Walking Dogs For Rover and Wag: What You Should Know.

Want more than pictures of pets scrolling across your Instagram and Facebook feeds? Why not earn some extra money at the same time by caring for dogs (and sometimes cats) through Wag! and Rover? I’ve been pet sitting and walking dogs for Rover and Wag!, and since I am location independent, it is easy money. Give me fast (and reliable) WiFi, a way to brew coffee and I am totally down for caring for your pets! I especially love pet sitting because it’s the least disruptive to my schedule.

Who Can Benefit by Offering Pet Care Services Through Wag! or Rover?

You may benefit if:

  • You have a flexible schedule (for both pet sitting and walking)
  • You’re location independent (for pet sitting)
  • You’re able to have pets in your home (for pet boarding)
  • You’d like to essentially get paid to exercise
  • You enjoy playing with fur babies but can’t have pets for any number of reasons. Walking dogs for Rover and Wag! can help you get your “fix!”

Let’s Get Familiar With the Terminology First!

Drop-in visit: Typically 20 minutes. Let the dogs out for a potty break. Play with them. Voila, you’re done!
Walk: Wag! defaults on 30 minutes, but the owner can also request 20 or 60 minutes. Rover uses 30 minutes.
Boarding: The dog is cared for in the provider’s home.
Sitting: The provider cares for the dog in its home, typically spending the night.

There are considerable differences between the two services, both for the pet owners and the providers. This post is primarily focused on the provider, but pet owners who would like to try either service can sign up with the following links: Wag! (best suited for on-demand walks) and Rover (best suited for sitting or boarding).


Key highlights for providers:

  • Less on-demand and more about future opportunities
  • Pet owners contact providers
  • Providers cannot browse upcoming gigs
  • Based on your home address
  • Providers must keep their calendar up to date at all times
  • Communication happens anonymously through the app

Key highlights for pet owners:

  • Ability to request a drop-in visit, a walk, boarding, or sitting
  • The Meet & Greet is encouraged. This gives both parties the ability to discuss the dog and expectations prior to care
  • Owners review local providers and make contact
  • Communication happens anonymously through the app
  • The app does not have a tipping option

How providers get paid:

  • Rover keeps 20% of your earnings
  • Funds are sent to your Rover account, and you have to request withdrawal to PayPal
  • They offer an automatic “to PayPal” option, but you need to specifically set it up

Personal experience: My first gig through Rover was in April 2018. I can only do pet sitting, walks, and drop-in visits. I would love to maximize my earning potential by also doing boarding, but pets are not allowed at my apartment. In my location it’s rare to get a drop-in or walk request. The only ones I’ve gotten are from prior sitting clients.

I appreciate being able to get more information about the pet prior to making a commitment. I’ve only turned down one gig, and that’s because it required 24/7 presence in the home (brand new puppy). Do research on other providers in your area to make sure you’re charging a competitive rate, and know that Rover will suggest a lower rate when you’re first getting started.

Early on, I made one mistake with my calendar by forgetting to block out the night before a 5:30 am flight. I realized it prior to booking the gig and was able to work that out with the owner.

My two cents: Thumbs up! Definitely consider Rover if you are most interested in either sitting or boarding (or both – just not at the same time!).


I’ve heard it referred to as the “Uber for dog walking,” which should tell you how simple it is to use. As with Uber and Lyft, the pet owner can hire a walker on demand, as well as schedule a future walk. The walks are pushed through to the app, and then walkers can snag the gig.

The pet owner can communicate with the walker through the app once the walk has been accepted.

Key highlights for pet owners:

  • Ability to request a walk ASAP (on demand)
  • Ability to schedule a recurring or future walk
  • Ability to request boarding and sitting
  • Can request prior walkers
  • Not home to let the walker in? Wag! will send you a lockbox
  • Can easily tip the dog walker through the app
  • Hard to get the same person (despite the ability to request a prior walker)
  • No way to do a Meet & Greet with the provider to assure it’s a good fit (especially important if the dog has a special need or would otherwise benefit from a more experienced provider)

Key highlights for providers:

  • The app allows for walks to be found based on your home address or your current location
  • The pet owner can tip you
  • Prior walkers leave (mostly) useful notes on the location, area parking, the pet, entry to the home, etc.
  • You’ll receive text alerts on walks when prior clients specifically request you or when they request a walk, or when a walk becomes available that is near your location
  • The walker app is super buggy, particularly after the spring 2018 update
  • It’s hard to get through to support if you have an issue while on a walk
  • Although a pet owner can specifically ask for you, odds are another walker will snag the walk before you’ve had a chance to react to the text alert. NOTE: as of August 8, 2018 this may have been improved. Time will tell
  • There’s no way to see the pet notes prior to accepting a gig, so you could easily end up accepting one that’s not really a good fit
  • There are a surprising number of pet owners who don’t give proper instructions, such as how to access the home or where to find the leash (you know, pretty important stuff!)

Personal experience: My very first walk with Wag! was on December 31, 2017. It was relatively new to Portland, Oregon. Vancouver, Washington is part of the greater Portland metro area, but it’s separated by the Columbia River with only two points of crossing. Those who live in Vancouver or on the North side of Portland will struggle a bit with the app because a job could be under two miles away, but actually be across the river. Once you factor in bridge congestion, you’ll likely be losing your mind! Taking the extra time in reviewing the gig to see if it’s on the same side of the river has caused me to miss an opportunity more than once. Clearly taking care of dogs for Rover and Wag! is fun, but there are important things like this to consider beforehand.

During January, I would take on one to two walks per week. By the end of the month, I had made over $260. Not bad considering I work full-time in my virtual bookkeeping business!

In the spring of 2018, Wag! released an app update for walkers to include the ability to make an emergency support call. At that time, the push notifications about walks disappeared (at least on Android). I’ve also noticed a considerable decrease in text alerts. I’ve reached out to support several times. They’re aware of the issues, but several months later, there’s been no fix. Because I don’t open and stare at the app, I rarely get walks through there anymore (I’d love to know if iOS users have had a similar experience).

My two cents: Thumbs down, though there’s no harm in trying it yourself. Don’t expect to get much until they fix the app issues. Even then, you have to be ninja fast to snag a walk. Be sure to factor in drive time. I’m also not willing to do 40 minutes of driving (20 minutes each way) for a 30-minute walk. Pet sitting and walking dogs for Rover and Wag! can help you earn extra money, but with the latter you may need to be a little picky on occasion .

Two Last Tips About Walking Dogs for Rover and Wag!

Pay the extra fees for the background check. It’s an easy way to provide some peace of mind to the pet owners and shows that you’re treating this like a business.

Income earned by walking dogs for Rover and Wag!, or any other side gig will be reported on your Schedule C. Do all you can to legally reduce your taxes! At minimum, accurately track your mileage with this super simple app.

The Unexpected Consequences

My initial intent was to have a chance to spend time with animals. (what do you expect from a girl who grew up on a farm?!). Don’t get me wrong; earning the extra money is nice, but that wasn’t my motivation. It didn’t take long to realize I was also getting paid for walking dogs with Rover and Wag!, and any extra movement is fantastic for us desk jockeys. The positive psychological aspects gained as a result of shifting my focus from the exactness of accounting to the kisses and sounds of a happy dog are immeasurable.

So go ahead and give it a shot!