Dog Care - How to Choose a Great Pet Walker

How to Choose a Great Pet Walker

How to Choose a Great Pet Walker

Maybe you can’t take off time in the day to go home and walk your pet, or you work too far away from where you live…whatever the reason, you want to find a great, reliable pet walker to give your pet the exercise they need.

When it’s worthwhile to consider a pet walker
  • You’re away from home for long periods of time: Whether it’s working a full-time job that you can’t make it home from, travel, or something else, being away from your pet for long periods of time may mean accidents. How frequently your pet requires potty breaks depends on their age, routine, and specific needs. Younger pets that are still being potty-trained, for example, will need to go out more often.
  • Your pet is having accidents: If your pet is frequently having accidents, then something in the routine needs to change. Hiring a pet walker can give your pet the extra breaks they need in order to avoid having to clean any more carpets.
  • Your pet is constrained to the inside: If your pet isn’t able to access a fenced-in backyard, then it may be worth looking into hiring a pet walker. The pet walker can take your pets out so they can relieve themselves.
  • Your work and home aren’t close to each other: The quick and easy alternative to a pet walker is going home on your lunch breaks and taking your pet out to use the bathroom. If where you work and where you live aren’t close, however, it may not only be easier, but even cheaper to hire a pet walker—when you consider the price of gas to drive back and forth.
  • You are unable to walk your pet on your own: If you are physically incapable, older and lack the energy, or have recently had some sort of surgery, a pet owner can help to make sure your pet gets the care it needs.
Potential benefits of hiring a pet walker
  • It takes some of the burden off you: No more rushing home to make sure your pet doesn’t have an accident, or devouring your lunch in minutes because of a long commute. Hiring a pet walker allows you to focus on other things, which can be a huge weight of your shoulders.
  • Your pet gets exercise, relief, and a change of venue: Instead of just seeing your apartment and the yard outside the door, your pet will be able to walk to new places and have new experiences, all while getting exercise that is important for their health and well-being.
  • If desired, your pet can socialize with other animals: Many pet walkers walk multiple animals at the same time to maximize their time. While this may not be something you want for your pet, it is the opportunity for socialization and exposure to other animals, which your pet will enjoy.
  • A connection who knows about pets: Hiring a pet walker provides a great source of information. Not only will they be able to notify you of any weird behavior your pet may have, give suggestions regarding diet and other care, and suggest best collars, leashes, etc., if you are looking for another pet professional (such as a pet sitter or veterinarian) they may be able to give you some advice.
How to find a pet walker
  • Ask for referrals: Talk to your friends, family members, coworkers, veterinarian, groomer, trainer, and anyone else who is knowledgeable and trustworthy to recommend a pet walker.
  • Search for pet walkers in your area: A quick Google search will turn up pet walking agencies in your area. There are also sites like dogwalker.com that have search tools to ease your search.
  • Visit local pet stores: Sometimes pet walkers will post their information with local pet stores so that it will be seen by pet owners. This may help you find pet walkers who aren’t advertised online.
What to consider when hiring a pet walker
  • Your pet’s needs: Understanding what your pet needs is the first step in hiring a great pet walker. Make a list of attributes or requirements that your ideal pet walker would have.
    • Questions to ask:
      • How frequently does your pet need to be walked?
      • What should the duration of the walk be?
      • Do you want your pet to be walked with other pets, or individually?
      • How qualified do you want your pet walker to be?
      • What price range are you comfortable paying someone to walk your pet?
  • Qualifications: Make sure you check the qualifications of each candidate. Just because they’re a pet walker doesn’t mean they shouldn’t provide references, documentation of any training, or any other qualifications they have. Additionally, you may want to consider finding a pet walker who is insured and bonded, so that any unexpected problems are covered.
    • Questions to ask:
      • Do you have any training, certifications, or other relevant experience?
      • How many dog walking jobs have you had in the past?
      • Do you have any references we can contact to aid in our decision?
      • What emergency experience or training do you have?
  • The relationship between the pet walker and your pet: You want your pet to get along with the person who is going to be taking them out and about every day. Make sure to arrange a meeting with the pet walker and your pet. If possible, have the pet walker take the pet on a walk around the block and gauge their reactions. If your pet will be participating in group walks, consider arranging a trial period where you are available to see how your pet fares with the other group members.
    • Questions to ask:
      • Will my pet be walking with other animals? How many?
      • What are the breeds of the animals?
      • What kind of disposition do the other animals have?
      • Will you meet my pet?
      • Can we slowly phase my pet into the pet walking group?
      • Where will you be taking my pet for the walk?
      • How long will the walk last?
  • The cost of services: Make sure to discuss the pet walker’s rate and what that rate entails. Just because a pet walker is less expensive doesn’t mean it’s the best deal for your pet or even your pocketbook.
    • Questions to ask:
      • How much do you charge and what does that include
      • How can payment be made?
      • Will you pick up my pet from home and drop off, or do I have to meet you?
      • Do you provide your own waste supplies?
      • What is required from me to make this successful?
      • How frequent and for what duration will the walks occur?
      • Does it cost more to have them walk your pet individually?

By taking the process seriously and trusting your own judgment, you’ll find a great pet walker in no time, allowing your pet to receive the exercise they need without the extra stress in your life.