Sitter has to pay veterinary expenses up front!

I’m just adding my thoughts as a pet owner. We have insurance for the cats. The vet knows this and the policy details so they would contact the insurance company re any treatment. We have that clarified in our details.
I really feel that no sitter should ever be responsible for paying out unspecified amounts of money for treatment. For THS to say 5.3.5 seems extremely risky to me. I can see from the Forum that though the majority of both Pet Owners and Sitters work on trust and are reasonable people there is a minority, on both sides, who do not seem to be working to the same level of trust and co-operation.
Add a huge or even small vet bill to the mix with the sitter having to request refunding seems to be asking for trouble. What happens if they don’t pay? There is no way for the sitter to get their money refunded and I doubt that there is any way to force them through THS either.


Seems like by requiring sitters to pay and then not necessarily being reimbursed, THS could risk a class-action lawsuit in the U.S. on behalf of sitters who’ve lost money.

Wonder whether fines and other penalties might be possible in the EU if anyone ended up pursuing action.

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I’ve done the card thing too, or rather a copy of both sides of my card with a note, but I can understand why a lot of homeowners would be reluctant to leave a credit card or full credit card information lying around the house, which is why I think it would be great if THS could step in and resolve this in a way that works for sitters, homeowners, and pets.


In 16 and a bit sits (currently half way through a sit) I’ve only had to go to the vet once. This was pre confirmed by the HO for chemo treatment. The treatment was ongoing so the vet just gave me the bill for the HO to pay upon their return. I did need to use Uber pet across town there and back. The HO said they could book me this Uber or I could take money they left for emergencies to cover the Ubers. This is what I did.
The only other incident I’ve had was of a cat seizing. The HO left me a credit card to use but it was decided between the HO and vet that the cat didn’t need to be brought into the vets.

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I have never in my 20 years of owning pets have ever encountered that. I know a lot of clinics have some type of wellness insurance, which covers some of the expenses, but everything is paid upfront… the only other thing I could remember from living in California there was one clinic where you could open a credit account with them to make monthly payments. However, leaving your credit card information is not good business practice; it exposes you for data breach, fraud and identity deft.

Yep, :100:

I think it’s always smart for a HO to be able to have a local emergency contact that you know the sitter can contact, in case they can’t contact you. And as homeowner you would trust that they can pay upfront instead of the sitter. Even though I offer to reimburse everything, I understand it will not always be possible and luckily I have family nearby that can and that I could easily pay back in my return.

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Yep. I’ve had credit cards stolen before and had data breach at a previous work place, so I’m very protective of my stuff.

100% agree. The points of my posts were simply that it should not be on the Sitter i.e. Guest to cover costs. There should be a solution and in the meantime, I’ll address with HO in how they would like to handle, but I will not be providing my funds to cover their costs.

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Agreed. Emergency contacts are important for various reasons. Like what if the sitter got sick or injured or locked out? Or if the HO is delayed on return? I ask for those, as well as vet info.

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Hi @mars we were able to use our UK owners credit card at a UK vet in March this year by just telling the vet the card details and we didn’t have the physical card. The vet put it through manually each time, just like paying for something with your card by phone. We did this on 3 vet visits with no problems. We explained that we were the sitters and the owner was overseas and had given us their card details.


Maybe THS change it so the emergency contact(s) of the HO also hold a credit card number and/or as has agreed to cover vet expenses in their absence? Another idea @Angela_L @Marion


Hi everyone as posted earlier in the thread, we have taken this matter back to the team for review.

Adding to the conversation over the years I’ve taken a number of pets to the vets for both routine appointments and emergency treatment and have always approached this aspect of any sit arrangement with my experienced pet parent’s “hat” on and the advantage of having two veterinarians in my close family.

From the very beginning of my sitter journey I’ve always had conversations with pet parents about veterinary matters including but not restricted to:

  • Full Vet Details
  • Emergency contacts
  • Emergency care (Plan B)
  • Insurance if applicable
  • Any existing health issues
  • Scheduled Routine Visits
  • Introduction to Vet either written or in person
  • Vet advised of PP absence/dates sitter care/details
  • Vet care payment details
  • In case of life threatening situation PP written instructions to vet
  • If owner has no vet: The need to put payment options in place in the unlikely event of an emergency.

When having any conversation I stress in the "unlikely event” which is the reality. I have no intention of scaremongering, just being practical & realistic putting their pet’s well being front and centre.

I have paid and been fully reimbursed by PP’s and not just financially.

Payment arrangements can depend on the relationship between client and practice, I’ve had Vet practices call PP’s for payment and other’s log their CC with the practice (applicable to USA) in the UK the rules on credit are different.

During her life one of my dogs Holly a Springer, was seriously ill on three occasions. We traveled the world so insurance wasn’t an option.

The most serious emergency took just three days to see her go from a healthy dog to one dying in front of our eyes. Her only chance was an ER & Critical Care Hospital in Vancouver BC, we lived on Vancouver Island.

We did a midnight dash on the last ferry to the mainland, she was admitted to ICU and was kept in for 7 days, they saved her life. They needed a guarantee of payment before treatment started and the cost was several thousand dollars, that was a few years ago too.

I have never lost sight of the experience, for more reasons than cost.

As per previous posts, we acknowledge your concerns and this matter has gone back

Thanks everyone.


Definitely. When I went on holiday last year, I was going to be out of contact most of the time (no mobile signal, no wi-fi), so I left my house-sitters full contact info:

  • when a vet trip is urgent [my pets are rabbits; not many folk know that ‘not eating’ = urgent]
  • what to do if one was seriously ill or dies
  • emergency contacts for life or death decisions, paying vet bills
  • also emergency contacts for any serious house/car problems (and anything that needed paying for, beyond the petty cash I’d left)

I had a sit where I found out that cat was at end renal cancer. The owner called the vet , gave her card. The bill was $8000.00 US.

If the homeowner completes the Welcome Guide correctly, emergency contacts are one of the sections to complete. Just that so many homeowners don’t bother, even when chased

One of the reasons may be that the HO does not have close contacts locally. Many do not have family nearby.

The emergency contact may be to get hold of a spare key when the sitter has locked themselves out etc, but not to answer questions about life and death anyway. Or to pay high veterinary costs.

I would not chase a home owner for that.

Yes, some HOs have relocated and are far from loved ones. They don’t need to be local to be an emergency contact for everything, though. Like my family and in-laws live far away, but could pay for vet care in an emergency, for instance. They’d just offer their credit card info by phone in the U.S.


I meant chasing for the Welcome Guide

We have had to take a dog to the vets on 3 different occasions while sitting through THS. On two of those occasions we had to pay the bill at the vets, but the owners reimbursed us immediately via online banking (these were UK sits). On the other, in France, the owner rang the vets and arranged credit card payment directly with the vets.


One of our cats needed numerous visits to the vets while we were away and we just arranged payment over the phone. We were more than grateful to our sitters for taking him to the vets which is not always straight forward.