Pets are just wonderful. I can't imagine life without my parrot, my tortoise, and my (well, technically "our") family dachshund. So when it comes to making arrangements for their care, I often find myself feeling stressed out. It's not just the money (although that can become its own source of anxiety—pet services are not cheap!), but mostly I just worry because I want the people who care for my pets to treat them like royalty! Here’s a new service called Rover that allows pet owners like me to talk with and even meet pet sitters and caregivers, read reviews from other pet owners, and even redeem a $25 free coupon for the first scheduled service!

Average nationwide pet boarding costs 

If you’re researching pet boarding, it’s easy to get confused by terms. For instance, what’s the difference between a "kennel," a "pet sitter," and a "pet hotel?" The answer basically boils down to price. In a "people hotel" equivalent, you can think of a kennel like a budget motel or hotel. A pet sitter is like a privately owned bed and breakfast. And a pet hotel is like a luxury spa and resort hotel. Here’s some pricing to give you a sense of what boarding costs at each type of establishment. These prices reflect just the cost of the stay—not the cost of extra add-on services (such as extra feedings or treats, extra play time, grooming, bathing, type and size of accommodations, et al).

  • Pet kennel: $20-$25 per day
  • Pet sitter: $10-$50 per day
  • Pet hotel: $35-$90 per day

Note: It can also be helpful for budgeting to remember that boarding prices can vary seasonally and by geographic location.

1. What is Rover.com?

Rover.com is an online resource connecting dog owners with qualified pet sitters. You can either use the online site or the new app…or both!

2. Are there any sign-up perks?

Right now Rover.com is offering new users a $25 coupon absolutely free—just for signing up.

Note: Depending on which Rover sitter you select, this coupon may cover two nights, one night, or one half of one night's stay. 

3. How do I search for pet sitters?

You don't even have to sign up for Rover.com to use it to search for pet sitters in your area (but you don't get the $25 free coupon unless you sign up—which is also free). Once you perform a search, all the pet sitters in your area will come up. You can then view all of the following:

  • The sitter's stay rate per night (typical rates will vary from $15 – $45+ and all sitters set their own fees).
  • Read reviews from past clients.
  • Learn more about the pet sitter's home setup for boarding.
  • Learn about the types of animals the sitter already has in order to determine if it will be a good fit with your pet(s).
  • Learn about the types of animals the sitter will look after (some only take dogs, while others will take cats and/or exotics as well).
  • View photos the sitter has taken of past pet stays.
  • View optional extra services you can choose.

4. Are there any extra fees involved?

Just like kennels and pet hotels, some sitters will offer extra services for an extra fee. Each Rover.com sitter can offer extra services if they choose, and set their own rates for those services. For instance, if you want the sitter to stay in your home, you can see if the sitter offers that service (not all sitters do). You can also see if bathing, grooming, teeth cleaning, training and other services are offered by a particular sitter, and how much the sitter charges for each.

5. What about background checks and insurance—can I trust these sitters?

Rover offers 24/7 phone and email customer service. Also, all sitters are covered by Rover's premium pet insurance. Sitters are also offered the option to complete a background check with Rover. If you want to book a sitter who has not completed a background check, you can request it.

6. Participate in "Sit a Dog, Save a Life"

If you enjoy patronizing companies that contribute to animal welfare, you may be interested in Rover's new program called "Sit a Dog, Save a Life." There are several ways to participate:

  • Dog owners: Every time you book a dog sitter that displays the "Sit a Dog, Save a Life" badge, Rover.com makes a donation to that sitter's designated animal charity.
  • Dog sitters: By displaying the badge and setting your donation percentage, Rover.com will donate for you every time you are booked through the website.
  • Learn more: https://www.rover.com/sit-a-dog-save-a-life/