Rover Dog Sitting: One Year Later – A Comprehensive Review and 10 Key Learnings

Walking the sweet Anabell on the Riverwalk
Image Credit: FurBallFun.

Over the past year, my wife and I went on a unique journey as dog sitters through the Rover platform. We had the opportunity to care for furry friends all over the country, gaining invaluable insights into the world of Rover dog sitting. 

In this article, we aim to provide an honest review of the Rover experience, shed light on what it’s truly like being a dog sitter, and share the top 10 lessons we’ve learned throughout our adventurous year.

Rover: A Gateway to Pet Care Opportunities

Bella was the sweetest dog.
Image Credit: FurBallFun.

Rover has become a household name for pet owners seeking reliable and personalized care for their four-legged companions. It’s not just a platform for finding the perfect pet sitter or dog walker; it’s also a fantastic opportunity for those wishing to embark on a fulfilling journey in pet care. 

Some may consider Rover a full-time gig, while others look to pick up some extra income as a side hustle.  Becoming a pet sitter or dog walker on Rover offers the opportunity for both and the chance to turn your love for animals into a rewarding venture. To learn more about signing up and getting started, check out this guide on building a pet-sitting side hustle. 

Before you join the community of pet sitters, ensure you’re clear on what makes this gig a job and not just a fleeting endeavor. It’s not just about caring for pets; it’s about creating a lasting impact on the lives of both pets and their owners.

An Honest Review of Being a Rover Dog Sitter

Watching dogs down in Florida.
Image Credit: FurBallFun.

Our experience with the platform has been primarily positive, with its user-friendly interface making it easy to connect with pet parents and offer our services. That said, only some things have been perfect, and we certainly have had some challenges to overcome. 

The flexibility offered by Rover is a significant advantage. The platform allows us to set our schedule and adjust our location. We also can configure the price we charge per service. Once we established ourselves and had positive reviews on our profile, going for more than a week without opportunities was rare. 

One unexpected positive has been the ability to pet sit in multiple states, allowing us to travel while getting paid. A few other advantages have been immersing ourselves in different communities and having the companionship of a diverse range of pets. These unique experiences have helped us decide what we want in our future homestead and growing furry family.

However, it’s essential to acknowledge some challenges we’ve encountered. The variability in pet owners’ expectations and communication styles can occasionally lead to misunderstandings. Additionally, scheduling conflicts and last-minute changes can pose logistical challenges. While Rover provides a helpful framework, navigating these aspects requires adaptability and clear communication to ensure a positive experience for pet sitters and owners. 

Further, while in place, the transparent review system on Rover exhibits a slight bias toward the owner’s perspective rather than the sitter’s. It’s essential to recognize that not all furry companions are uniformly well-mannered, challenging the expectation of perfection owners may have about their pets

Additionally, differing standards of cleanliness among pet owners occasionally lead to situations where our comfort levels did not align. Though infrequent, there have been instances where taking a sitting opportunity has left us with some regret. 

Enhancements to the review system could create a more balanced portrayal, acknowledging the unique dynamics of each pet-sitter relationship.

Exploring Rover: A Closer Look at Pros and Cons

Watching Ginger the Black Lab.
Image Credit: FurBallFun.

Reflecting on our year-long journey as Rover dog sitters, we break down the pros and cons of the platform – from its commendable trustworthiness and user-friendly interface to considerations like platform fees and reliability issues. 

Pros of Rover:

  • Trustworthiness and Safety: Rover conducts thorough background checks on sitters, providing pet owners with a sense of security when choosing a caregiver for their pets. The platform’s commitment to safety extends to insurance coverage, ensuring that sitters have protection in emergencies. 
  • User-Friendly Platform: Rover’s interface is intuitive and user-friendly, making it easy for both sitters and pet owners to navigate and use the platform efficiently.
  • Diverse Range of Services: Rover offers various services, including dog boarding, house sitting, doggy daycare, and dog walking, catering to the diverse needs of pet owners and sitters.
  • Community and Reviews: The review system on Rover allows pet owners to share their experiences, fostering transparency and helping both sitters and clients make informed decisions. The sense of community among Rover users provides a supportive network for pet lovers.
  • Emergency Support: In unexpected situations, Rover provides emergency support to both sitters and pet owners, showcasing a commitment to all parties’ well-being.

Cons of Rover:

  • Platform Fees: One of the notable drawbacks of Rover is the platform’s commission, which cuts into the profits earned by sitters. This aspect may be a consideration for those comparing Rover to other pet-sitting platforms.
  • Comparison to Other Platforms: Compared to alternative platforms like Trusted Housesitters, Rover’s profit-sharing model may be less favorable to sitters. Some individuals may find better financial incentives on other platforms.
  • Reliability Challenges: The reliability of the Rover app can be a point of contention. Users have reported occasional confusion within the app, leading to the need for customer support assistance. The resolution process, often reliant on email correspondence, may be less efficient than desired.
  • Limited Control Over Pricing: Sitters on Rover have limited control over setting prices as the platform establishes standard rates. This lack of flexibility might disadvantage sitters seeking more autonomy in determining their service fees.
  • Communication Hurdles: Some users have needed help with communication on the platform, particularly when attempting to resolve issues. A more streamlined and efficient support system could enhance the overall user experience.

What It’s Like Being a Rover Dog Sitter

Being a Rover dog sitter is more than just a side gig – a lifestyle that revolves around love and care for animals. The joy of waking up to a wagging tail, the responsibility of ensuring each pet feels at home, and the satisfaction of knowing you’ve positively impacted a furry friend’s life is unparalleled.

