Why The Teen Next Door Is Not The Ideal Choice for Pet Care

I tend to stick with shopping at my Neighborhood Walmart, rarely going to a “big Walmart.” Last week I needed some things that were not available at my neighborhood Walmart so I headed to the Walmart Superstore. I was SHOCKED when I ran across a $7 kit that “teaches” teenagers how to start their own pet sitting and dog walking business.

Now, do not misunderstand. I appreciate an entrepreneurial spirit. My own daughter started a cake decorating business when she was 12 years old. But, cakes are not living beings with claws and teeth. Cakes do not have medical emergencies.

Why teens are not the best choice for pet care

I also understand that using the teenager next door is convenient: you’re familiar with them and your pets know them. However, pet sitting and dog walking is a responsibility that demands care, attention, and a thorough understanding of the needs of the pets being cared for. While it might seem convenient to have a neighborhood teenager care for your dog or cat, the teen next door does not have the range of skills they need to best care for your family’s pets

They lack experience

Experience plays a vital role in pet sitting and dog walking. Pets have varying needs depending on their species, breed, age, and health conditions. Without prior experience or education about different pets, the teen next door may struggle to provide appropriate care. For example, you ask the teenager to walk your French Bulldog. In Texas, it could be 70 degrees one day and 90 degrees the next. Does the teenager caring for your French Bulldog know that 90 degrees is too hot to walk Frenchie? Is the teenager caring for your pets able to recognize signs of distress or know how to administer medication properly? This lack of experience could potentially endanger the health and safety of the pet under their care.

They may not responsible

Responsibility is a key factor in pet sitting or dog walking. While some teens may be mature and reliable, others might not possess the necessary level of responsibility to handle this task effectively. Pets require consistent care, including feeding, grooming, exercise, and attention. A teen who is forgetful or easily distracted may neglect these duties, leading to discomfort or distress for the pet. Pet Parents have contacted Top Dog Pet Sitters for pet care because the teen they thought would do a good job drank all the alcohol in the house. Another pet-sitting teen asked a friend to take over so he could go to a movie.

They may not be reliable

Reliability is another concern when considering the teen next door for pet sitting or dog walking. Teenagers have schedules filled with school, extracurricular activities, and social engagements. Teenagers oversleep. Pet parents have contacted Top Dog Pet Sitters because teenagers did not show up or only stayed a handful of the time they were expected to be at a location.

Are they ready when safety issues arise?

Safety issues also arise when entrusting pet sitting to a teenager.  Pets, especially dogs and cats, can behave unpredictably or require handling with care. Without proper supervision and guidance, teens may inadvertently mishandle a pet, leading to accidents or injuries. Additionally, young children may not understand the importance of following safety protocols, such as securing gates or keeping harmful substances out of reach of pets.

They may not have appropriate communication skills

Communication is crucial in pet sitting to ensure the pet’s needs are met and any concerns are addressed promptly. Teens may lack the communication skills necessary to effectively convey important information to pet owners and veterinarians or recognize signs of distress in animals. Not communicating critical information, like a cat has not used the litter box in several days, could endanger a pet’s health, or even life.

Do they have insurance?

The teen next door will not have liability insurance or worker’s comp. If the teen is injured on your property, you will be liable. If the teen damages your home there is no liability insurance to repair your property. For example, your dog is to be crated. The teenager does not secure the crate, and Fido gets out and literally eats your $5000 sofa. Here’s another example: the teen is walking your dog and another dog attacks your dog. The vet bill is astronomical. Again, there is no liability insurance and you are responsible for the vet bill.

While the teenager next door may seem like a convenient (and cheap) option for pet sitting, there are significant drawbacks to consider. From lack of experience and responsibility to concerns about reliability, safety, communication, and lack of insurance, entrusting a teenager with pet-sitting responsibilities is not in the best interest of the pet or the pet parent. Instead, pet owners should prioritize finding a professional pet care or dog walking service that can provide an exceptional level of care.


Top Dog Pet Sitters provides in-home dog walking and pet sitting services in McKinney and Melissa, TX. To learn more about our services, check out our Services page, complete the form on our Contact page, or contact us at 214 244-1629.