Need to find a dog walker or pet sitter?

There are four places you can find one. Our top recommendation is Rover. However, when you travel a lot and have flexible dates, we also recommend TrustedHousesitters. Here’s why.

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Why Rover

We start with a fundamental premise that companies that treat workers right get the best people. And Rover has been providing attractive opportunities for pet enthusiasts for more than a decade. Every dog-walker, pet-sitter, trainer, and pet-groomer on the site sets his or her own rates, availability and basic terms.

And the site takes a reasonable commission, ranging from 20-25%, for providing marketing and collection services for them.

Rover vs. Wag

That differs from the site’s main competitor, Wag, which takes a 40% commission on every service. Wag used to also set service rates. It now allows “dynamic pricing” — i.e. it allows dog-walkers and pet-sitters to set their own rates. But the site still pops the 40% on top, so if you find a dog walker or pet sitter here, you’ll pay considerably more.

To be specific, if a dog-walker wants to earn $20 per walk, that will cost you $25 at Rover and $33 at Wag. (You can sign up with Rover and get a $10 discount on your first service here.)

Happy sitter, happy pets

Giving freelance pet-enthusiasts the ability to set their own rates, specialties and terms is a benefit to both the worker and the client. There are several reasons why.

First, it has sparked a vibrant and competitive pet-sitting community. And competition often means lower prices. Why? There are thousands of sitters in pretty much every major city on Rover.

Thus, newcomers to this site often offer bargain rates in order to build their business and gather customer reviews. It’s the only way to compete with people who have been providing pet-services for years and have hundreds of positive reviews. Thus, you’re far more likely to find a good sitter at a bargain rate at Rover too.

You can sign up with Rover and get a $10 discount on your first service here.

Wealth of services

Secondly, the wealth of sitters offers dramatic variety — much like your pets.

Need somebody who can handle your medically-fragile pet? A good number of sitters on this site are capable of administering medicines. Have a big dog that’s used to sleeping on the sofa? A local Rover sitter almost certainly has a couch to share. Got little dogs that are skittish around bigger animal? Rover has plenty of sitters who specialize in small breeds.

In fact, when you sign up to provide services here, you’re asked what kind of pets you’re interested in taking care of. And freelancers set up their profiles to emphasize these differences. It makes it easy to find just the right person for your pet. 

Rover vs. Nextdoor

It’s worth noting that Nextdoor, a free neighborhood social media site, can sometimes help you find pet-sitters too. However, these come by way of word-of-mouth referral. You post a query like: Anyone know a good pet-sitter? And one or more of your neighbors might chime in to say that they watch pets or know someone who does.

But, where you can see reviews of pet-sitters on Rover, you have to trust referrals on Nextdoor. If you’ve got a dog that’s skittish or prone to escape, Rover is a safer choice.

Rover vs. TrustedHousesitters

The other option that we do recommend for pet-sitting is TrustedHousesitters. The people who sign up here do not charge. They are essentially watching your pets and watering your plants in exchange for free accommodations.

You, the homeowner, sign up at this site and list when you want to go on vacation. Then travelers, who also register here, who want to visit your town during the same time, contact you and you arrange a swap. You give them your keys and access to your house in exchange for them taking care of your pets and, perhaps, picking up your mail and watering your plants while you’re gone.

There’s an annual fee to sign up for TrustedHousesitters. However, if you’re going away for a long stretch — even for more than a week. The annual fee is likely to be far less than the cost of a dog-sitter. Sitters also pay an annual fee. But, it’s far less than the cost of accommodations, so everyone gets a bargain.

The fees vary from $129 to $319, depending on the services you want. The higher fee comes with veterinary video conferencing, which is well worth the cost, if you have a medically fragile pet.

The caveat? People who pet sit through Trusted are generally international travelers, who are looking for a vacation. So you may need to be flexible with your vacation dates to find a housesitter that suits you. Moreover, your less likely to be able to find a housesitter for short trips, like a long weekend and anything you do spur-of-the-moment.

That said, if you’re a retiree loves to travel and can travel when you want, TrustedHousesitters can be an exceptionally cost-effective choice. You can sign up for TrustedHousesitters here.

For shorter trips that are on a schedule, you’ll likely need to fall back to Rover. If you want to book with Rover, you can get a $10 discount on your first service here.