On the Road Again – How to Choose a Dog Sitter While You Travel

It can be tough leaving behind your four-legged friend when you travel. Your veterinarian likely offers boarding services, but most dogs aren’t big fans of the vet and will start to panic as soon as they realize where you’re headed.  You want your pup to be as relaxed and happy as you are on your vacation. Dog sitting is a great option for quality, compassionate care in a home setting where your pet will feel comfortable. 

Finding an experienced and reliable dog sitter near you isn’t as hard as you might think. Services such as Rover and Wag! can help narrow down your search for the perfect sitter. They do background checks on every sitter who joins their platforms, so you know you’re getting someone trustworthy. In addition, they match you with local sitters, and you can read through their profiles and past reviews to find your dog’s temporary new bestie.  

If you’re anything like us, you’re just a smidge obsessed with your dog. You likely have a million questions that will need answering before you’re comfortable handing over your fur baby.  We get it, and we’ve got you covered! We’ll go over common questions about dog sitting and help you choose the best service to find an experienced caregiver for your beloved pup.

What Should You Expect a Dog Sitter To Do?

A dog sitter takes care of your dog daily while you’re away. They can do this in their home or yours if you prefer. (The latter is a good option if your dog is particularly anxious.) Sitters cover all the basics of your dog’s care, such as feeding, providing fresh water, going for walks, light grooming, and administering medicine. Dog sitters also tend to be dog lovers, so in addition to the “must-haves,” you can expect them to give your pet lots of love and companionship just like you would. 

Your dog sitter will do everything in their power to take excellent care of your pup, and in a perfect world, no dog would ever get sick or hurt. But, unfortunately, these things do happen. So, if your dog gets hurt or seems to be under the weather, your sitter will notify you and ensure she gets proper vet care as soon as possible. 

Responsible dog sitters will try to keep your pup’s routine the same, but there are some things they may not be able to do. For example, most sitters don’t provide grooming beyond the basic bathing and brushing. If you expect your dog to need his coat trimmed, nails cut, or ears cleaned, arrange to have him brought to a groomer when the time comes. Also, if your dog has an illness or injury that requires more than medication (e.g., degenerative myelopathy that requires physical therapy exercises), a sitter may not have the experience needed to provide this specialized care. 

A dog sitter’s primary responsibilities

  • Provide food and water
  • Take your dog for walks (and pick up poop!)
  • Administer medications if needed
  • Provide basic grooming
  • Give lots of love and attention to your pup

How Much Should You Pay a Dog Sitter? 

You can expect to pay about $30-40 per night for a dog sitter. Rates may be higher or lower depending on the dates of your trip, where you live, and your sitter’s experience level. 

In areas with a high cost of living, such as San Francisco, it will cost closer to $80 per night. If your trip falls on a holiday, the rate may be a little higher than normal. Demand for dog sitters is high around holidays because many people travel, which can push the cost up a bit. 

There are other less expensive options you can consider, such as paying a close friend or family member to care for your dog while you’re gone. You can also ask potential sitters if they offer a discounted rate for sits that last a week or more. 

How to Find Pet Sitting Near Me?

  1. Ask a friend or family member.
    This is the best place to start. You may get lucky and find someone close to you who is available to watch your pup. This is usually the least expensive option, and it provides additional peace of mind because you know them personally.
  2. Search locally to find accredited dog sitters.
    A quick internet search can provide you with a list of potential sitters to reach out to.

  3. Consider boarding at a specialized facility.
    A company that offers dedicated boarding is often better set up than the vet to provide the level of care you want for your dog. (Think: lots of toys, rooms instead of kennels, playtime with other pups, one-on-one cuddle time).

  4. Try out a dog sitting app.
    Dog sitting apps are easy to use and can pinpoint many local sitter options for you. However, many also require background checks before a dog sitter can join the platform.

What About Dog Sitting Apps?

Rover and Wag! are two of the most popular dog sitting apps. To help you decide which is best for you, we’ve put together an overview of both that covers their services, average rates, and general pros and cons.

Rover Pet Sitting Review 

Rover is a network of pet sitters and dog walkers. They’ve been in business for 10 years and have earned the confidence of over 2 million pet parents. Every pet sitter is required to submit a background check and is handpicked by the Rover team. Each sitter on the Rover platform sets its own rate. Prices vary, but you are looking at a general range of about $30-50 per night for boarding or house sitting.

There are two pet sitting options with Rover. You can choose either the boarding option, where the pet sitter cares for your dog in their home, or you can select a house-sitting arrangement. With house sitting, your furry friend gets to stay in her comfort zone, and you get the added security of having someone watching your home while you’re away. 

Rover knows how important your pet’s safety and happiness are, so they offer free in-person meetings with potential sitters. This allows you to find someone you trust and your dog feels comfortable with. 

Additional Rover services

  • Drop-in visits
  • Doggy daycare
  • Walking
  • Grooming

Wag! Dog Sitting Review

The Wag! platform is focused on pet sitting, dog walking, training, and veterinary services. They have a huge network of dog lovers ready to take care of your pup no matter what city you’re in. The average range for dog sitting or boarding with Wag! is $39 to $59 per night. 

Like Rover, Wag! also conducts background checks on every pet sitter. You can narrow your search down to the perfect sitter by using filters such as sitters who know how to handle a hyper puppy or who are confident caring for elderly dogs. If you’re short on time, you can choose to have the Wag! team selects a sitter based on your needs. 

Unlike Rover, they don’t appear to offer a free in-person meeting before booking. However, every house sit and boarding is insured, and you can get regular video or photo updates throughout the site to ensure your little love is safe and happy. 

Additional Wag! services

  • Drop-in visits
  • In-home training
  • Digital training 
  • Ask a vet
  • Wellness (pet insurance)

It can be nerve-wracking to leave your furry family member with a stranger, but there are many experienced and trustworthy dog sitters out there who will treat your pup like a queen. For the best experience, look for a sitter with good reviews and an experience that aligns with your dog’s unique needs. 

No matter who you choose as your pet sitter, you can ensure your dog is well taken care of by stocking up on quality food and treats from PetPlate. A vet nutritionist created our meals and treats, so you know your pup is getting everything they need to stay healthy and happy.