How do you do it?

Hello friends! I love both travel and animals, so discovering the TrustedHousesitters community was a dream come true. But I wonder: How do fellow sitters balance caring for pets with exploring the area? With a couple of dogs, you would not have much time left to explore the area. Any community wisdom to share?

It’s easier if like us you’re a couple as you can take turns to have a long day out… example my hubby plays golf…:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
As a solo traveller cats might be your pet sitting option as they’re more independent although some (read the responsibilities carefully) need more attention especially if indoor cats.
Regarding dogs the majority can’t be left more than 4 hours (some 5/6) so no a whole day out say 8-12 hours isn’t ok. Options are to take the dog/dogs with you (check with the owner if they like trains/buses) or hire a car whilst you’re on the sit to get further afield (don’t leave the dogs in the car though). A few HOs mention a neighbour is willing to dog sit for a one off day, a few have dog walkers…. the main thing is to mention your plans/hopes in your application and ask the question honestly ‘What do you suggest if I wanted to have a day out and about, what does the HO do?’ Notice I mention ‘a few’ not ‘some’ as the whole point of pet sitting is to primarily be ‘present’…
Best wishes


Welcome to the forum @igorsf

We take the dogs with us . Here are a couple of photos from recents sits in the U.K.


You may find these previous posts interesting to read


Well, not all pets are dogs so balance ‘sits with dogs’ and ‘sits with other pets that can be left’.

Some dogs can be left for a few hours (always ask this on any sit: how long can your pet(s) be left for?) and or can be taken out (useful to ask: does your dog like to go on outings? what are the dog-friendly places nearby by?).

Always look at sits that suit you and what you are prepared to offer. There are many sits, not all of them will suit you. That’s OK, there are others.


Welcome @igorsf .
I find time to work remotely and explore during sits but I tend to choose easy cat sits. It’s about learning what sits work for you.
Good luck.


My partner and I do full time pet sitting as a way to travel, see top locations we want to see, and have the wonderful opportunity to look after lovely pets. We don’t apply for any sits that will severely limit our time out and about, such as dogs that cannot be left for less than 5 - 6 hours at a time, or dogs that require being walked and fed multiple times throughout the day.
We also do not sit any more than 2 dogs at one time - more than 2 is a lot of work, even though there’s 2 of us. Cats and other pets (birds, rabbits, chickens) are always going to be easier and less time constricting, and sometimes we do cats only, especially if there’s a location that we really want to explore :blush:


It depends what you want to do! If you want to go out all day and do things where you couldn’t take a dog look at cat sits, although I wonder if owners would pick up on your being more interested in sightseeing than their pet and not love it. Some of the dogs we’ve sat had a day or two at doggy daycare which gave us free days to explore.

But then having dogs can be great because they’ll get you out on walks and exploring in different ways. When I’ve liked the dog (i.e no undisclosed behavioural issues and lets me sleep at night) I haven’t at all minded bringing them out with me or getting home for them because I’m happy to spend time with them - so I’d also advise choosing your dog sits wisely if you go for those.


On most days out wehave, we include the dogs as company. There’s not many things we want to do without the dog that will take 5 hours.

In fact, having a dog to care for motivates us to get out more than when we don’t have a dog!

Millions of dog owners manage to lead full lives. We dont find caring for dogs restricts our lives much at all, cats even less, birds/fish/ no pets not at all.


Between being kind of homebodies, lazy travelers, and full-time sitters who tend to take longer-term sits that give us a lot of time to explore a particular area, we don’t find the responsibilities of pet sitting any sort of hindrance . It is rare we would spend a whole day out doing touristy things and even rarer we would want to do that multiple days.

For example, we did a sit in a very central area of London last year for two weeks and our main activity was just taking long walks and exploring the different neighborhoods. That never took more than a few hours so watching a dog that couldn’t be left alone for more than 4 hours wasn’t a problem for us.

But with that being said, we generally don’t take sits where the animals can’t be left alone for at least 4 or 5 hours because even though we usually wouldn’t be out for that long any way most days, we want to have the option. Also, when I see sits where the animals can only be left alone for short periods, it makes me wonder if they have any behavioral issues that would be challenging to deal with.

