What Is Rover.com?

By Derek Lakin
HighYa Staff
Published on: Aug 16, 2017

As the nation’s largest network of its kind, Rover.com is an award-winning technology business that promises to help match you and your four-legged friends with more than 85,000 pet sitters and dog walkers in over 10,000 cities. Specifically, the site provides easy access to services like:

  • Dog boarding, where your dog stays overnight in the sitter’s home
  • House sitting, where the sitter stays overnight at your home
  • 30-minute dog walks
  • Doggy day care, where your dog only stays at the sitter’s house during the day
  • Drop-in visits that allow sitters to check in on your pet during the day

To use the site, you’ll need to choose a service, browse different profiles, and then connect with any professionals you’re interested in. Then, you can book the appointment and pay securely.

There’s no doubt that you love your dog. But will Rover.com help you live your life easier than the competition? Are there any important considerations to keep in mind? Let’s start off with how you’ll use the site and app.

How Does Rover.com Work?

We found Rover.com extremely easy to use. We just entered a zip code, chose the service we needed, indicated the start and end dates, and selected dog size (small: 0-15 lbs, medium: 16-40 lbs, large: 41-100 lbs, giant: 100+ lbs).

From there, we were shown a list of potential matches, along with their name, general location, price, star rating, and recent reviews (if any available). To the right of these results, there was also a map indicating each person’s location.

From there, we could further filter these results by the rate per night, sitter information (e.g. whether or not they own a dog, have children, have a house, hold a dog first-aid certification, etc.), and other services like puppy care and bathing and grooming.

Rover.com Results ScreenRover.com allows users to quickly search for dog care professionals within 10,000+ cities and filter results based on important criteria. Image credit: Rover.com

Clicking on any listed profiles will display the professional’s reviews, prices for other services they offer (if available), response rate and time, preferences, availability, and the ability to contact them.

There were dozens of sitters listed when we searched and across all kinds of price ranges, so it seemed to provide a meaningful array of options.

Taking a Closer Look at Rover’s App

It appears that Rover’s iOS and Android apps are largely an extension of the website’s dashboard, so you’ll be able to book and track services, list your dogs, and view your available balance. You’ll also be able to communicate with and receive updates from your sitters, including receiving service report cards, which are accompanied by maps and photos.

As a service provider, you’ll also be able to provide your customers with the duration and distance of your walks, any pee, poo, food, and water breaks, as well as any additional notes.

Rover App Screen ShotThe Rover app allows service providers to send report cards to clients, including distances and maps, notes, and pictures. Image credit: Apple Corporation

What About Safety and Insurance When Using Rover.com?

As a dog lover myself, one of my first questions when researching Rover was, “How will my buddy be protected?” Furthermore, since they’ll also likely be in my home, “How are service providers screened? Is any insurance provided?”

Rover Service Provider Screening

According to the Rover website, sitters are required to complete an in-depth profile, “including details about their pet care experience, upload photos, request testimonials, and pass safety quizzes and a background check.” Based on this alone, we’re told that less than 20 percent of people who start a profile are approved.

Furthermore, all new sitters and dog are subjected to a background check, which will be displayed as a badge on their profile. Here, you’ll also find photos of their home, pets, and past stays, as well as reviews from past clients.

Even before booking, you can schedule a meet and greet through the website, where you can have a face-to-face meeting and ask questions about important topics to you. This service is completely free and does not obligate you in any way.

Pet Insurance and Other Services Provided by Rover.com

All services booked through Rover are automatically covered by pet owners insurance, which is valid “for injuries to the pet owner's pet(s) in the sitter or dog walker's care, custody, and control.”

Coverage is also available for “injuries to the sitter or dog walker's resident pet(s) as a direct result of contact with the pet owner's pet,” as well as general liability for “bodily injury to a person other than the sitter, dog walker, pet owner.”

Despite this coverage, the Rover website emphasizes that there are several exceptions (e.g. damage to the sitter or dog walker's personal property, damage made or medical care required as a result of meet and greet, etc.).

Furthermore, this coverage is considered secondary, which means it likely won’t kick in until other insurance (such as liability available under a homeowner’s or renter’s policy) is exhausted. Or, if underlying coverage is non-existent.

