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. 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.
To protect yourself,
the Better Business Bureau suggests
- 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. ("Scripps").
Follow John on Twitter (@JohnMatarese)
For more consumer news and money saving advice, go to