Leaving your dog in someone else’s hands involves a huge amount of trust. Unfortunately, dog walking is not yet a regulated industry, so it is important to do some thorough research before hiring a dog walker or dog walking company to look after your beloved pooch!

Here are a few things you should look out for when searching for the right dog walker for you and your dog:

  1. Insurance – all dog walkers and dog walking companies should legally have public liability insurance when exercising dogs in public parks. The insurance will cover them for any incidents with other dogs, members of the public as well as more specific pet care cover such as travelling in vehicles and key holding. It’s worth requesting a copy of their insurance certificate or confirmation of insurance policy before signing up to any dog care services.
  2. Group Numbers – it’s important to ask how many dogs your dog will be walking with in their group each day as there is an insurance limit of 6 dogs per walker in the UK but many parks and boroughs have a limit of 4 dogs per walker. Unfortunately this number is not kept to by many dog walkers which leads to an unsafe and uncontrolled amount of dogs in one space. Make sure your dog is getting the care and attention they deserve on daily walks as mental stimulation and cuddles are just as important as exercise!
  3. Safely Equipped Vehicles – if your dog walker uses a vehicle to pick up and drop off your dog for their walks, it is worth checking that they have some basic safely precautions in place to ensure your dog travels to and from their walks safely and comfortable. Vans should be kitted out with secure cages and have some form of ventilation for air-flow during the travel time. It’s also important to ensure the vehicle has air-conditioning throughout if travelling during the heat of summer and ideally heated air flowing through during the winter.
  4. Experience Handling Dogs – although this one seems pretty obvious, a lot of people underestimate dog walking as a profession and often don’t have the skills or experience required to handle a group of dogs, particularly if there are puppies or boisterous dogs on the walks. It’s worthwhile asking for some information about their experience handling dogs.
  5. Last but certainly not leastPassion! Dog walking should not be just a ‘job’, it’s a passion and a lifestyle. Make sure you hire a dog walker that shows a genuine connection with dogs and loves what they do!

We hope this list gives you an idea of what to look for when hiring your dog walker. It’s certainly worthwhile doing some basic research before handing any furry friends over… they will appreciate it too!