There was a time when a dog walker was thought to be a luxury service, but those thoughts have become a thing of the past – particularly following the vast increase in dog ownership during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are far more aware of our dogs’ needs, and the wide variety of reasons for considering a dog walker. But the biggest question is, how much do dog walkers charge?
The answer is less straightforward, as this can vary from one to another, with several aspects potentially affecting the price you pay.
With this in mind, the GoWalkies team have put together a guide for those considering a dog walking service for the first time, with insights ranging from costs through to qualifications:
Reasons why you should hire a dog walker
With most of us leading busy lives, meaning consistently long walks can be difficult to fit into our schedules. Hiring a dog walker means your dog still gets the exercise and attention they deserve, while you get back some valuable time.
In addition, you may need extra support on days when you have long meetings or work longer hours. Or you may also just need temporary help whilst your dog is a puppy through more frequent visits for toilet breaks, which a dog walker can provide.
With a local dog walker, you don’t need to worry if you need to stay late for work. The knowledge that your dog gets quality time outdoors can help relieve the guilt or stress held by knowing your pet is otherwise at home alone, often for 8 or more hours a day.
Ultimately, hiring a dog walker can provide amazing benefits for a dog owner and their pet and will provide peace of mind that your dog is well taken care of, even when you aren’t at home.
How much do UK dog walkers charge?
According to a report of 16,000 quotations gathered from DogBuddy, the average dog walker charges around £11.25 for a walk. However, there are several variants that can affect dog walking rates.
Depending on where you live, you could spend up to 31% more for dog walking than other areas.
Unsurprisingly, owners in London pay the most for dog walking services, where the average walk now costs £13.45, with some walkers charging as much as £25.
In comparison, those living in Sheffield and Belfast pay approximately 23% less than in London, with the average cost as little as £6 or £8 respectively.
When you first set out to hire a dog walker, the GoWalkies team recommends arranging an initial visit for you to meet the dog walker in person and see how they get along with your dog.
What’s more, it provides a good opportunity for you to ask questions about their experience and qualifications before filling out any paperwork they require. A good walker will also want to find out about your dog [their behaviour, likes and dislikes, any concerns] before they venture out together and potentially walk with other dogs.
Questions to consider for your dog walker are:
- How many dogs do you walk at a time? Be sure that your dog walker isn’t taking out too many dogs at one time, as too many can lead to conflicts between the pets and increase the chances of a dog going missing. Members of the National Association of Pet Sitters & Dog Walkers (NarpsUK) must agree to walk at most 4 dogs at a time.
- Do you walk with anyone else? Ideally, a dog walker won’t meet up with a fellow dog walker for a stroll, as they should be paying full attention to the dogs in their care with little cause for distraction.
- What type of dogs do you walk together? Depending on the temperament of the dogs, it is often not a good idea to walk big and small dogs at the same time.
- How long is the dog walk? Be sure to find out how long your dog will be walked—independent of travel time. The distance could also affect how much you pay, as the dog walker could charge less for shorter walks.
- Do you have dog walking insurance? A dog walker should be insured to cover any incidents while caring for your dog. While you have pet insurance, make sure your dog walker has separate insurance, as most pet plans exclude liability to cover incidents that occur while your dog is in the care of a business or professional that you are paying for their services.
- What course have you taken? Dog walkers aren’t required to have any formal qualifications or training, but a good dog walker will usually have sought out training and taken courses, such as animal first aid, animal care, and animal behaviour.
- How do you transport dogs? Your dog may have to travel with the dog walker by some means of transport. Ensure their vehicle has good airflow, that they are not travelling with too many dogs at once, and that they will never leave your dog unattended in the vehicle.
- Do we sign a service contract? A booking form or contract is a good way of clarifying expectations while establishing both parties’ responsibilities and help avoid any conflict later.
Number of dogs
Usually, if you have more than one dog, the amount you pay for a dog walker will increase. More dogs equal more hassle, which equals more costs. They will usually charge for one dog and then charge additional prices per extra dog.
Time of day
It could come as a surprise to some that the time of day can affect the cost you pay for a dog walker.
Evening walks tend to be more expensive than daytime walks, and the day of the week can have a knock-on effect on pricing, with most walkers charging less for weekday walk as opposed to weekend.
The season will also influence dog walking rates, as owners will likely discover they increase rapidly on bank holidays and other public holidays, especially over Christmas and the New Year.
Your dog walker could charge extra for feeding your dogs during the walk, dog sitting services, or administering medication. If you have a puppy, they may offer to spend extra time with them after a walk for an additional charge.
How to find a dog walker
While the traditional way of asking friends and family for recommendations works well enough, dog owners can now find it easier than ever to find a reputable local dog walker within their budget.
With just a few taps, the GoWalkies dog walking app enables owners to search and view dog walker profiles in their area to find one that suits their canine companion’s needs.
In addition, the app provides the opportunity to book same-day and future walks, as well as reading the walker’s reviews to find out more about their service.
As an added bonus, dog owners can also view their dog’s live location via in-app tracking features and can receive live updates from the dog walker, like action shots from the walk.
How to register as a dog walker
When starting a dog walking business, there’s key documentation that will not only make your business legal but can also boost your reputation among clients.
Dog walking business insurance or public liability insurance are both extremely important when starting your dog walking business and researching the market, particularly in your target area, is key to providing the best experience possible. This will allow you to plan more logistical standpoints, such as whether you will need a car or van.
For your own benefit, looking into start-up costs, ongoing overheads and upcoming one-off fees will also ensure you are financially prepared for the sometimes-tricky start to a business venture.
Making the most of the tools and opportunities around you will be vital when starting a dog walking business. GoWalkies provides a range of tools such as live walk tracking, secure payment systems and a community of potential clients that will help any dog walking business get off the ground.
For more information about starting a dog walking business, click how to start a dog walking business.
How much does a dog walker cost? It all depends on the region you live in, the local average wage structure, how many dogs you need walking, and the duration of the walk, amongst other things.
GoWalkies makes hiring a professional dog walker simple with affordable options, quality service, and experienced dog walkers.
If you’d like to find out more about the GoWalkies app, or how to start your dog walking business email firstname.lastname@example.org.