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Going to be away for work or vacation and looking for an in-home pet sitting service? The dog-sitting sites in this article are like Airbnb for dogs and provide in-home dog sitting as well as other services like grooming, walking and training so you don’t have to worry about boarding your pooch while you’re away. Find out which of the best pet sitting websites provide guarantees and background checks, which ones are less detailed and why pet sitting is superior to putting your pup in a crowded kennel.
Why Dog Sitting vs Kennel or Boarding?
More than 43 million households own dogs in the United States. We highly doubt all of those households are with their pet 24/7. That’s why a professional pet sitter is so convenient. They come to your home, walk your dogs, feed them, play with them, administer medications, water your plants, get your mail and more.
Before You Read Our Dog Sitting App Review
Pet sitting rates vary based on location, experience and type of pet. Because of this, we have not included pricing. We also have not included pros and cons because these services can vary based on location, so what may be true in one area may not be true in another.
Rover.com offers pet sitters for your dog at home or they can stay at the sitter’s home. Browse their site by zip code and view the possible sitters. The company conducts background checks, provides reviews of dog sitters and shows their availability dates. Their site is clean and easy to navigate. Also, sitters receive “badges” for various items, i.e. Rover 101, which is pet care best practices. Dog sitting rates are listed upfront and the services along with the types of animals the sitter is comfortable with. Rover offers 24/7 support, reservation guarantee and pet insurance (vet bills are covered up to $25,000 per claim, after a $250 deductible). Sitters can also send updates along with photos and even videos of your pets to “stay in touch” with your fur babies while you are away.
DogVacy Rover Merger
Note: In March 2017 Rover announced its acquisition of its biggest competitor DogVacay and in June 2017 all DogVacay users (both dog sitters and dog parents) officially moved to Rover permanently. The companies joined forces to be the largest network of 5-star sitters and give those looking for a pet sitter more options in a wider range of geographic areas.
Check out this 30-second video to find out why dog people make great sitters (over boarding your dog at the kennel).
Use this link and you will receive $25 in credit towards your first booking with Rover!
Fetch! Pet Care does things differently. You don’t get to hand-pick your sitter. Instead, Fetch! personally matches every client to the most qualified sitter on their staff for you. Simply submit your request and they find you the most qualified professional in your area that is available on your dates. However, they do schedule a free in-home consultation for you and the sitter to meet and there are client testimonials online. Each sitter goes through a background check and your dog is insured during the reservation. You receive updates via text, email and phone call to know how your pup is doing. They also offer dog walking and overnight visits.
Care.com offers pet care as well as other types of care (senior care, child care, etc.). For pets, they will pet sit, walk your dog, train, groom and board them as you need. How does it work? Sign up for an account and create the job you need to be completed, i.e. a pet sitter for a weekend. Care.com guarantees caregivers will contact you within 3 days after posting your job so be sure to plan ahead. Then you can review the profiles of the candidates and request any background checks. You can then conduct interviews and check their references and hire whomever you like best.
Other Pet Sitting Website Reviews
Below are reviews of other in home dog sitting sites.
HouseCarers matches you with a house sitter in your area. The house sitter will take care of your home and pets while you are away so you don’t have to worry about boarding your pet. Your house will also look “lived in” while you are away so criminals won’t see your home as a target. The downside is HouseCarers does not have any guarantees and they do not perform any type of background check, so you don’t have that peace of mind. When we searched for a house sitter near our area we found results of people who were available for any location – not necessarily locals. We thought this was strange and not very helpful.
Petsitters.org (run by National Association of Professional Pet Sitters) is a pretty basic pet sitting service. They don’t provide any background on the person who will watch your dog and there is very little information about them provided. There are no reviews so you can’t see how they have done in the past. You have to do a bit of your own investigative work for this one: contact the person, conduct an interview, ask for references, etc. Some of these things could be provided automatically in their profile.
Bonded and Insured
You’ll want to hire a pet sitter that is bonded and insured. What does this mean?
- Bonding protects the company against employee theft. How does this work? If something goes missing while a pet sitter is staying in your home and you accuse the sitter of potential theft, should the police become involved and convict the sitter of the crime, then the bond would be covered by the company. The guilty sitter would then be responsible for paying back the bond to the company.
- Insurance means that your property is protected from any damage and that should an item in your home be broken or stolen during house sitting, it will be repaid or replaced by the insured company. So, you are protected from any damages or theft that could occur while the sitter is in your home.
These two items together provide you, the home and pet owner, some peace of mind to know that you will be repaid if the sitter steals or breaks something in your home. Bonus: it is also a good incentive for them to be a good citizen in the first place since their employer will be held responsible for their actions and anything that comes back poorly on the sitter will likely result in loss of work down the road.
- Pet Health Insurance is another thing to look for when picking a pet sitter for cases where something happens to your pup while in the pet sitter’s care. Oh no, Fido got bit by a horse fly and is acting sluggish! No worries, if the company you chose includes pet insurance during any pet sitter stays then part of Fido’s vet visit will be covered!
Pet Sitting is Better Than Boarding
Next time you’re leaving town or working late, you may want to search for a dog sitter online. That way your dog can stay in the comfort of his home and not be boarded at a strange place where he may or may not be comfortable.
Have you used a pet sitter before? What was your experience?