When Should I Turn Down A Pet Sitting Job?

by Deb Morrison / Pet Sitter Tips / 12 Aug 2017

safe house sitting

Tips on making your safety as a priority, being assertive, and avoiding problem pet stays

As a House Sitter, “meet & greets” are a critical part of a job and should never be skipped. It is a time to suss out the cleanliness of home, the safety of the neighbourhood, the Owners living standards, and predict whether the pet/s will have major behavioural issues. 

As a Pet Sitter offering care from your own home, meet and greets are still a critical time to meet the owner and the pet to assess whether there are behavioural issues and whether your schedule and commitments will be compatible with the pets needs and the standard of care the owner expects.

What are some of the reasons why a sitter might decline a pet job?

1. Unsafe neighbourhood:  A potential client’s neighbourhood may be a reason you may feel unsafe or uncomfortable to take the house-sitting assignment.  This includes homes in neighbourhoods in crime hotspots considered unsafe, as well as clients with homes that are too secluded (isolated). Don’t proceed with the job if you feel unsafe.

Crime Map QLD

Crime Map NSW

Crime Map VIC

Crime Map SA

Crime Map WA

Crime Map NT

Crime Map ACT

Crime Map TAS

2. “Creepy” client: If you feel unsafe or uncomfortable proceeding with a pet-sitting assignment because you did not feel comfortable with the client—even if you can’t exactly put your finger on what made you feel so uncomfortable – this is ok. Tell PetCloud Support.

If you get potential clients who do not make eye contact or seemed overly nervous, make flirtatious or sexual comments and seem more interested in asking detailed personal questions about you as a person instead of your pet-sitting services. Don’t proceed with the job. Tell PetCloud Support.

3. Filthy home/client is a hoarder: If you feel unsafe or uncomfortable with a house-sitting assignment after seeing the client’s home is filthy, or if you discover the client is a hoarder. Don’t proceed with the job. Tell PetCloud Support.

See news article: Animal hoarding no laughing matter: RSPCA

4:  Aggressive dogs:  An aggressive dog is good reason to consider a job too unsafe. 

One pet sitter we researched described a situation she had encountered: “We had a client who had a dog that was very protective of their property. On a walk the dog was fine. At home, however, it was aggressive even when given treats. I was on edge the whole time I was around it.  This situation can only lead to catastrophe and possibly injury. We did not take the job and suggested she contacted a dog behaviourist.”  If you get a job like this, don’t proceed with the job. Tell the client. Tell PetCloud Support.

5. Clients who don’t wish to pay until the job is done: you don’t have to worry about this as PetCloud requires all Pet Owners do a Paypal authorisation up front before the stay. The funds are released to you 24hours after the end of the stay.

6. Your day time schedule is not compatible with the pets needs:  If you also have a regular full time job & feel you wont be home enough to care for a needy anxious pet who really needs socialising with similar pets and day care supervision. Decline the job. You have a duty of care to pets in your care. It is best to decline the job. Tell PetCloud Support. We will arrange another Sitter more compatible.


7. Pet Owner wants you to mind a pet in a way that is cruel. For example, we chatted with a House Sitter who in the past had a client who wanted them to keep a large adult puppy in a small cage all day whenever the Sitter was away from the home daily (for 8 hours daily). This meant the puppy was sitting in their faeces and the height of the cage didn’t even allow them to stand. This is animal cruelty. You have a duty of care to pets in your care. It is best to decline the job. Tell PetCloud Support. A retiree house sitter with no competing commitments might be more suited to this situation as they will be home more.

8. Pet Owner doesn’t allow pets outside One House Sitter recalled from a past job years ago that a Pet Owner mentioned they lived in an unsafe neighbourhood and believed the pets would get stolen.  This meant for 8 hours every day all 4 pets were toileting inside every day and the house sitter had to come home and clean a filthy mess every day. Don’t get into a situation like this. It is best to decline the job. Tell PetCloud Support.

9. Large dogs that pull very hard on a lead. If you are inexperienced with this, or know your own strength won’t be enough - it is best to decline the job. Tell PetCloud Support.

10. Dogs that suffer from severe cases of anxiety and destruction. It is best to decline the job and refer the Pet Owner to an animal behaviourist. Tell PetCloud Support.

11. Dogs that have a history of escapism (fence jumping or digging). If you are going to work at a second job while taking on a job with a pet like this (even if it’s a 6ft fence), you are bound for trouble. When dogs are away from their owners and are in a new place, their anxiety levels will increase somewhat. You don't want to come home to find the dog missing, or worse still, find out something has grave happen to the dog and you having to relay this to it's owner while they're on holidays.

12. Very sick dogs – Vet Nurses may be more suited and experienced with jobs like this. If you are not medically experienced, decline the job & Tell PetCloud Support. We may tell the Pet Owner the pet is not suited to being minded at this time.

13. Not comfortable giving injections. If you are not medically experienced, decline the job & Tell PetCloud Support. We will find them a Vet Nurse who is also a Pet Sitter who has the experience.

14. Last minute / Unfair expectations. Some clients never plan ahead. They’ll inquire on a Thursday evening and expect you to check on their dogs all weekend or ask if you could you check on our dogs tomorrow morning? We recommend saying no. Tell them you’d be happy to help them out in the future, but you will need more notice. Even if they are going away on their honey moon and say they have no one else – they have had 3-12 months to plan for a Sitter. This is not your problem to solve if you simply can’t. It’s great if you can.

Have you ever had to turn down a job for one of these reasons?

If so, how did you tell the pet owner you were not able to take the assignment? Are there other reasons you have turned down a potential pet-sitting assignment? Share your experiences with us.

And for those wondering...

Isn’t by the time we’ve had a Meet & Greet it too late to turn down the client?

No. You are not obligated to continue with a Booking, even after a Meet and Greet.  Just phone or email the PetCloud support team and we can cancel the booking and help the pet owner find another suitable sitter or we can cancel the job completely if we don’t.

Read more: How To Be A More Assertive Pet Sitter