Even homebodies need to travel out of town on occasion, but when you have pets, this can be stressful. After all, who is as qualified to care for your pet as you are?
Just trying to figure out your pet’s needs while you’re gone can be a little overwhelming, but technology can help. Whether you’re looking for a pet sitter or a dog walker — or just want to keep an eye on things while you’re away – there’s an app for all that.
After doing some digging, I’ve found a few apps that may just have the answers you’re looking for.
Rover is a website with an accompanying app, so if you prefer to do your research on your computer, you have that option. In fact, I recommend it — the app itself tends to be somewhat buggy, with reviewers stating that “notifications won’t go away.” However, this company puts people in contact with pet sitters, dog walkers, doggie daycares and house sitters.
For pet sitters who don’t like handling finances or business aspects of their job, this app will do that for you by handling the payment details with the clients. The app is also a way to find clients and do some networking via your profile. The downside is that you pay Rover 20% of all your earnings.
The Rover app keeps track of your pet sitter’s walks with your dog, and your sitter has the option of logging right in the app when and where your pet has toileted. Whether you’re a sitter or a pet’s favorite human, you will pay fees — so be prepared for that.
Wag! is owned by mega-corporation Amazon. In fact, if you do a Google search, it will take you to a special Wag page on its website where you can shop for products.
But the app is all about finding a dog walker. This can be a lifesaver for when unexpected emergencies pop up or late workdays drag on — and you need someone to walk your dog. You have the option of getting a walker ASAP or scheduling a walk — whichever fits your need at the time.
Wag! also GPS-tracks your pets and walkers while walking, offers photo report cards and allows the walker to log toilet activities. People can leave notes or instructions for their walkers right in the app.
A downside to this is, as one reviewer says, is that “Wag is like Uber for your dogs … the person is random … and if you’re lucky it’s the same person. [I don’t know] about you, but I would rather have a person that I know and trust care for my puppies.” Your dog walker will be whoever is available at the time you specify and is unlikely to be the same person every time. This can present problems with dogs who have anxiety issues, territory aggression or difficulty dealing with strangers.
Pet Monitor: Dog and Puppy Training Camera
Sometimes you just have to see what’s going on at home for yourself. That’s where Pet Monitor comes in.
This app allows you to use 2 Apple iOS devices with a camera and a monitoring system. One device stays in your home to act as the camera, and the other you carry with you. Pet Monitor provides noise and motion alerts and also allows you to snap pictures and speak to your pets. If you already have 2 devices, this is an incredibly inexpensive way to get yourself a pet monitoring system.
The obvious downside to this app is that you need 2 Apple devices to make it work. Not everyone happens to have an extra device lying around, given how expensive they are. It also does not work with Samsung, Google or other devices.
Fetch My Pet
This app is handy for dog and cat humans alike. It’s a free app that stores your pets’ information, keeps notes, helps locate local pet-related places — think veterinarians, dog parks and shops — alerts you to deals at various local pet shops and, best of all, includes a feature that allows you to alert other users that your pet has gone missing.
This app is relatively new, having just been released in July 2017. There are few reviews to peruse, but so far the biggest complaint is that this app does not include the breed “teacup morkie.” You may discover bugs or issues that haven’t been reported yet, but the upside is that it’s free so you won’t be wasting any money.
One of the major downsides as a new app is that the network is unlikely to be large enough to provide local saturation for your missing pets. You’d want to continue to alert others via social media, dog amber alert and more.
Here’s another type of pet monitoring system:
Lastly, let’s take a look at one of the “heavies” in the sitter world, Care.com. Care.com is a large website and app dedicated to joining those seeking child care, cleaning and pet sitting jobs with clients who are looking for same.
As a large and well-developed company, Care.com has the power and the network to ensure relative success when you’re looking for a local pet sitter. You can pay sitters, schedule appointments and respond to applicants all via the app, making this a very convenient 1-stop shop.
However, Care.com does have some problems. For those who use it to find jobs, you will discover — to your dismay — that there are fees involved. For example, you may pay for a membership and then discover you need to pay more money to actually apply for jobs and get responses from potential clients. Those searching for sitters will encounter the same problems. Other reviewers complain about scammers, phone numbers being blocked and slow updates.
If you have the money to spend and the time to weed through the applicants, Care.com is an excellent option for convenience. Otherwise, steer clear.
There are a ton of apps out there designed to help people integrate their busy lifestyles with their pets’ needs, even when we have to go away. Do you have an app you’ve used while you’re away from home? Tell us about it in the comments section below!