Pet Sitting Websites & Apps: Pet Care is Just a Click Away

Lea Jaratz

Pet Sitting Apps

Most of us have that go-to friend or neighbor who is available to look in on our pets when we’re gone for the weekend or let them out in an emergency. But maybe you don’t have that person, or you’re ready to stop asking for favors. Fortunately, you can hire pet sitters, dog walkers, and overnight pet care without ever having to pick up a phone, unless it’s a smart phone.

Wag!

Wag!, as one reviewer put it, is like Uber for dog walking. Just download the app and enter a request for a pre-screened dog walker to come take your dog for a walk. Available between 6am and 11pm, most Wag! walk requests are filled within 30 minutes. If you want to schedule recurrent walks, you can set up a meet and greet with one of their walkers, but I see this being useful in the event of a late night at work or being held up in an emergency.

It seemed odd to me at first to allow a stranger into my home to take my dog for a walk. But Wag! isn’t messing around when it comes to safety and security. All of their walkers are vetted, licensed, and bonded and your home is insured for up to $1,000,000. You can also read their profiles and reviews from other clients. After your dog has been walked, you’ll get to see a GPS map of the route your walker took with the dog.

If you think you’re likely to use Wag!, consider requesting one of their free lock boxes, so you can securely leave a key for walkers in case of an emergency.

Wag! does offer overnight boarding and pet sitting through their app, but their niche definitely seems to lie with the last-minute dog walking service. Walk pricing varies by market, but, on average, a 30 minute walk is $20.

Wag! is currently offering the first walk free for new customers, and you can save on future visits by buying credits in advance.

Fetch!

In contrast to Wag! and Rover, which allow you to view the profiles of pet sitters, Fetch! is taking the decision-making aspect out of the equation. A pet parent submits a request for a dog walker or pet sitter and a pet care coordinator selects the caregiver most suited to your needs in your area. Maybe that’s good, because over analyzing people’s photos and profiles can feel a bit like using a dating app. And you can set up a meet and greet to screen the caregiver before you hand over the leash. They offer walks, overnights, and stop-by pet sitting.

Fetch! doesn’t use an app, but they have 24/7 access online for scheduling and customer support. Their caregivers will contact you with updates and photos of your pet.

Fetch! is also licensed and bonded. The main difference between Fetch! and services like Rover or Wag! is that you’re connecting with a franchise directly, instead of an independent pet sitter, making it feel a bit more old school.

Pet Sitters International

If you're looking for a referral for a professional pet sitter, Pet Sitters International is your go to. PSI allows you to search by area to find a sitter for just about any type of animal. They'll provide you with a list of sitters and you can see at a quick glance if they're insured, bonded, and certified in pet first aid. Click on a sitter's profile to read more and fill out the web form if you'd like to contact them directly. They can share testimonials and provide references before you hire them. It's a clean, easy way to find a sitter close by. No app required, and the sitting fee goes entirely to the sitter, because there is no overseeing company.

Care.com

You might have heard of Care.com for hiring babysitters and nannies, but they can also be pretty handy when looking for pet care. The website allows pet parents to post specific jobs with dates and times when care is needed. Caregivers will reply within 3 days, and you can screen them, call references, and arrange a meet and greet.

You can also view the profiles of caregivers in your area, so if you prefer to contact someone before putting a job out there, that’s an option.

Care.com does offer insurance and most of the providers will offer you background check information as needed. So, again, you’re working with insured, independent contractors. Because Care.com cares so much about their reputation for safety and reliability, I can say firsthand that they’re invested in how their caregivers interact with customers and won’t hesitate to let you know if a caregiver has had a negative interaction with another client.

Rover

Rover also provides dog walking services with short notice, but they’ve built a reputation as one-stop shopping for pet sitters, dog walkers, boarders, and home doggie daycare. You can view a list of people in your neighborhood, read profiles, and see pricing (which varies by person) for different tasks upfront. It also shows you how many repeat customers that pet care worker has had. When I see sitters with multiple repeat customers, I not only appreciate that they’re good to the pets, but it tells me Rover is good to their pet care workers too.

Rover allows pet parents to see a map of their pet’s walk route and receive updates and photos from the sitter. In my experiences with Rover, nearly all communication with the sitter was done via text.

Since I last used Rover in 2014 they’ve added a lot of features. They acquired their largest competitor in 2017, making it a huge network of caregivers. I appreciate being able to screen specific things, such as homes with cats, and you can do the same to find sitters with certain specifications, memberships, or skills (even whether or not they allow dogs on the bed). You can also request extras, like grooming. It’s awesome to see so many people providing such a range of services for pet parents.

I can’t say how touchy feely, efficient, or cost-effective these services are. All of that depends on the caregiver or the franchise. And each of them varies in how much they rely on technology, provide training, and offer caregiver support. But, I am loving that we live in an era where a reputable pet sitter can be at your home on short notice, without ever having to crack open a phone book, or a checkbook for that matter.

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