In addition to insurance, Rover’s sitters and dog walkers have access to veterinarians and other pet care professional if a health or medical issue arises, along with a dedicated Trust & Safety team who’s available 24/7.

How Much Do Rover’s Services Cost?

As a client, the exact price you pay will depend on the service you need, as well as the specific prices of your chosen provider. During our research, prices ranged anywhere from under $20 to well over $80.

However, clients can book and pay directly on the site or through the app, where all credit card information is encrypted and never shared. This way, you won't have to worry about tips, writing checks, or having cash on hand.

Each sitter will classify their cancellation policy as strict, moderate, or flexible. Depending on this, your refund—if any—will be applied to your account within one to three days should you need to cancel. The company also offers a Rover Reservation Guarantee, which means if your provider cancels at the last minute, they’ll work to find you a new one.

As a service provider, the company claims you could earn $1,000 per month, with payments that are automatically applied to your account. Rover will take 25 percent of your earnings as a fee.

What Are Rover Clients Saying in Their Reviews?

We found a whole lot of online customer feedback for Rover at the time of our research. For example, on TrustPilot, the company had more than 3,300 individual reviews and an average rating of 9.6 stars (excellent).

There, most compliments appeared to revolve around ease of use, as well as the quality of the service providers and the peace of mind they provide. Complaints (what few there were) frequently referenced poor service and dog injuries.

Among more than 6,000 combined reviews across iTunes and Google Play, the Rover app had a similar average rating of about 4.5 stars, with many of the same compliments found on TrustPilot. Many older complaints (again, of the few listed) referenced functionality concerns, which admittedly could have been addressed in more recent updates.

From a company perspective, Rover had an A+ Better Business Bureau rating, based on 38 reviews (92 percent of which were negative) and 33 closed complaints as of 8/9/17. These ranged from customer service and provider issues, to injuries and refund problems.

Who Founded Rover?

Based out of Seattle, WA, Rover was founded in 2011 by CEO Aaron Easterly, board member Greg Gottesman, and Director of Software Development Philip Kimmey.

Previously, Aaron graduated from Harvard and worked as a General Manager for Microsoft, and Philip was a Technology and Public Policy intern at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC.

Currently, Greg also works as Managing Director for Pioneer Square Labs and as a Venture Partner with Madrona Venture Group.

Most recently, the company reported a $65 million round of funding led by Spark Capital.

Our Interview with Rover

We had the opportunity to email several questions over to Rover’s Community Manager. Here’s what we learned from their response:

What kinds of background checks are run on new sitters and walkers?

Furthermore, what kinds of information might disqualify an applicant? After initial hiring, are service providers’ backgrounds re-screened at any point?

Although few specifics were provided, they told us that all “background checks are completed via Checkr and include the national criminal database, sex offender registries, and global watch lists."

Compared to the competition, what are the top three factors that differentiate Rover?

In a nutshell, they told us Rover’s main difference is that it “connects pet parents with dog people in their neighborhood.”

Anyone looking for a pet care provider can easily find, message, and book through the company’s straightforward website and app, and the sheer number of sitters available means it’s “easy to book pet care you can trust, no matter where you go.”

They also emphasized that every service provided by Rover is backed by premium insurance, 24/7 support, and the company’s reservation guarantee.

What’s the biggest challenge that Rover currently faces?

The manager let us know that the company’s biggest hurdle—and their biggest opportunity—is to increase awareness that solutions like Rover exist.

“Generally, dog owners only use a commercial solution 10 percent of the time when they travel,” they noted. “The majority relies on friends, family, and neighbors. However, that is changing, since our data shows 65 percent of users are people who, prior to Rover, would not have used a commercial service to watch their pet.”

What updates/additions does Rover have in store for the future?

While they didn’t note anything specific, the manager emphasized that Rover has “a number of things in development, and we plan to grow our suite of offerings that make it easier than ever to be a pet parent.”

