If I manage to make it to the gym during the day, the last thing I want to do when I get home is walk the dog. Thankfully, there's an app for that—a few of them, actually.
A handful of apps offer to connect you to professional dog walkers as well as boarding, grooming services, and everything else you'd want for your pampered pooch. However, you don't have to worry about handing the leash (and access to your house) to just anyone; these services will put you in touch with caregivers that are trained, insured, and checked thoroughly. They also allow you to keep tabs on every visit.
Wondering which app is right for your best friend? Here are four of our pet-friendly favorites.
Like Uber for dogs, Wag! provides 24/7 on-demand access to dog walkers, sitters, and boarding services in your area. The app, which is available for iOS devices, can actually connect you with an insured, bonded, and dog-loving walker in as little as 30 minutes. You can even set up recurring service, so Fido will be walked on a regular basis.
Once your dog is picked up, Wag! sends a notification to your phone, so you can track that walk through GPS and the app's Puppy Tracker feature. Once the dog is returned home, you get a Pup Report, with info on the walk time and distance, a pee/poop update, other notes, and even a photo of your walked pooch.
Wag! is currently available in Austin, Berkeley, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Oakland, Orange County, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, and Washington DC. Pricing may vary by market, but typically costs about $20 to $25 for 30 minutes.
Similar to Wag!, this service provides on-demand dog walking, notifications, the ability to follow your dog through GPS features, and photos once the visit is complete. However, Swifto is currently limited to the New York City area, and only works in web browsers and Android devices--in a rare turn of events, there's no iPhone support right now. Besides those restrictions, there are a few interesting things that set this app apart.
First of all, Swifto claims it will match you with the right dog walker based on your breed, needs, schedule, and even personality. Also, the company says that each Swifto dog walker is insured, bonded, and college-educated. They even perform background checks and require each walker to go through a four-step training process.
Swifto offers a variety of different pricing options. A 20-minute walk starts at $20, with walk options up to 2 hours and even 4-hour visits. Swifto can also handle multi-dog families, adding just $5 for each extra pup.
Out of all of the services on our list, Rover.com has the widest reach, promising over 65,000 dog walkers and pet sitters across all 50 states. Available for iOS and Android devices, this app allows pet owners to find, book, and manage care 24/7.
Just search for a walker or sitter in your area. Rover performs background checks on every dog walker and sitter, but you can also browse through photos of each candidate's home, pets, and reviews. Then the service can arrange a meeting so you can decide whether this walker is right for you—and your pet. Rover even allows you to pay for services right through the app.
To find out if Rover offers services in your area, just search the site. We punched in several different zip codes and found dog-friendly walkers within driving distance to all of them. Prices vary based on the walker/sitter, but are included in every profile listed.
Available in over 15 countries, Care can put you in touch with caregivers for children, seniors, homes, and even your four-legged friends.
Care users can search for dog walkers, sitters, trainers, groomers, and options for boarding through the website, as well as the Care iOS and Android apps. There are even cat caregivers on there as well! Care supplies a profile on each caregiver, filtering results based on location and when you need service (which includes an "immediate" option).
It's free to search for caregivers, but if you want to actually make contact, there's a fee involved. For $37 per month (or $147 a year), Care users can view contact details, make contact with an unlimited number of caregivers, purchase background checks, and access assorted references.