I think most HO’s understand that people are housesitting as a way to travel at a reduced cost and aren’t doing it out of some deep altruistic desire to provide free pet care while they go on vacation.

So it is reasonable to ask questions about how long the animals can be left alone for, if they can be brought to certain places,etc… if it is not stated in the listing. But depending on how you broach the topic, if your communications come across like the only thing you are interested in is sightseeing and getting a free place to stay in a desirable location, they may be concerned you won’t care for their pets properly.

As someone who isn’t overly concerned about having a lot of time to ‘tour’ the area, I never ask many questions along those lines, so I can’t share any personal experience on how these conversations tend to go.


@Silversitters oh my goodness these are gorgeous photos. Those dogs are having their best lives too

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Here’s us recently on a big day out whilst petsitting…


This is such a great question and not always an easy balance to strike. I’m definitely still learning when it comes to this.

Yesterday, I completed a brilliant dog sit taking care of two very energetic Labradors which can be a lot of work but it honestly ticked every box in terms of enjoyment. I was able to balance my responsibilities to the animals whilst feeling like my life was still my own.

I contrast this with a brand new sit which started yesterday on a different website looking after 1 dog and 1 cat and it’s a whole different story.

Prior to agreeing, the HO came across as fairly easygoing, affable and relaxed. I asked about walking routines on our pre- sit call and all seemed great and very manageable. Fast forward to right before the sit starts when it’s too late to back out and I’m presented with a very staff-like rigid scheduled timetable of the 5 walks a day for the dog at regular intervals and exactly which times I need to brush them and feed them etc. Both 4 times per day. Whilst my first priority has always been to the pets on any sitting assignment, with this sit, more than any others I’ve ever done, it, feels like I’m expected to put doing anything of my own completely aside. There seems to be a new instruction to be carried out virtually every hour of the day according to the timetable.

Unlike the last HO who really understood the mutual exchange philosophy of what we all do, it seems to be completely lost on this particular one. I’m just glad I didn’t take this HO up an a second ‘opportunity’ to sit for them and am grateful it’s a fairly short stay.

Even though I’m getting far better at being a good judge of character, I still do get it wrong from time to time. THS has taught and continues to teach me a lot about people as well as animals.


I don’t think I could explain myself and my situation/how and why I do things any better than how @KC1102 has said :raised_hands:


Thank you @ziggy !

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Big thank you everybody for the kind and thoughtful answers.


Sounds like they need servants rather than pet sitters! Those duties are ridiculous

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If the dogs are happy in the environments you want to visit then take them with you, but otherwise cats, rabbits, or hamsters give you a little more time to yourself and are probably a better fit for you if that’s what you want to do.

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Thank you for saying that. I’ve been feeling quite duped to be honest. I think this person thinks this whole system is unpaid staff as that is their whole approach. They did not present this way though during the initial phone call though otherwise I’d never have gone ahead with the booking.

The scheduled timetable I’ve been given is regularly punctuated with some sort of duty to be carried out.

This particular dog also has some quite serious behavioural issues that were not disclosed in the listing. This dog barks very aggressively at any other human or dog we pass by, gets right up on his hind legs, yanks at the lead and starts snarling and growling. He gave two young joggers the absolute fright of their lives yesterday.

He also has a habit of getting right up on his back legs barking furiously at any planes flying overhead. We’re on a flight path so that’s quite often. :grimacing:

These five walks a day with this dog are really not something I look forward to. On top of this, he is a very restless sleeper and regularly throws himself onto the floor with a great big thud. The ear plugs I’ve bought don’t filter out the noise he makes all throughout the night.

I’m going to be putting all of this in my review as other people must be warned what they’re getting themselves into if they take this on. I’m counting my blessings it’s only 5 more nights but I suspect I’ll be like an absolute zombie at the end of this sit if I have a week’s worth of sleep deficit!


The vast majority of sitters would bypass any sits where 5 walks a day are required . Its absurd, on our petsits, we may only exercise once but that could be 6 -9 miles. Most dogs would beg not to go out again after that!
The HO have been devious at best at not disclosing this information in good time.
Just hang in there, you will enjoy being back at home that’s for sure.

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