This post below contains an affiliate link- I could receive a small amount towards future pet sitting if you on the link to this service that I use myself.
I first heard of Rover.com on of course, the Internet, and was intrigued. I thought would be a nice back up plan since I already had a pet sitter who loved to take my dog despite his health condition (he has an unpleasant odour despite regular chlorhexidine baths because of his eczema). However, I ended up having to use Rover.com as my usual ‘go to’ dog sitter was unavailable for my dog when we went to Hawaii for 5 weeks, and my sister was also out of town.
The reason I would use a pet sitter instead of having my dog at a dog boarding place is that most of those place require up to date vaccinations. My dog was really allergic to his rabies vaccine as a puppy (his ears ‘poofed’ out to the side and basically looked like thick triangles on his head) so I haven’t revaccinated him after that.
Since dropping my dog off at a pet sitter was comparable in price to a dog kennel (about $30 a day), it was a good option for me.
what is rover.com
It is the largest dog sitting service now since they bought out their rival DogVacay earlier this year. It acts as a connection between pet sitters and pet owners through an online interface, who would otherwise not meet in real life, and is based on referral and reviews. Instead of word of mouth through friends, you can see word of mouth from other pet owners through the Rover.com app and website.
They do background checks, have 24/7 support, allow you to pay securely online, and has premium insurance (if the claims are over $250 with certain limitations).
When I looked up Rover.com reviews there were a lot of negative comments and horror stories, so of course I was cautious. I think if you do your due diligence though it should be fine. I signed up for Pawshake as well in the search for the perfect pet sitter but ended up booking through Rover.com.
Here’s what the map looks like when you are searching for a pet sitter (in Vancouver, where there are more dogs than children).
pros of rover.com
- Confidentiality– you get a special ‘Rover’ number that is anonymous to call the potential pet sitter (and they have their own ‘Rover’ number too)
- Support– online and through the telephone
- It gives you options from a multitude of potential pet sitters in your area
- There is insurance and liability protection
- After the pet sitting session is over, you can review the pet sitter
- You can filter the dog sitter, e.g. Lives in a house, has other dogs present or not etc.
- Lots of options for other services to choose from such as dog boarding, checks, walks etc.
cons of rover.com
- As mentioned, there seemed to be some negative reviews on the Internet about Rover.com with horror stories ranging from the pet went missing to the pet dying (!)
- They are just a ‘connector’ between pet owner and pet sitter and basically you should select a pet sitter that would suit your pet’s needs (just like how you would select an Airbnb) and look at their reviews
- There is a Rover.com service charge
- The pet sitters vary with their charges, I saw anywhere from $25 a day to $75 a day for dog boarding at the sitter’s home
- Hard to say how they screen potential pet sitters. The one I used didn’t have any previous Rover.com experience and said she just signed up.
My experience with rover.com
I actually had a great experience with Rover.com. Well, it went off to a rocky start at first. Rover.com recommends contacting a few potential pet sitters to meet them and review which one is best suited for your pet.
Well, I’m a one-pet sitter kind of gal (unlike with online dating where I went on two first dates in one day on a couple of occasions, but that’s another story), so I picked this one young woman who seemed like a good fit for my elderly, high maintenance dog (he needs to take pills for his eczema condition).
She was super nice, we met in person and my dog liked her. She agreed to pet sit, she was going away in a few days but would be back in time for when I needed her to pet sit. I went home and a week later tried to send her the ‘request’ and she didn’t accept it and let it expire. I ended up messaging her and asking her why she didn’t accept it. After about a WEEK of no response, she finally said she might be extending her trip abroad and might not come back, she recommended I find someone else.
Now we are about three weeks before my trip to find a sitter and I am in full panic mode. I message another person on Rover.com and we message back and forth. I ask to meet in person and then… no response.
Another day goes by and I am panicking again.
This feels a lot like ONLINE dating where you feel ghosted. In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, ghosted means you have contact with people and then… POOF… suddenly they disappear without saying why, without saying goodbye, without anything!
I was ghosted by pet sitters!!
After feeling sorry for myself for about a day, I contact someone else on Rover.com, schedule a meet up (which went well and she showed up(!)), sent a request (which she accepted).
In the midst of all this the second person finally replied and apologized for not replying earlier and said she was actually going to a work conference on the days I requested and hoped I would consider her for pet sitting in the future (uh, NO because I don’t like not being responded to in a timely manner, thankyouverymuch).
On the day of my flight, I dropped off my dog (which went uneventfully), and picked up my dog. She even sent me a video of my dog while I was away.
My dog had a good time at her place. It’s good to know I have a backup pet sitter in case my first ‘go to’ pet sitter is not available.
I would recommend Rover.com, but be prepared to use your own due diligence when selecting a pet sitter and I would highly recommend that you meet them in person before booking.
I can’t say anything about their dog walking services or checking services as I haven’t used Rover.com for that yet.
If you’re interested in signing up for Rover.com, feel free to use this referral link to save $20 off your first booking for a dog sitter or dog walker. I get $20 off my next potential dog sitter session too!
Readers, have you used Rover.com or another pet sitting app/website before? Or do you go the conventional dog boarding route?