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Do You Tip Dog Sitters, Boarders, & Walkers? Industry Trends & Tips

Chantelle Fowler

By Chantelle Fowler

Groomer attending an owner with her dog

Tipping is customary in certain industries. For example, most people know to tip their restaurant servers, hair stylists, and baggage porters to show the service industry staff your appreciation for good service. But what about tipping for pet-care-related services? Adding a gratuity to pet services is not as commonplace yet, but it certainly should be.

Keep reading to learn everything you should know about tipping your pet care providers.

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Should You Tip Your Dog Sitter, Boarder, and Walker?

The decision to tip your pet care provider ultimately comes down to you. You don’t need to tip them, but it is a nice gesture that they would appreciate.

While you are paying for their services, an additional gratuity shows them that you are thankful for their work. Many dog walkers, sitters, and boarders may not receive 100% of the fee you’re paying for their services. For example, if your dog walker works for an agency, they’re not pocketing the entire cost of their services as a percentage of those fees will go back to the agency. A tip is something they can tuck away into their pocket and keep for themselves.

How Much Should I Tip?

The amount you tip will depend on what kind of service you’re receiving.

Pet sitting is much more involved than dog walking as they are the people solely responsible for your pets when you’re away. They might also perform basic household tasks like watering your plants and gathering your mail. We would recommend tipping anywhere between 15–20% for these services.

Pet boarding can be done in a standalone building whose sole purpose is to board pets or at an individual’s home. Like a pet sitter, a boarder will be in charge of your pet’s health while you’re away. They’ll feed, play with and exercise your dog and administer medication if necessary. Tipping typically isn’t expected at a standalone boarding facility, but it is always appreciated. We recommend tipping if you’re boarding your pet in an individual’s home. A 15–20% gratuity should suffice.

Dog walking is a bit more complex service when considering tipping. Pet boarding and sitting are usually done on a short-term basis, while you’re away on holiday. If your dog walker comes several times a day, you shouldn’t have to tip them for every walk. Instead, you might consider giving them a juicy tip on a major holiday such as Christmas or Thanksgiving or occasions when they go above and beyond.

Groomer is cutting a dog hair in hair service
Image Credit: Lucky Business, Shutterstock

Reasons You Should Always Tip

You don’t have to tip your pet service provider when they come to pet sit or walk your dog. It would cost a small fortune to be tipping a dog walker if they come every single day. But there are some occasions where leaving a tip would be warranted. These include:

  • If your pet can be aggressive or hard to handle
  • If they had to administer medication to your pet
  • If your pet needed transportation to a veterinarian
  • If your sitter has other duties (watering the garden, getting the mail)
  • If it’s around the holiday seasons
  • If they’ve gone above and beyond
  • If you’ve hired them last minute

Are There Other Ways of Gifting My Pet Care Provider?

Absolutely. You don’t need to leave a cash tip to demonstrate gratitude, though we recommend it. There are other ways you can support your service provider that they’ll appreciate.

Since many people in the pet service industry rely on referrals to gain more business, they would love it if you’d leave a positive review for them on Google or social media. You can also comment, like, and share their posts on social media to boost engagement and make their page visible to more people.

A thank-you card is a lovely gesture that goes a long way. Be sure to write something meaningful in the card to showcase your appreciation for their services.

Lady grooming a black brown dog
Image By: Tima Miroshnichenko, Pexels

Gift cards are another great gift that they’re sure to love. Of course, you can get a gift card anywhere, but gas, coffee, and lunch cards are always a hit.

If you know your pet care provider more personally, you could always give them something you know they’d like. For example, a small houseplant would be a lovely gesture if they’re into gardening. If your dog walker works throughout the winter, a pair of warm wool socks is something they could use every day.

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Final Thoughts

While tipping is never expected in the pet care industry, it is a lovely gesture that shows your dog walker, sitter, or boarder how much you appreciate their work. After all, you leave your pet’s life in their hands, and that’s something we believe should be rewarded with a gratuity. Of course, your tip doesn’t need to be large or even monetary but gifting your pet care provider a little something to show your appreciation is a gesture they’ll appreciate and remember.

Featured Image Credit: Dragon Images, Shutterstock

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