Dog Sitting Guide – A Review of Pet Sitting Platforms

puppy standing in the grass

Going away on vacation and wanting to dog sit your pet while away? Of course, you do; who would ever leave their dog alone in an empty house? Pets are more than just animals — they’re part of the family.

If you’re going out of town and need to find a dog sitter, you may be wondering what your options are. Of course, any modern sitters can’t compete with your walk around the block for fun or treats, but there are new services that have popped up lately to help make the transition easier. Some even offer other services like grooming, walking, and training. But how do you go about choosing between so many options?

But where can you find the best websites for dog sitting?

Whether you need someone else to take care of your doggy for a few days, sifting through the internet searching for a reputable dog sitter service can be tedious and time-consuming.

You’re lucky because the Pet Sitting Guide is here to make sure you know exactly how to find a quality dog sitting service. In this guide, you can review the pros and cons of 11 of the top dog-sitting websites to make an informed decision for your pet.

If you are heading out of town for a vacation or have an essential business trip and don’t have time to get your dog to the kennel, then a dog sitting service might be what you need.

The Benefits of Dog Sitting vs. Traditional Kennels

Are you looking for a dog-sitter for your precious pooch? Not sure if you should opt for a traditional kennel or a sitter? Keep reading to learn more so you can receive help making the decision.

There are many factors to consider when it comes to choosing where to leave your pup. But these four benefits below will help you decide!

First, you have way more flexibility than a kennel because you work directly with one person to coordinate your drop-off and pick-up. Next, with dog sitting, your pup will get more one-on-one attention which will most likely keep them calmer and less anxious while you’re gone.
Once you begin working with dog sitters, you will probably find one that you and your beloved pup love. This opportunity for connection leads to the third benefit of dog sitting, which is the opportunity to create a relationship and build trust with a sitter. You can rely on them to be available to support your pup while you’re away, and that can be priceless for your dog.

The fourth benefit of dog sitting is less about your dog and more for you! Get the peace of mind that you need to leave your dog home with someone while traveling. And, what’s better? Most dog sitting websites have insurance, so they will have you covered if there is any issue while you’re out of town.

woman walking multiple dogs in the park

The Top 11 Dog Sitting Platforms: Pros and Cons

You wouldn’t trust a stranger to watch your kids, so why would you do it with your dogs? When it’s time to leave town, you have to figure out what to do with your pets, whether for work or leisure.
Between work, errands, and the occasional vacay, life can get pretty hectic—and it’s important to know that they will nicely take care of your pup as you hurry off to do all the things.
However, finding a reliable dog sitter can seem like a daunting task. There are many questions to ask: “Is this person trustworthy?” “How do I know they will meet my pup’s needs?”
You can find a sitter who’s perfect for both you and your pet with the proper research.
Here are two essential tips for ensuring that your four-legged family member is in good hands.
First, consider what your dog’s needs are while you’re gone. While most sitters have experience with dogs in general, not all have experience caring for seniors, puppies, or dogs with special medical needs. Make sure the sitter has experience with your dog’s breed and any physical limitations they may have.
Second, think about what level of attention your dog requires. Some dogs thrive on lots of human interaction, while others prefer to stick by themselves most of the time. The last thing you want is an unhappy pup on either end of this spectrum! Please find out how much time each sitter spends with their dogs and clients.

Rover

​​If you’ve ever had to leave your dog behind while you travel, you know that it can be stressful. Likewise, it’s hard to leave your pet with a stranger. But not anymore!

With Rover, you can connect with someone who loves animals as much as you do—and they might be right in your neighborhood.

Whether you want someone to stay at your home or your pet to stay with a sitter’s family, Rover is here for you. You can find a trustworthy sitter who will take excellent care of your furry friend and give you peace of mind that they’ll be safe and well cared for while you’re gone.

Rover has lots of reviews from other pet owners, and we list our sitters’ availability dates so that it’s easy to book the perfect care for your pet. Plus, all of our sitters have passed our best-practice training sessions and received badges so that you know they have the experience needed to provide excellent care for your dog or cat.

Pros:

Rover allows you to connect with dog sitters, cat sitters, and even pet sitters for exotic pets like hedgehogs, reptiles, etc. You can see sitters’ reviews, their availability dates, and what services they offer (for example, if they’ll walk your dog or provide house-sitting services). And you can even see whether they’ll let your dog stay at their house (if you prefer) or if they’ll come to your house to tend to your animals while you’re away.

