Have you ever planned a vacation and worried about how to find the best care for your cat? How many times have you gotten stuck in a last-minute meeting at work and worried about your dog needing a walk? All pet owners have been in a situation where they couldn’t be home and needed to know their fur baby would be OK. For many pet parents, using a website like Rover or Wag is the perfect solution. Sometimes referred to as Uber for your pets, these websites and their mobile apps make it easy to find a trusted dog walker or pet sitter on demand in your area.
Just like all of the other digital tools that make our lives easier, these apps deliver the ultimate convenience for pet parents. They offer a variety of services, and some even allow you to arrange help on short notice. The only problem is deciding which one to use. Rover and Wag have many similarities, but there are a few key differences that may impact which one is right for you.
How it Works
The basic idea behind how these services work is pretty much the same with both Rover and Wag. You can use the website or mobile app to find a dog walker or sitter in your local area who is available when you need them. You also provide a little information about your pet to help you find the right match. Both of these companies have security measures in place, and they send you updates while you’re away, including pictures of your pooch or feline while they’re in a sitter’s care.
Rover was created in 2011 after co-founder Greg Gottesman had a bad experience leaving his dog at a high-end boarding kennel. The idea to provide on-demand dog sitting services came out of that experience as an alternative to kennels. Since that time, the company has grown tremendously, and they now provide services in over 14,000 cities and boast 95% five-star reviews.
A few years ago, Rover merged with DogVacay. One benefit of this merger is that it has expanded Rover’s network, which means more potential sitters for pet parents to choose from. Rover promises to have 65,000 walkers in all 50 states.
Wag has been around since 2015, so it’s a relative newcomer to the on-demand pet care scene. Wag has grown quickly, and now provides services in 43 states and 110 cities. For some pet parents, this may mean that fewer providers are available where you live, but this usually isn’t a problem if you live in an urban area. While Wag is a smaller company, they have set themselves apart by offering a personalized experience, including detailed reports of your pooch’s time with a sitter or walker.
- Rover – Rover’s services include dog boarding (your dog stays at the sitter’s home), pet or house sitting (a sitter comes to your home), drop-in visits, doggy day care (in the sitter’s home), and dog walking.
- Wag – Wag’s services include Wag! Walks, dog boarding, and dog sitting. Wag will also be adding doggy day care service soon.
- Both sites give you the option to choose a one-time walk or a recurring walk. Wag also offers ASAP walks where someone is available within an hour, and many times, within 30 minutes or less. This is a great option for pet parents who have something come up at the last minute.
Choosing Your Caregiver
- Rover – After selecting the type of care you need, your timeframe, and your pet’s size, you can search instantly for available caregivers. A map is displayed along with a list of caregivers, including their name, photo, rates, reviews, and whether they have repeat clients. You can also choose additional criteria to narrow your search. At this point, you will need to create a Rover account before contacting a potential caregiver.
- Wag – Wag asks you to create an account before starting your search. After creating an account, you’re prompted to answer some specific questions about your dog, including breed, age, and your location. Some users like that Wag asks detailed questions about your dog, and this is one way they make sure their service is personalized. Just like Rover, Wag provides a list of available walkers/sitters and their information, including ratings and reviews.
- The way you actually select a caregiver is one of the biggest differences between the two, because Wag does not guarantee the walker of your choice. Some users like Rover for that reason, because they prefer to make that individual choice. However, if you use Wag for recurring walks, they ensure that you have the same walker each time.
- Both websites give you the option to set up an in-person meeting with a walker or sitter before your service. Some users have reported having a better experience with communication using Rover compared to Wag.
Knowing Your Pooch Is Safe and Secure
- Rover – Rover requires all sitters to pass background checks, and Rover also conducts their own further inspections before someone is accepted as a sitter. According to Rover, less than 20% of applicants are accepted, which suggests they have strict standards for who can become a walker or sitter.
- Wag – Wag requires background checks on all applicants, and conducts further screening that includes testing an applicant’s skills and interactions with dogs. Wag also ensures extra security for pet parents by providing them with a lockbox for storing keys.
Interaction and Feedback
- Rover and Wag both provide feedback to customers, including pictures, updates on feedings, potty reports, and GPS tracking.
- Both companies provide 24/7 customer service.
- Both companies have apps that are user-friendly and that allow you to schedule and pay for services directly from the app.
Important Considerations for Pet Parents
- Are you looking to do business with a company that gives back to the community? You can help dogs in need when you choose Wag — for every walk provided, Wag donates a dog food meal to a shelter or rescue pet through the charity Rescue Bank.
- Anytime you use a website to find a care provider, the most important thing is to use your own best judgment. Even with the thorough vetting that is conducted by both Rover and Wag, you should always take the extra steps necessary to ensure your dog’s safety. Look for providers who have recurring clients and positive reviews, and always meet with a new provider in person before using their services.
Along with doing your own due diligence before choosing a dog walker or sitter, one of the most important things to keep in mind is service area. Before starting, you can do a simple search of your area on either site to get an idea of how many sitters they have available.
Despite a few differences, most pet parents who have used Rover and Wag are happy with their choice. As these companies grow, more and more pet owners are discovering just how easy it is to find quality, reliable care at their fingertips. This is great news for you and your pup, because it gives you peace of mind — all while your dog enjoys time walking and playing with their new human friend.