Rover is the nation’s largest network of 5-star pet sitters and dog walkers.

You may already have a reliable pet-sitter who you turn to during the year, like a helpful college student or trusted neighbor. But as the year draws to a close, availability gets scarce. That student is halfway across the country with family, and your neighbors are busier than ever. The last thing you want is to leave your pets with a stranger. So…what now?

The solution is simple: Go to This online community is filled with proven, reliable caregivers who can house-sit and look after everything while you’re gone, ensuring safety and security in your home. Or, a sitter can host your pet in their own home, incorporating your dog into their festivities. And if things get hectic as the holidays draw near, a sitter can even provide doggy daycare, or drop by for a walk.

When you sign up on the site, you’ll start by filling in some info. You can add a photo of your pet to your profile, and talk about yourself and your pup. Give sitters a sense of what kind of person you are, and what kind of personality your dog has. Your profile can also give sitters some ideas about activities to try and places to go during a stay–including your pup’s favorites can help a lot.

As you browse through Rover profiles, enter the dates you’ll need to narrow down your search by availability. Look for highly-rated profiles, but don’t be shy about reaching out to new sitters, either–you’ll just want to pay extra attention during the hiring process. As you read through profiles, you can learn why each person pet-sits, what kinds of experience they have, the activities that they enjoy, and how they will entertain and care for your pup.

Start sending messages to offer the gig and ask clarifying questions. It’s an opportunity for you to to connect with the sitter and get to know them. Make a plan to set up a Meet & Greet, preferably as soon as possible–if it doesn’t go well, you’ll want time to continue your search.

Don’t feel obligated to hire the first person you meet. You want someone who really meshes well with your pet, from greeting to playtime. Of course, it can take your dog a while to warm up, and a super-anxious dog might not welcome strangers (which is one reason to conduct the intro on neutral ground, like a local park). But if they meet your expectations, communicate clearly, and are able to connect with your pet, you’ve probably found a good match.

During the stay, you can check in frequently to find out how your pet is doing, get photos, and answer any questions that arise. If you have a concern, be direct: it will help them know exactly what to look out for, and how to fulfill your pet’s needs on every level.

Now, your job is to relax and enjoy your holiday and time with family. You know that your pet is in good hands, and that Rover’s insurance, 24/7 support, and secure payment processing will cover all the details. And you can rest easy knowing that your dog is having a wonderful time, enjoying a lovely holiday vacation of their own.

By Nat Smith, community member.

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