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In years past, hiring a dog walker probably involved asking your neighbor for a favor or posting on Craigslist. Today, it’s far more high-tech, with dozens of online platforms dedicated to the sole task of connecting you with the perfect temporary caregiver for your four-legged friend. Of course, the main priority is finding someone you trust who can make sure your pup doesn't miss you too much.
Not sure where to start? We’ve rounded up our favorite dog sitting services, each of which makes it easy to find the perfect sitter in a couple of clicks.
Rover: Best Overall
Rover is one of the best-known names in pet sitting, and for good reason. The site is easy to use—think of it as Uber for pet sitters—making it simple to find someone to look after your best friend, whether you’re heading out on vacation or just need a dog walker for the afternoon.
Services available through rover include boarding, house sitting, dog walking, day care, and drop-in visits. Each sitter passes a background check and has approval from Rover’s team of specialists, adding a layer of trust to the booking experience.
Rover’s site also makes it simple to filter sitters in your area by rate, services offered, and membership to organizations like APSE or PetsitUSA. You can even check a requirement that your sitter is certified in dog first aid. Whatever your need, we suggest Rover as a go-to resource for dog sitting on-demand.
Petsitter: Best Budget
Petsitter.com is a great way to find experienced, qualified pet sitters with just a couple of clicks. Like our other options, this site helps you find a sitter in your area who meets your requirements, allowing you to “shortlist” your favorites to find the best match.
As an added bonus, Petsitter lets you set a filter for sitters with negotiable rates, making it our top choice for anyone who needs to keep an eye on their budget as they find someone to watch Fido. You also have the ability to separate out individual sitters from larger agencies in your area.
Aside from sitting, services offered through Petsitter.com include dog walking, feeding, grooming, boarding, overnight care, and training—a wider variety than many other platforms on our list. That quality also extends to the types of pets the site covers, which includes reptiles, horses, and exotic animals, aside from the expected dogs and cats.
So if you need a sitter to watch your python as well as your Great Pyrenees, Petsitter.com should be your first stop.
Fetch: Best Customer Experience
At first glance, Fetch is largely similar to Rover (one of its main competitors): You set your requirements, scroll through a list of sitters in your area, and connect with the ones that suit your needs.
But where some pet sitting sites offer a platform for finding services and not much more, Fetch uses experienced, locally based owners who recruit and train sitters registered with the site—a potentially important differentiator for anyone hesitant to leave their best friend with a stranger.
Fetch offers dog walking, pet sitting, and overnight visits, along with specialty options like transportation and medication management. The site also prides itself on its high level of service, asking clients to rate their experience and provide feedback.
Additionally, Fetch wins points for automatically employing a backup plan if your chosen sitter is sick or needs to cancel an appointment.
Care.com: Best Membership Plan
Rather than a pet-specific site, Care.com is a broader service that allows users to search for caregivers of all kinds (such as senior care and childcare). However, it has the pet sitting aspect covered in spades, with a simple search function that makes it easy to find and connect with sitters in your area.
The key difference is that Care.com is a membership-based site. While you’ll be able to post jobs and have sitters message you with a free account, you’ll need to set up a plan to use most features. With a Care.com premium membership, you’ll be able to schedule interviews, request background checks, and reply to applications from potential pet sitters.
Since Care.com has a wider focus than pet-specific sites, its sitter profiles will also let you know if they’re willing to assist with other tasks, like grocery shopping, laundry, and light cleaning.
PetsHotel Pet Boarding: Best for Travel
PetsHotel Pet Boarding is owned and operated by PetSmart and has locations all over the country. This is a great option for leaving your pet behind in your hometown or if you are hunting for a dog boarding and sitting option while you are out of town.
The service offers various packages for your dog or cat with add ons such as all-day play with other pups, a bath before your dog returns, and his or her own pet suite. There’s 24/7 on-site staffing and a veterinarian on call, so you can feel confident that your pooch is being well taken care of.
Daily rates for PetsHotel Pet Boarding vary by location, but they do offer discounts for students, seniors, first responders, and those in the military. Your first night is free so you can always test their services out before you go away for a vacation. Some locations even offer training services you can add on while your pet is away.
Your pup will likely feel more pampered than you after you return.
D Pet Hotels: Best Regional
D Pet Hotels is a unique, modern boarding experience with locations around the country. If you’re close to Texas, Arizona, or California, you should definitely check out this dog boarding company.
D Pet Hotels offers luxury suite boarding for your dog with private rooms, flat-screen TVs, California King beds, and more. This luxury boarding experience is a great option for nervous dogs who may not do as well when you are away. Every dog who stays at D Pet Hotels spends the day in daycare, which allows your pup to burn off energy and snooze through the night.
D Pet Hotels is a great choice if you are local to one of its five locations. Though they do not offer in-home pet sitting, you should consider this luxury boarding experience if your dog suffers from anxiety and would do better in a close-to-home environment.
HouseCarers: Best for House Sitting
HouseCarers is a nationwide database of house sitters near you who can not only watch your beloved, furry friend, but also keep your house safe while you are gone.
You can use its search engine to find dedicated house sitters near you, read profiles, and even see reviews from past jobs. The company features sitters who specialize in all types of dog care and some of them even offer a background check, so you can feel safe with who you let into your home. Although they are based in Australia, they have sitters all around the world who can watch your pet and your home.
Pricing depends on the individual, length of stay, and the number and type of pets. You can also register as a sitter if you are interested in watching other dogs in your spare time. This is a great option if you want someone trustworthy to stay in your home while you enjoy your time away.
Pet Sitters International: Best Nonprofit
Pet Sitters International is the world’s leading organization dedicated to pet sitting. Its website is aimed toward both pet sitters and parents looking to find a qualified sitter in their hometown.
It offers certification classes so pet sitters can learn everything from the basics of pet sitting to first aid. The nonprofit's site also offers helpful tips for pet parents about how to hire a sitter and what to do while you are away.
Use the Pet Sitters International database to find qualified sitters in your region. Once you locate a professional you want to hire, you would work directly with them to discuss rates, timing, and more. This option is great if you don’t want to go through a third party and instead would rather find a qualified sitter on your own.
Is It Customary to Tip a Dog Sitter?
While it is not required, it can be a nice gesture to tip a dog sitter, primarily if they work for a larger company. A dog sitter provides a professional service similar to a stylist, handyman, or groomer, so a 10% to 20% tip is appreciated. Whether you decide to tip or not should depend on your comfort level, the service you received, and whether you want to reward your dog sitter with a little extra. You should not feel obligated to tip a dog sitter, and many sitters may refuse bonuses.
Do Dog Sitters Stay Overnight?
Some dog sitters stay overnight, while some only check-in and walk your dog throughout the day. When looking for a dog sitter, you can choose one that stays overnight in your home with your pet, or you can opt to drop your dog off with a dog sitter at their house.
If your dog sitter stays overnight, they may leave during the day or offer day and night services. Many kinds of pet sitters are available, and you can likely find the right one, tailoring the service experience you want for your pet.