Pet sitter vs kennel for your summer vacation

Rover, a new app for pet sitting, allows you to hire a pet sitter for around $40 a night.

Posted Updated

John Matarese
, Don't Waste Your Money consumer reporter

If you are going on vacation and you have a pet, it's a dilemma. Do you hire a pet sitter, or send your dog or cat to the kennel?

Some new apps make pet sitting as easy as hiring an Uber driver, but they come with a few risks.

Angela Davidson is a pet sitter based out of her Anderson Township, Ohio home. She's a top-rated sitter for Rover, a sort of Airbnb for pets, and one of the many gig economy jobs that have flourished in the past decade.

For around $40 a night, she watches dogs for families on vacation, while keeping an eye on their house, too.

"You just want somebody that cannot just house sit but pet sit also," she said. "And it also gives peace of mind that their house is being cared for the same time their pets are."

Rover (and competitor Wag) appeal to people like Cicely Knecht, who told us in our first report on this topic she did not want to leave their beloved pet in a strange place.

"Not for a weekend or anything while I'm away," she said.

With pet sitting, your dog or cat gets to stay in the comfort of their own home, so there's no worry about being in a strange place surrounded by other barking or crying animals.

But these services have downsides:

  • Pet sitting services have been sued for dogs dying under a watcher's care.
  • Some people complain of money and personal items disappearing from their home.

However, Rover offers a $1 million guarantee against property damage or injuries to people, and $25,000 in vet care in case your pet becomes ill or injured while in the care of a Rover dog sitter.

To protect yourself, the Better Business Bureau suggests you:

  • Meet personally with any pet sitter before hiring them.
  • Read the sitter's reviews carefully
  • Look for sitters who have passed Rover's "enhanced" background check, not just the basic one.

Rover says thousands of people have hired its sitters millions of times, and in most cases are completely happy.

And if you don't like the idea of a kennel, Davidson says this is a way for them to have some comfort of their home as opposed to going to a kennel "where there's lots of barking, and they don't understand what's going on."

A sitter can take the stress out of your vacation, for both you and your pet.

That way you don't waste your money.

Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of Scripps Media, Inc. For more consumer news and money saving advice, go to

John Matarese started Don’t Waste Your Money in 1999 to give consumers the facts and information needed to make the best buying decisions for their families. Over the past 20 years, Don't Waste Your Money has helped millions of consumers by providing in depth research and product information.


John Matarese, Reporter
Robbie Vaglio, Web Editor

Copyright 2023 by Capitol Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.