LFPS also offers direct communication with your pet sitter or dog walker via our app and online platforms. Now you can send a thank you message via text or email, and receive a happiness report each time as we visit your pet. We make it as easy as possible to maintain communication and to provide your pet with the best possible care.
Another way to show positive reinforcement for the high standards of care we offer is through hand-written thank you notes. Giving specific feedback about what your dog responds to best or why you love the care we’re giving in a thoughtful note helps us better understand your pet and your special bond with them.
Megan told us, “The best way to thank a sitter is with a sincere thank you message and a tip. Let us know how we’re doing, we really work hard to care for each pet exactly how their owner wants us to.”
Pet sitters look forward to your affirmations in any way that you want to share them. Some enjoy thank you cards, gift cards, homemade cookies or treats, and especially positive online reviews that give them a special call-out for exceptional care.
Lindsey says that a positive review or a tip can make her feel acknowledged for their efforts to give consistent care and exceptional service: “I try to go above and beyond expectations with each client. Leaving a tip or leaving a positive review gives me confirmation that what I do is recognised and appreciated.” It can also let future clients know that they can trust us to deliver consistent, compassionate care for their pets.
If I want to tip, how much should I give?
As Ellen mentioned above, 20 percent of the service fee is the industry standard for tipping, as it is in many other service industries, like the restaurant industry. But that might depend on a few key considerations.
For example, if you are paying for a one-time, single visit, scheduled ahead, with a new pet sitter or dog walker, they might not expect a large tip. But if your dog walker has been your pet’s faithful companion for the last year of long walks, some late nights, some early mornings and some really bad weather, you may want to show your appreciation with a handwritten note and a 20 percent tip or more .
Don’t feel pressured to choose a set percentage or amount, just base your judgment on the level of care your pet receives, the reliability of your sitter or dog walker, and how helpful we are in meeting your pet sitting and dog walking needs.
Anna told us their thoughts about tipping amounts and how they prefer to receive them: “Tips are very appreciated! It lets me know that I’m doing a good job and that the extra time and energy I put into caring for each pet is appreciated. I’m thankful for every tip I receive, even if it isn’t much, it means a lot. Cash tips or tips sent through Venmo or Cash App are preferred.”
There are lots of ways a pet parent can show their pet sitter or dog walker they’re appreciated. No matter what, you should expect high-quality, compassionate pet care for your furry baby. Always let your pet sitter or dog walker know when you appreciate them, or what you’d like to be done differently if anything.
Other situations that might call for a tip
When asking, “Should I tip my pet sitter?”, consider firstly the pet sitter’s experience, then consider special circumstances.
Pet sitters and dog walkers expect to arrive on time, give compassionate attention and care to your pet, return them safely and help save you time while nurturing your pet’s mental and physical health. These are services you should expect from them no matter what.
Tiffany talked to us about her level of care and whether to tip or not to tip: “I don’t expect tips after every service, so it’s always nice when I’m surprised with one. I care for every client’s pet like they were my own, so tips don’t affect the level of care I provide. If you can’t tip, a quick message letting me know that you were happy with my care just makes my day!”
However sometimes circumstances are special in terms of time, venue, and whether your pet sitter or dog walker saves you time with other tasks. For example, maybe you are having a package delivered and don’t want it to wait outside all day. A quick message to your pet sitter to bring the package inside when picking up your pet for their walk is enough to save you time and worry.
Another example might be when your pet sitter is also available to let service technicians like a plumber or electrician into your home when you can’t. Services that go above and beyond to save you time and money may be worthy of positive affirmations through a note or a tip.
Other considerations are whether your service was a last-minute or emergency schedule that really helped you, when the weather is exceptionally bad, or when your service provider cleans up a mess in the house made by your pet before their arrival.