You can also set up recurring stays with the same sitter to help build familiarity with your pet. Rover has trained its sitters in best practices for caring for animals (and has them do refresher training each year), so you know that whoever you choose will treat your animal with love and respect—and that’s guaranteed.

Most people have had a great experience with Rover because it is a community of sitters where every Rover sitter has passed a background check. And they’re insured through Rover’s third-party insurance company with liability coverage per incident (including vet bills) and have completed continued education with their partner Trainual on canine behavior and safety.

Cons:

As with any dog sitting website, there is a chance your sitter will have to cancel at the last minute. A handful of complaints with Rover include issues with the last-minute cancellations by sitters. But, people still received full refunds and were able to book another sitter to cover their travel. So, while it is inconvenient and frustrating, most people can find the support they need after a few rounds with sitters.

dog laying on the couch

Wag!

Have you heard of Wag? If not, you’re in for a treat.

Wag is a pet sitting app available in over 4,600 cities nationwide. They offer everything from dog walking to boarding and training services—and you can get all the details before booking a sitter, including their criminal background check results, how long they’ve been with Wag, and their general availability.

Pros:

When you’re looking for a pet sitting app that’s more than just a dog walking app, Wag is a perfect choice.

They offer comprehensive training for all their sitters, and they require criminal background checks, so you know your precious pets are in great hands.

Wag even uses technology to track where walkers and sitters go with your pets, so you can rest easy knowing exactly where they are.

And if you choose to have sitters stay in your home while you’re away, they’ll even provide a lockbox to store your key!

With Wag, you can choose from walks, drop-ins, or boarding at a Wag sitter’s home (or yours!). And they’re all covered by Wag’s $1 million insurance policy—no matter what kind of hijinks your pup gets into at home.

Cons:

Every service has its pros and cons. As for Wag!, it’s’ not a perfect service either. And it’s essential to understand the cons so you can get the best service possible for your dog.
Many people complain that their customer support is terrible. If you need urgent answers to something and can’t manage a phone call at the moment, you’re kind of out of luck—they don’t have live chat or a messaging system on their site (which Rover does), and emailing them is sketchy.

dog in front of a light blue background

Care.com

At Care.com, they believe caring for your pet is just as important as caring for yourself. In fact, caring for your pet is one of the best ways to care for yourself! It’s a win-win situation.

They know that you love your pet, but sometimes life gets in the way, and you can’t always be there for them as much as you’d like to be. They want to make sure they are cared for in a way that’s loving and respects their needs—so they created a platform where people like you can connect with experienced caregivers who love animals and want to help you keep your pet happy.

Pros:

When you first use Care.com, it can be a little overwhelming. There are so many different kinds of care to choose from on their platform!

Care.com offers various services for your pets: they can sit with them while you’re away, walk them, train them, groom them, and even board them if you need to leave town for a while.

Here’s how it works. You’ll sign up for an account on Care.com and then create the job you need to complete, whether that’s a dog walker for every weekday evening or someone who will watch your cat for a week while you’re on vacation. Care.com guarantees that someone will respond within three days of posting your job!

Once they contact you about your job posting, you can review their profiles and request background checks before conducting interviews and checking references so you can hire whoever you think is best.

Cons:

When you first use Care.com, it can be a little overwhelming. There are so many different kinds of care to choose from on their platform!

Care.com offers various services for your pets: they can sit with them while you’re away, walk them, train them, groom them, and even board them if you need to leave town for a while. But, once you understand everything they have to offer and how to use the platform it is simple.

dog jumping through a grassy field

Fetch! Pet Care

Getting a sitter for your pet isn’t always as easy as you want. You need someone you can trust, who will show up on time, and make sure your pets are safe and cared for.
At Fetch!, know how important it is that you feel comfortable with whoever is taking care of your beloved animal friend, so they make it incredibly easy for you to find a sitter who matches your specific needs.
Whether you want someone with experience with older dogs or a sitter who knows their way around an aquarium, their Pet Care Coordinators will hook you up with the perfect caretaker for you, every time.

Pros:

What comes to mind when you think about everything that goes into a perfect sitter?

You probably want someone trustworthy, reliable, and experienced. But who has time to vet multiple candidates… and then make sure they’re available on the dates you need them?

That’s why Fetch! does things differently. Instead of choosing your sitter, Fetch! will match you with the sitter that best fits your criteria. In addition, you can view client testimonials for all of the sitters, and they encourage you to have an in-home visit with the sitter of your choice to guarantee the sitter, and your beloved pet gets along well.

And, because of this service, you can spend time doing other things while the platform connects you to the best pick for you.