Rover vs. Other Dog Sitting and Walking Services

While Rover claims—and certainly seems to be, based on our research—the “largest network of 5-star pet sitters and dog walkers,” there were several national search engines competing for the same customers. These included:

WagWalking

Perhaps the service most similar to Rover, they also offer site access, iOS and Android apps, and the ability to search for walkers and sitters and filter results. Users can schedule meet and greets if they need recurring walks, track walks via GPS, receive reports (including pictures) after each one, and book overnight stays.

WagWalking is insured and bonded, although it doesn’t appear they perform background checks on their providers like Rover. However, they do claim to “thoroughly vet and test all our walkers on dog-handling experience.”

Based on a cursory review, though, they don’t appear to be as extensive as Rover.

Care.com

Another extensive site that allows users to search by location, browse profiles, view rates, learn about a provider's years of experience, as well as their qualifications. Most ranged between $10 and $15 per hour at the time of our research.

DogWalker.com

While searchable, this site only relates to dog walkers (no sitters, day checks, etc.). Furthermore, they seemed to be more of an advertising service, since providers were required to pay to list their services.

How to choose the right option for you? Writing for CesearsWay.com, Josh Weiss-Roessler indicates that, when searching for a dog walker, sitter, or other professional, you’ll want to:

  • Ask for recommendations and read online reviews
  • Meet with potential candidates, including with your dog
  • Ask logistical questions, such as where your dog will be walked, how long they’ll be, if they can accommodate special needs or requests, and so forth
  • The provider’s training and background experience
  • Finally, go for a test walk

Our Final Thoughts About Rover

Given these criteria, it seems like several of the competitors we mentioned in the previous section could fit the bill, although services that allow you to read reviews and detailed profiles, such as Rover, WagWalking, and Care.com, might make the process easier.

And the fact that many professionals are screened and/or tested prior to being employed can be a bonus.

But if you’re looking for the widest number of professionals across most aspects of dog care while you’re away, it might be difficult to beat Rover. We found their site easy to use and their service completely free, so you won’t have much more to lose than a few minutes of your time by giving them a try.

In addition, based on our experience, their willingness to answer questions and openness indicates they place a solid emphasis on creating informed customers.


Read 68 Rover.com Customer Reviews and Complaints

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Average Customer Rating: 1.3
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 4 4 star: 1 3 star: 0 2 star: 3 1 star:  60
Bottom Line: 7% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 68
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  • Buyer beware

    • Richmond, VA,
    • Nov 9, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I paid for the sitter to remain at my home. We have security cameras all around the perimeter of the house (the sitter was apprised of this) and they documented the absence of the sitter on the first night. When she failed to walk the dogs, keeping one locked up in a small room for 14 hours, we fired her. Rover claimed that the sitter was an independent contractor and that they could not refund all of our money even though there was a clear breach of our agreement with them. After numerous email interactions, as a "one-time customer service gesture," the company agreed to refund my money. Refunding my money for services not provided, neglect of my dogs bordering on abuse was a "one-time customer service gesture?" I will not be using this service again and advise potential customers to consider how they responded to this situation: Is this a company with which you want to entrust your pets?

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • Never trust them or their guarantee

    • Redwood City, CA,
    • Nov 7, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Rover.com should never be trusted. The promises "local, loving pet care" and what I got was the opposite. My dog was so badly neglected that it’s criminal animal abuse. I needed to board my dog for 28 days and when I got my 9-pound dog back he had lost 16% of his body weight. He was dehydrated and in deplorable condition. I rushed him to the vet who was horrified by his condition.

    I filed a complaint with Rover as they have a guarantee to cover vet bills. Followed all of their long list of requirements to get some of the $900 in vet bills paid back and in the end they came up with a BS reason that they won’t explain. That I’d have to file an appeal and blocked my emails to the person handling my claim. I have a statement from my vet stating the facts of the condition my dog was in on the day after I got him back. I have videos showing he was skin and bones and very weak, covered in fleas.

    Please spread the word and don’t ever use Rover.com or trust their guarantee.

    I have the evidence and I don’t mind sharing it.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • Been trying to register but site not working?

