“How Do I Find a Dog Sitter Near Me?”
There are thousands of searches per month by people trying to find reliable and trustworthy services in their area. And finding a dog sitter is just one of those searches. I’m going to cover the best methods on how to find a dog sitter in your area.
In other articles, I cover similar steps for finding dog walkers, pet sitters, cat sitters, dog boarding, and dog daycare in your area. This is the main article with detailed steps. For the related articles, I’m going to refer to the steps here and just give an outline to follow but with additional steps that are particular for the different type of pet services.
By the way, I’m a dog walker and pet sitter so I have a lot of insights in this area. I have to think about methods on how I want clients to find me.
Let’s start off with the assumption that you didn’t wait for the last minute to find a dog sitter. The breakdown of methods I cover are (in order from ideal to “Oops, I forgot to find a dog sitter”):
- Recommendations from dog owners you know
- Recommendations from dog or pet owners you meet
- Online recommendations
- Smart online research
I’m starting with how to find a dog sitter near you because it is the most difficult one to cover. Not because dog sitters are hard to find, but because, for dog owners, walking, sitting and boarding get lumped together. I believe I am the only dog walking and pet sitting site that actually has a definition of terms section. You can read all the definitions on my Services and Rates page, but I’ll give a brief overview here.
Dog Walking, Dog Sitting, Dog Boarding & In-House Sitting
Dog walking is for people who need their dog walked mid-day while they are at work. That one is simple.
Pet sitting for a dog involves your sitter going to your place to take care of your dog. Dog boarding is when you drop your dog off at a facility or at your walkers’ or sitters’ home. And In-house sitting is when your walker or sitter stays at your place. All three types of services involve feedings and multiple walks a day for your dog. These are the services that get mixed up.
Pet sitting for a dog (or dog sitting) involves two feedings and typically three walks per day: morning, mid-day and evening. Dog boarding and in-house sitting for a dog also involve two feedings and three walks a day, but your dog gets much more interaction than with pet sitting.
Pet sitting is the cheapest option with in-house sitting being the most expensive. Dog boarding costs fall between those two but usually closer to in-house sitting rates. It’s up to you to choose which option is best for your dog. I’m only covering how to find a dog sitter in this article.
Method #1: Dog sitters recommended by people you know
Friends and family
How do you find an accountant, auto mechanic, or plumber? Recommendations! Asking people you know and trust is by far THE BEST method for finding services.
Someone reading this may think that the best way is to find a family member or friend to pet sit your dog. Ummmmm, no. I’m often contacted on short notice by someone needing pet sitting because the person they asked to watch their dog can’t do it. It is a good option, but it’s just not a 100% reliable option.
So call, text or email people you know who own pets. Even if they don’t use a pet sitter, they may know someone who does. Keep in mind that “dog sitting” and “pet sitting” is the same thing. A person who does cat-sitting for one of your friends most likely also offers dog sitting.
Method #2: Dog sitters recommended by Dog Owners You Meet
Do you live in a building with other dog owners? Do you sometimes run into neighbors who own a dog? Grab your leash and take your dog for a long walk. Just start chatting and eventually say something like, “By the way, do you have a dog sitter?” You need to know how to read body language. Don’t bother if the person looks like they are in a rush like in the morning on a weekday.
Also, go to grassy areas where dog owners are sure to be. Check out dog parks, dog-friendly beaches, picnic areas or local parks with hiking trails. Take your dog to places where you see other people walking their dogs.
Recommendations from dog-friendly businesses
How many pet shops are near you? Is your vet near you? I guarantee you they will have recommended pet service companies. The employees at small local pet shops are possible candidates. Or they may have friends who are pet sitters.
I know here in Philly there are dog-friendly bars. Go out for a bite and a drink if you have any in your neighborhood. Ask the owners or patrons if they know any dog sitters.
Recommendations from neighborhood groups
I know there is a Fairmount Running group in my neighborhood. You may have running or biking groups in your town as well. Don’t run or bike? Not the athletic type. There is a group here in Philly called Philly Sport & Social. They have everything from baseball, to kickball to dart leagues. And I believe they are all co-ed. Join a kickball or dart league and start talking about your dog with anyone who has a dog.
The point is to meet as many people as you can to get honest in-person recommendations. These methods may not be that good if you need a dog sitter in a very short amount of time.
Method #3: Online Recommendations
Local community sites and forums like Nextdoor.com is a great option. I often see posts on Nextdoor from people asking for recommendations for various services. Hopefully, there is a section on the site for your neighborhood. This is not as good as face-to-face meetings with dog owners, but you will get replies from other pet owners in your neighborhood.
Another option is pet based sites that list pet service companies. Check out the top three links on my Links page. These sites allow you to search for pet services by zip code without requiring you to create an account. They are resource sites for professional pet based businesses. Just keep in mind that you will only see pet service businesses that pay to be listed on those sites. So it’s not a comprehensive listing of pet service companies in your area.
Method #4: Online Searches
That leaves us with Google – when all else fails, just “Google it”. And now we are back at the beginning: searching for “find a dog sitter near me”. And this may be your best, and only, option if time is a factor. Here are some tips if you waited until the last minute to find a dog sitter: reviews, testimonials and website domain age.
You can find reviews on Yelp, Facebook, Google Business and many other sites. Most of the time the reviews are positive, but not all the time. Use low reviews for places to avoid. However, don’t overlook companies that don’t have any reviews. Everyone is busy with things to do. Adding reviews for your dog sitter is rarely a priority. I had to ask my clients to help me out by writing reviews for me. Some walkers and sitters have websites but are not internet savvy.
Many sites, including mine, have a testimonials page with quotes from clients. They may also have photo galleries of the pets they watch. As a result, they will be able to provide references and contact information for existing clients. I don’t get asked for references anymore. I assume because of my reviews, testimonials and my Google Business listing which has my address and contact information.
Age of business
You can check how long the website has been on the internet, which is about how long they have been in business. If the business has been around for a while, you can assume that they must be doing something right.
The footer of web pages often shows a copyright date indicating the age of the site. Or you can copy the home page address and paste it into any Domain Age Checker tool. Mine is 9.3 years old as of August 2018, though I started my business 10 years ago. I created my site in March of 2009.
That’s about it. The best methods are recommendations from face-to-face meetings with other pet owners. I sincerely wish you luck! Please comment below or contact me if you have any questions or different methods of finding a dog sitter.
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And I would be grateful as well.