Cons:

Although the app isn’t terrible, some things need to be refreshed. For example, a cleaner, more straightforward layout would make it easier to use and more modern-looking.
Many users would also like to see more prominent social buttons (Facebook, Twitter) in the header so that it’s easy for them to spread the word about this excellent app.
Also, a place to save connections would be great. Most people don’t go to the “recent connections” tab and can become reasonably frustrated trying to find sitters they’ve used in the past.

dog playing with a ball in the grass

National Association of Professional Pet Sitters

Are you looking for a pet sitter? The National Association of Professional Pet Sitters is an excellent resource to locate NAPPS-accredited pet sitters in your area. Just type in your zip code, and they’ll give you a list.
The site is not a pet sitting service, but it’s a great place to look for high-quality services that follow the guidelines set forth by NAPPS.

Pros:

The National Association of Professional Pet Sitters is committed to providing quality pet sitting services to you and your pets. And they do this by ensuring that all of the pet sitters in their network are licensed and accredited by their certification process.
They understand that finding someone you trust with your precious pet can be challenging, especially if you live outside of a big city. But they have a network of pet sitters across the country, so they’re confident that they can find someone near you who will be able to help.

Cons:

The biggest drawback of using NAPPS is that you cannot book a pet sitter through their site. You can only find accredited sitters to connect with on the platform. So, if you are looking for a tool to purchase pet sitting services through them then the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters may not be the best service for you.

dog laying in a grassy field

Pet Sitters International

Finding a pet sitter in your area doesn’t have to be complicated.

If you’re looking for local pet sitters, why not try Pet Sitters International? PSI is a directory. You can find local pet sitters that are members of their organization.

Pet Sitters International (PSI) is the world’s largest association for professional sitters, and it’s a great place to start your search.

Pros:

Are you looking for pet care services? PSI can help!

Once you enter your zip code, it will give you a list of professional services in the area members of PSI. PSI requires its members to be insured, bonded, trained in first aid, certified, and have passed a background check. So, when you find a sitter through PSI, you can rest assured that they will take care of your pet.

The listing includes information about each business, such as how long they’ve been open, what they offer (dog walking, cat sitting, etc.), and their hourly rate. You can contact them directly through their website or email to book an appointment.

Cons:

If you’re looking for a pet sitter who is insured, trained in first aid and CPR, and has been background-checked, then Pet Sitters International can help.
But, because PSI is an educational association for professional pet sitters rather than a booking company like Rover or Wag!, you will need to contact each business individually.

dog running through a flower field

D Pet Hotels

D Pet Hotels are not just a place to drop off your dog while at work. They offer an experience that they will love and come back to time and time again. When you’re looking for a dog sitter, we know that you have many options; they are here to stand out.

Pros:

D Pet Hotels offers luxury and comfort for your dog.
They have 24/7 onsite staff to make sure your dog is never left alone, and our doors are always open, so you can stop by any time to check on them or play with them. Their doggy daycare has an open floor plan with lots of fun activities, including toys, swimming pools, and special classes like Puppy Yoga. While your dog is in their care, they will feel like part of the family—they’ll get all the attention they want from us and plenty of playtime with other dogs.
They offer pick-up and drop-off services for residents who need help getting their pups to and from doggy daycare. They also offer overnight boarding for dogs whose owners need somewhere to leave their pets while traveling or working late.

Cons:

Is it better to have someone come to your home and take care of your pet, or is it better to take them to doggie daycare? It’s a tough decision.

And there are pros and cons to both.

Boarding facilities can sometimes cost more than hiring a pet sitter. The price varies depending on the facility’s location and offerings. But if you decide to use D Pet Hotels, they offer a suite of excellent services, including doggie daycare, dog boarding, cat boarding, and more!

dog with its paw up

Petshotel – Petsitting Through Petsmart

If you could pack up your pets and take them with you on vacation, we’re pretty sure they’d be all in. But if you can’t, Petshotel by Petsmart is your best bet for a close second.

They offer a home away from home for your pet, with safety-certified staff to ensure your furry friend gets the care and attention they deserve.

And, they don’t just offer comfortable accommodations for dogs and cats, either. They can handle any animal with fur or feathers, including ferrets! In addition, their engaged caretakers will keep your pet from feeling lonely while you’re away.

Petshotel also offer a clean environment, playtime, exercise, healthy meals, etc. Unfortunately, Petshotel are so comfortable you’ll have to drag yourself away when the time comes to pick up your pal!