    • Des Moines, IA,
    • Oct 26, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Been trying to register but the site does not seem to be working. I could not reach a real person so I started to do some research online and was shocked to read about so many people who are having so many issues with this company. Thanks but no thanks.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • Do NOT work for Rover

    • Canada,
    • Oct 14, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I will never recommend anyone to work for Rover. A customer complained a dog was sick in my care and that was far from the truth. I am owed 6 doggie daycare days. They won't pay me because there isn't any proof but I have an email saying those days have been booked. I worked them. I have pictures. They closed my account and told me I am banned from being a sitter. If I did something wrong - especially when you work for a company for over 3 years, you get a warning before you get fired. When you choose strict policies about cancellations - it's BS you don't get paid a percent like it claims. You lose money. As a sitter, if you're watching a dog - you shouldn't lose money if your dog is out of control, or if dog is argusive. I only watch one dog at a time or one family at a time. So if you book time and dog has to leave early because of behavioral issues, why should I lose out on income. I also had to pay PayPal fees to receive my money. So they were taking 25% plus I was paying PayPal their fees to get paid.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    How low can I rate them

    • Maryland,
    • Oct 6, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    My experience with Rover was horrible. They claim to check backgrounds. They claim to have guaranteed service. Nothing is further from the truth. I had a problem where my sitter didn't uphold the agreement we had. I was 500 miles from home and had to find someone else to watch my dog on the fly. I asked for my money back and Rover told me I should talk it out with the sitter as they are all independent contractors. Rover takes your money before the service is given. But when there is bad service, they don't want to be part of giving you your money back. They are the worst. Buyer beware.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Lying dog sitter

    • Springville, CA,
    • Oct 4, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I left my 3 dogs in the care of a lying pet sitter who watched my home and dogs for four days. I had a security camera going recording the front entry and sound.

    The first night the camera went blurry. I listened and heard her and a man who was uninvited in my home talking about the camera and to look for more. Then it went blurry but I heard them whispering about it.

    Then they stayed in the house next door and left my dogs alone for 4 nights in the home. They were not allowed to stay in my guest house next door! I am very upset and will never use this service again after paying $120 a day.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Advocates of Animal Abuse and Endangerment

    • Toronto, Ontario, Canada,
    • Sep 18, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    A sitter falsified her home details and allowed a cat to attack my bulldog while on leash, resulting in 15+ puncture wounds in the face, neck, and arms. $224 in vet bills and a week off of work to care for my dog, Rover claims no liability and is allowing the sitter to continue to book clients, failing to protect animals from harm at the hands of negligent hosts. They will not conduct a review or suspend the account, nor are they willing to take any steps to rectify the issue with this particular sitters profile and advertisement of safe services. Neither the sitter or Rover have followed up regarding the health of my dog since I’ve taken her back home.

    Rover promotes animal abuse for profits, I will not use the app in the future and will instead contact one of the good pet sitters directly to cut out any chance of Rover making money.

    Terrible experience, a dog services company that condones violence and harm to animals - avoid at all costs.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    WORST SERVICE EVER

    • Toronto, Canada,
    • Sep 17, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    The worst service I have ever gotten. I have 2 dogs and when contacting the sitter I had advised the type dogs I had and advised the age, one of the dogs is younger, never away from me, a little spoiled too. I had asked if he had experience with that and if he was ok with it, the sitter said was ok and I could book the stay. I had to book a flight last minute because my grandmother had passed away, the only reason why I would leave my dogs with someone I didn’t know, and I was confirmed that it was ok, and my booking was accepted.

    When I get to the house to drop off my dogs, no yard with a proper fence, there was no gate, the only gate was a table and some chair preventing any dog jumping the house, one lie to start with because in the profile it says fenced yard. Secondly, it said he only has 2 dogs, which is a lie, there were 4 dogs in the house at that time I arrived. For the size of the house and the backyard, this person has clearly overbooked, however, I was not advised of any of this when I booked. I dropped my dogs off with some concern but reviews on the website were good and I have heard good things from Rover services.

