Finding experienced dog walkers and reliable pet-sitters can be tedious if you’re contacting one agency or provider at a time. Rover, a Seattle-based startup that operates nationwide, makes it easier to find someone to take your pup for a walk, watch them overnight in your home or theirs, drop in for daytime visits or provide doggie daycare while you’re away. Dog owners in need of a caregiver can just enter what they need on their computer or on Rover’s mobile app and see who’s available nearby, what their rates are, and what other customers have to say about their work.

As with other sharing-economy businesses, Rover is the platform for independent service providers rather than their employer. But Rover does provide training, background checks, and veterinary help lines for providers who choose to opt in. The company also provides insurance for customers’ pets as well as professional and general liability insurance for Rover users.

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Rover’s service area is huge–more than 10,000 municipalities across the country, including several locations in Hawaii and Alaska. I found dozens of pet sitters near my Austin home, as well as multiple providers in smaller towns. The site’s pricing is transparent, you can read user reviews, and the badge icons make it easy to identify sitters and walkers who’ve passed a background check.

Rover also offers a free pet-sitter matching service by phone for customers who prefer not to sort through reviews and listings. You just call, tell them what you need, and the Rover Match team will have a sitter who meets your specifications get in touch with you. has an A rating with the Better Business Bureau as of December 2015 and has been an accredited member since 2012.


As with other service platforms, the quality of services provided may vary by sitter. It’s a good idea to read user reviews and check to see if the sitters you’re considering have completed Rover’s best-practices training and have access to the optional Ask A Vet support services offered by Rover.

Fine print:

Only sitters and walkers whose profiles display the verified background check have undergone and passed a third-party screening. Cancellation policies vary by sitter; it’s up to users to read each sitter’s policies and ask any questions before booking.


Rover’s sitters and walkers set their own rates, so there’s a range. For example, rates for someone to walk one of my 60-pound pups in Austin range from $10 to $35 per half-hour walk. Half-hour check-ins at the pet owner’s home were in the same general price range. Depending on the sitter or walker’s policies, there may be a fee for cancellation of a booking.

Best for…

Seniors who want their dogs to get regular walks or who need drop-in visits, overnight care or boarding while traveling, in the hospital or otherwise unavailable to care for their canine companions.

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