Pros:

When it comes to using Petshotel through Petsmart, there are many pros.

The facilities are immaculate, and it would be an understatement to say that they had no odor. These hotels keep their carpets rolled up and the floors polished, and you can hover over any surface without feeling worried about picking up a parasite or getting your pet sick.

The staff was super friendly, even to humans, and are well prepared to assist with any need you or your four-legged companion may have.

Cons:

While Petshotel may seem like a fun place for your pet to hang out, there are some significant drawbacks.

For one, a dog will only receive a minimum of two potty breaks. After that, they’re not walked outside; instead, the owner will escort them to a room with faux pebble floors for their potty break.

If your dog is used to going outside several times a day, you may want to consider an alternative place for your pet to stay.

They want you to feel good about leaving your pet with them, so please don’t hesitate to contact them if you have any questions or concerns.

puppy laying on its back

Holidog

At Holidog, they know how important it is that the person you choose is just right for you and your pet, and they want to give you all the time you need to make an informed decision.

They don’t ask for payment until you’ve found someone you like the look of, and you can find out more about our subscription packages here.

Once you’re happy with your chosen Sitter, follow these easy steps. First, click “Book a Pet Sitter” in your profile’s “Searches” section. Next, select your subscription package. And finally, complete the payment process via our secure payment portal.

The service fee is payable in advance and provides access to our range of membership packages that offer unlimited searches of our network of qualified Pet Sitters. The membership package you choose will determine the rate you are charged for your booking.

Holidog currently offers two options through their website. First, pay per search. This gives you unlimited access to all profiles for a single search. You can then select up to three sitters when making your inquiry, and we will charge you the price of a single search for each pet sitter who agrees to look after your pet(s). Their premium membership allows you to view all profile data and do unlimited searches for free (after paying an initial monthly fee).

Pros:

​​Holidog.com is an excellent alternative for anyone looking for pet sitting support.

Holidog.com is the perfect place to find a sitter for pet owners who require consistent dog-sitting services. Unlike most other services, they offer discounts if you sign up for a monthly or yearly subscription, which means you never need to pay the total price for your services again.

One thing that sets them apart from their competitors is that they offer a variety of services for a variety of pets. Unlike most pet sitting services, Holidog.com offers pet care to animals, including birds and fish. They can even take care of your iguana for a week!

In addition to this, Holidog.com also offers liability insurance for your pet (through their VIP and subscription packages) if anything were to happen while you’re away. It’s nice to have piece-of-mind knowing that your dog will be taken care of no matter what happens!

Cons:

When it comes to cons with Holivet, there are some worth mentioning. The first is regarding the insurance they provide while watching your dog. While most places offer insurance for anyone who books their services, that is not precisely the case with Holidog. Holidog offers Holivet to help cover expenses if your dog needs to go to the vet while in their care. But, the issue lies with the fact that it’s only available to people who book with their VIP service.

The other con worth mentioning is that they are an expensive service if you choose to do a one-off booking instead of joining through a subscription.

dog laying in autumn leaves

Petbacker

Pet owners and pet sitters, pet groomers, dog walkers rejoice! Finally, there’s now a way to find the best matches for you and your pets – and it’s all in one place. PetBacker makes finding the perfect partner easy, so you don’t have to spend all your free time researching.

You’re looking for a pet sitter to watch over your dogs while you’re out of town. You can search through their extensive database of experienced pet sitters, rated on their experience with animals and customers, so you know they’re going to provide the best care possible. And since they’re available in real-time, you’ll be able to find someone right away.

Or maybe you’re just looking for a dog walker to take your pup around the block every day before work. Now, instead of spending hours searching for reviews and trying to find someone in your area, you can see who’s rated well and how close they are to where you live (or work).

The PetBacker app is also helpful if you’re a pet sitter or dog walker. You can post information about your job availability and services with just a few clicks. That means that people in need of your services can find you with ease.

Pros:

PetBacker guarantees that you have a secure experience every time you book a pet service.
PetBacker is an online community connecting pet owners with trusted and loving sitters. They make it easy to find, book, and pay for the perfect sitter for your pet. And with their 100% Reservation Guarantee, you can rest easy knowing that no matter what happens, you’ll always have a place for your pet to stay.
If your support has to cancel at the last minute, PetBacker will work with you to find a new one. They will not keep any money from you until after the service is completed, and there’s no need to tip—they’ve got your back!
And if you want to be sure your pets are in good hands, look for their badges—it’s a sign that they’ve been hand-picked from all applicants as one of the best.

