Finding The Right Pet Care Provider For Your Dog

I stumbled across this article recently and wanted to share my thoughts.   Professional Pet Sitters and Dog Walkers vs Tech Companies

I have mixed feelings about this since I have used DogVacay & Rover myself however I also understand where the author is coming from.  It’s so easy to sign up to  provide pet care with one of these companies but are these Independent Contractors reliable? Professional? Trustworthy?

Drawing upon my own personal experience, I can tell you that my screening process as a pet care professional was minimal and it took very little effort on my part to create a profile. If you pay attention to the profiles, you’ll find quite a few full time pet care professionals that also have their own private business and use Rover, Wag,, etc….as an additional source for marketing themselves.  Then there are what many professionals often refer to as a “hobbyist.” Many of these folks care for pets as a side job for extra money and their primary job may or may not be in the animal care industry. As a hobbyist, they may not always be available to schedule visits due to their commitment to another job or school.  Depending on your pet care needs, a provider who is unavailable on certain days or hours due to work or school may not be the best one for you.  

If you decide to utilize services through pet sitting/walking brokers such as Rover, Wag or, make sure to read the sitters profile and their reviews carefully. As a pet owner, you need to understand that these companies simply put pet parents in touch with folks who are willing to provide pet care and each ones policies, services, rates and availability will be different.  It is entirely up to you to screen the sitters you’re considering and ask the right questions to help you determine if they can provide the kind of care for your pet that you expect. From my own experience, I will tell you that there are some very caring pet care providers to be found there but there are some rotten apples also.  Do your homework!

Another option is to search professional pet sitter or boarding options. These folks always have more invested in their role as a pet care provider than the kid down the street or a hobby sitter. Private pet care companies will have a business license with the state, carry premium insurance for your protection and theirs, attend Pet CPR & First Aid classes and strive to provide the excellent pet care and customer service that clients look for because the success of their business depends on it.  These companies may be comprised of a solo pet care provider who handles all administrative work, in addition to providing all pet care or the company may have a staff and duties are separated. Although I admit to being biased because I’m a professional pet care provider, my personal experience with other pro’s has always been exceptional versus the mixed bag of experiences I’ve had with those associated with the various pet care brokers like Wag, Rover or Care.

What Should a Pet Parent Look For?

Do an honest assessment of your pet to determine what will be best for them. Whether you choose a tradional kennel, an in home boarding set up or a sitter coming to your home, make sure it’s something your pet will be comfortable with.  Schedule a consultation and ask plenty of questions. Ask if they’re certified in Pet CPR & First Aid.  Do they carry their own insurance?  If your pet has certain health or behavioral issues, ask if they have experience in managing them and if not, are they willing to work with you?  Whatever arrangement you choose, make  sure that you understand their policies,  pricing, availability and how they normally communicate with Clients when they’re caring for their pets. 

What Does The Sitter or Boarding Facility Need To Know?

Folks, don’t surprise your pets caregiver. Make sure you tell your them about your pet’s routine, personality and if there have ever been issues with their health, aggression or anxiety.  Did your pet have surgery recently? Perhaps a recent injury that may flare up while you’re away. Is your pet afraid of thunderstorms,  men,  someone wearing a hat,  fireworks, etc…  Some things may seem inconsequential to you but it helps your pets caregiver to better understand how to safely manage their care if they know what will trigger anxiety or fear.  

If a sitter is coming to your home, make sure your sitter knows where everything is located, including pet accident cleaning supplies. Close off rooms to minimize the places where the sitter has to look for a shy pet or one that needs medication. Closing off rooms also will prevent an anxious pet from having an accident in those areas.  Mark your pets medications clearly and leave easy to understand instructions. Make sure your sitter has the name and number for your Veterinarian and Emergency Contact.  Keep in mind that although many sitters have similar policies, make sure you understand and accept the ones your sitter has in place.  Discuss your expectations, questions and concerns up front so everyone is on the same page.

Final Thoughts

There are plenty of avenues to put you in touch with pet care provider but the best ones have a few of common traits. Commitment, reliability and a big heart! 

The pet care providers I know quickly admit that they love what they do. Seeing those happy, furry faces each day is a pleasure which makes the long hours, weekends and holidays bearable.  Doing what we love  means that our family time is often put on hold to care for the animals we’ve come to love like our own. We worry when they’re are sick and cry a river when they cross over the Rainbow Bridge.  Our work is very personal and we can’t help but love the animals in our care.  When you finally find a pet care provider that you and your pets are really happy with, let them know how much you appreciate them. It will make their day!