In our exploration of the dog-sitting world, we’ve encountered various breeds with unique personalities and needs. Being a Rover dog sitter has taught us the art of adaptability and the importance of tailoring our care to each pet, from energetic pups to senior dogs requiring special attention.

More Than Pets 

​​Pet sitting jobs require a love for animals and a sense of responsibility. We often provide “specialized” services, including watering plants, taking out trash, receiving mail, and other house care-associated duties. 

For our working clients, midday visits caring for puppies and administering medication are standard requests. Meanwhile, helping move furniture or get something off a higher-up shelf isn’t unusual for our retired clients. 

We also understand the importance of socialization, including outings to dog parks, and even offer special care for rescue dogs with separation anxiety.

From watering plants to scooping litter boxes, the best pet sitters take care of every detail. Allowing the clients to focus on their day and not worry about the homestead.

10 Things We Learned From Rover Dog Sitting All Year

While each dog-sitting experience is inherently unique, universal lessons emerged over time, offering us invaluable insights into the art of caring for our furry friends.

Communication is Key: Clear and consistent communication with pet owners builds trust and ensures a smooth experience for everyone involved.

Pro Tip: Take pictures. We constantly send photos of activities and even cuddle time to the owners. We also take pictures of the place when we arrive and leave, ensuring both parties that things are as they should be.

Understanding Pet Behavior: Every pet is different, and being attuned to their behavior helps create a comfortable environment.

Pro Tip: Pets are creatures of habit. While the owners typically leave us a detailed writeup of care instructions, it’s important to spend the first day or so observing the pet’s idiosyncrasies. 

Preparedness is Essential: Anticipating the pets’ needs in our care and having a well-equipped pet-sitting kit is crucial for a successful experience. Over time, you will build out your kit and can tailor it for your next sitting service as needed, but below are a few things we suggest. Keep in mind the pet owners are responsible for providing the essentials. These are just items that have come in handy:

  • Extra pet supplies (portable food bowls, treats approved by owner)
  • Pet first aid kit
  • Cleaning supplies (pet-safe cleaning supplies)
  • Comfort items (bedding for you, not the pet)
  • Food for you (we usually pack a cooler)
  • Bathroom items you may need (travel tubes work well)
  • Entertainment items and chargers
  • Contact info for you
  • Emergency preparedness supplies (contact info for local vets)
  • Weather-preparedness items (rain gear, sunscreen)

Flexibility Matters: Unexpected situations may arise, and flexibility allows us to handle challenges gracefully and professionally. Being a two-person team has been helpful at times. Try to have someone nearby, a family member or friend, you can call on if needed. 

Building a Positive Reputation: Positive reviews and a strong online presence contribute to attracting more clients and creating a trustworthy image. Just remember that your integrity and reputation are for you to determine. One bad review doesn’t mean you are a lousy pet sitter. People have different standards and can irrationally take their “bad day” out on you.

Creating a Safe Space: Ensuring a safe and secure environment is paramount for the dogs entrusted to our care.

Pro Tip: Feel empowered to decline a pet-sitting job after a meet and greet if it doesn’t align with your expectations. Prioritize your comfort and safety; trust your instincts. Rover allows you to accept or decline opportunities post-meetup, ensuring flexibility without awkwardness. Politely decline if something feels off, thank them, and gracefully move on. Your well-being is paramount.

Embracing the Unpredictable: Dogs can be unpredictable, and embracing the unexpected is part of the dog-sitting adventure.

Balancing Play and Rest: Understanding the right balance between playtime and rest contributes to a happy and healthy dog experience.

Pro Tip: Like children, playtime should wind down hours before bedtime. This will improve the ability of a rambunctious pet to calm down and get a good night’s rest. 

Continuous Learning: Staying informed about new pet care practices and being open to learning from each experience enhances our abilities as dog sitters.

The Rewards of Rover Dog Sitting: The joy and fulfillment gained from building connections with pets and their owners are immeasurable, making Rover dog sitting a truly rewarding experience.

Reflecting on Our Rover Dog Sitting Experience

Our journey as Rover dog sitters made it clear that the experience has been transformative. From the practical aspects of pet care to the emotional connections formed with the animals and their owners, Rover has given us a unique perspective on the world of pet sitting.

As we celebrate our one-year milestone with Rover, we’re excited to share our insights and encourage others to embark on their own dog-sitting adventures. 

Rover Dog Sitting: More Than Just a Job

The best pet care services understand the unique needs of all animals and their owners, ensuring that your dogs and cats receive the best care possible.

Rover dog sitting has not only allowed us to provide exceptional care for dogs but has also enriched our lives in ways we never imagined. 

Whether you’re a seasoned pet sitter or considering joining the Rover community, the lessons we’ve learned and the experiences we’ve gained are sure to inspire and guide you on your own journey with man’s best friend.

This article originally appeared on Wealth of Geeks.

Corey Turner
Corey Turner, owner of FurBallFun.com, draws on a lifelong love for dogs and extensive pet ownership to offer a unique perspective in the pet industry. With a successful background in project management, he excels in critical analysis, precise attention to detail, and quality assurance. This expertise allows him to effectively differentiate true value from marketing hype in the pet sector. Corey’s contributions have been featured in various publications including Rockery Press Guide Books and WealthofGeeks.com. During his free time, he enjoys disc golfing, rock climbing, and bonding with his cherished FurBall friend, Harvey.