    I was getting ready to leave to the airport and I get a message (30 minutes after dropping my dogs) saying the dog was barking too much and scratching the door and that he was trying, and he couldn’t keep my dogs, I would have to pick them up. Of course, I went to get them, I’m not going to leave them with someone who doesn’t know what commitment is and that doesn’t want to take care of them. Clearly this person doesn’t have as much experience as he was advertising because in 30 minutes, did you even try or did you just sit on the sofa doing nothing? Because if you leave them by themselves, of course they are going to be bored, he didn’t even try to play with them or go for a walk.

    I asked any dog owner or anyone who uses this service, are you paying for someone to just take your pet and do NOTHING or are you paying for them to be taken care of and give, attention and to play with them. You don’t know when are you going to get a call letting you know they are not able to take care of your pet, you may be just a few minutes away (thak God I WAS), or you can be miles away in an AIRPLANE and you can’t do anything, because Rover is not someone you rely on, never, this person who says he is a dog sitter, don’t TRUST it, happened once will happen again.

    I have had dogs all my life and I babysit for friends when they travel also, and if you don’t give them attention and play with them, they are not going to behave, especially when they are young dogs. 30 MINUTES IS A DISGRACE.

    I lost my flight (I have lost $ 1550 from my flight tickets), such terrible service provided by Rover. Rover is who hires these people and incorrect information is provided to the customer. I’m glad it happened when I was still in Canada and I could go pick my dogs, what would happen if I was away and not able to pick them up as fast as I did, that feeling that someone could do something so wrong against your loved ones, because my dogs are part of my family, they are not just dogs for me, much more than that.

    I DO NOT RECOMMEND ROVER OR THIS SITTER.

    Thank you.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    No standards or accountability for their sitters, easily enables scamming

    • Tennessee,
    • Sep 6, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    We booked a doggy daycare service with Rover. Our sitter ghosted us last second. We drove to the address she gave us to drop off our dog at the agreed-upon time, only to realize that address didn't exist. She would not pick up her phone. I had travel plans and my boyfriend needed to be at work, and we were left scrambling to figure out what to do with our dog last second. Eventually, Rover refunded me, but they did not cancel the booking, meaning our "sitter" still profited. Rover did not hold her accountable in any way. She and other "sitters" may do this regularly on this app, basically making money from scamming people. This app enables people to easily to this with no repercussions. I would be extremely wary to trust their sitters. I'm not sure what qualifications, if any, people need to have to register as sitters. Our day was messed up and hectic, but it could honestly go much worse if the "sitter" had more nefarious intentions. I would strongly advise against using Rover, as they do not have any standards or accountability for their sitters.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Rover publicly shared my address and phone #

    • Austin, TX,
    • Aug 6, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I've had a few great sitters on Rover, but when I booked a stay this past weekend, my sitter took a photo of the instructions, including my address and phone number, to show me she had it. Rover then shared that private information in their public Rover Reel, which ANYONE can see, even without an account. I reached out to them as soon as I noticed this and they said they corrected it. I checked and it was still up. I reached out again and asked again for them to take down the Reel. A few hours later, it was finally taken down with no apologies, just some explanation that IF that had happened, it would not have been shared (although I confirmed it was, my friends could see it while not logged in). She stated that I should have marked that photo as private. So, I guess it's my fault they publicly shared my information. Cool.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    HORRIBLE EXPERIENCE! Zero stars.

    • Atlanta, GA,
    • Aug 6, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Our experience with KristyAnn was so bad that we actually canceled her services in the middle of the reservation! And called Rover to complain (not that it did any good). She kept having to reschedule coming over to meet me and my pets so I should have known then it was going to be a problem.

    She agreed to come to our house 3 times a day for 30 minutes each but was only coming for 14-20 minutes at a time and was coming at midnight and 2 am. My dog is old so this was hard on her. The final straw was when she didn’t show up for the morning feeding/medicine dose until 11:30, which meant my dog hadn’t been out in almost 12 hours. Her coming and goings daily were so sporadic and she was not staying as we agreed and paid for so we felt she was not giving our pets the best care and safety so we terminated the contract mid-week.

    She has hundreds of great reviews but if you read them carefully they are for her watching pets in her home not in yours! There was another complaint against her for the very same issues we had and I wished I saw it before I hired and paid her. I’d never recommended KristyAnn or Rover.com again.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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