Cons:

It can be challenging when someone cancels on you so last-minute. And unfortunately, there are always going to be people who act unprofessionally or are unreliable on apps and platforms. PetBacker tries its best to prevent that from happening, but sometimes all it can do is offer solutions for when it does happen.
When a sitter cancels on you, the first thing you need to do is communicate with the sitter. If they respond promptly and help you find another sitter, then great! However, it would be best if you still left them feedback on the app detailing their response time, professionalism, and helpfulness in finding another sitter, so other customers would know what they were like before they book their services.
If they don’t respond or they don’t help you find another sitter (or if you have some other issue with them), then your next step should be to contact customer service by emailing hello@petbacker.com.

dog holding a blue leash in its mouth

Sittercity

Sittercity is one of the easiest ways to find a pet sitter. They make it easy to find the right person for your pet and lifestyle. So whether you’re looking for someone to walk your dog, feed your cat, or even groom & train a pet, they’ve got thousands of sitters in your area with the skills you need.
Match by skills and schedule, read references and reviews, purchase background checks, and message sitters directly.
They love pets just as much as you do, so they know how important it is to have a reliable person watching over them when you can’t be there yourself.
Sittercity carefully vets all of its sitters before joining their network, ensuring that you’re getting the best possible care for your beloved pet. With Sittercity caring for your animal family member, you can enjoy more free time knowing they’re in good hands!

Pros:

Sittercity knows you love your pet, and they also know that sometimes you need a little help caring for them. Or maybe you have an upcoming trip and want to make sure your furry best friend is taken care of while you’re gone! We get it—that’s why we created Sittercity.
Sittercity makes the process easy and painless by giving you access to a vast database of pet sitters in your area, each with their own unique set of skills and availability. You can even read references and reviews from other users and purchase background checks if you feel the need. And best of all, once you find a sitter that works for you, you can message them directly to schedule that first meeting!

Cons:

Reliability is critical to Sittercity. They strive to be as reliable as possible with their website and app, making sure that they’re easy to use, don’t crash, and are available 24/7.
But, Sittercity can’t guarantee the reliability of the sitters they match you with.
If you have a sitter cancel on you, please let them know. They’ll work on finding you a new sitter ASAP. Unfortunately, they cannot and will not offer refunds unless your sitter is a no-show, so please make sure you get in touch with them as soon as possible if your sitter cancels.

dog laying on a couch with a bowl of popcorn

Leaving A Tip For Your Pet Sitter

Summer is upon us, and you know what that means: vacation time! As anyone who has ever owned a dog knows, finding quality care for your pup can be challenging. Once upon a time, you probably had to ask a neighbor for a favor or post an ad on Craigslist.

But now, we’re in the golden age of online pet sitting websites. And with all of these opportunities available, the options are endless when it comes to finding someone to watch after your beloved pup.
Whether you’re headed out of town for a few days or a few weeks, you’ll want to ensure your pup is taken care of while you’re gone. Luckily, there is plenty of online dog sitting services to choose from. Just click around the site to find the perfect sitter in your area.

It may not seem like it, but dog sitting is a professional service. If you’re considering hiring a dog sitter, you may be wondering if it’s customary to tip for dog sitting.

Whether you should tip a dog sitter depends on how comfortable you feel with the person, their service, and whether you’re interested in rewarding them with a bit of extra.

While tipping a dog sitter is not required, it can be a nice gesture if they’ve worked for a larger company. It may be helpful to think of them as providing a professional service similar to that of a handyman.
While it’s not required, tipping a dog sitter can show your appreciation for their services. It can also incentivize them to give your pup the best care possible.

The best time to tip is when the sitter is about to leave after taking care of your pet for an extended period. A typical tip for a dog sitter is 10% to 20%, depending on the number of hours they spent with your dog and the quality of service.

You can also consider leaving treats or food behind as a gift. This would be enough in most cases, but if the sitter has gone above and beyond when caring for your pet, you might want to include a monetary tip.

Some people may feel uncomfortable tipping their dog sitter, mainly if they are friends or family members. In that case, you could consider preparing meals or baked goods for them instead as a thank you gesture.

Should Your Pet Sitter Stay Overnight?

Do dog sitters stay overnight? The answer to this question is that some do, but not all. Some may leave during the day or offer both night and day services.

If you want to keep your dog at home while away, you’ll want to find a pet sitter who offers overnight services. These sitters may leave during the day to run errands or take other dogs for walks. They may also provide day-only services—be sure to ask about any restrictions on their availability.

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