Choosing the right dog walker for your pet can be a very personal thing, while some dog owners like to make sure their dog walkers are reliable and have love for the pet’s, others also want reassurance that their walkers are aware of laws and are trained in pet first aid.
Whatever you’re looking for here are some things to consider before choosing someone to look after your extra family member/s.
Dependent and reliable
What happens if your usual dog walker is poorly? Does the company have a contingency plan in place? How important is time keeping to them? We don’t want your dog left for hours on end, so it’s important your dog walker is there when they say they will be.
All of our franchise owners and dog walkers are police checked. It’s important to us that we know your home and pets are in safe hands. You’ll be entrusting your dog walker with a key to your home if your dog lives indoors, so don’t think twice about asking to see the results of a DBS check.
In the event of anything happening, is your walker insured? Never be afraid to ask to see documentation and ask them to confirm that they’re covered to transport your pet too. Don’t hesitate to ask your walker if you can review their policy, for your own peace of mind.
If your dog walker will be transporting the dog at any time, make sure they have an adequately sized crate or seat belt. It’s law.
Rule 57 of the Highway Code states:
When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly. A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars.
Ask how many dogs will be walked at the same time? This is really important because you want your dog to have the right amount of attention and the walker to be able to manage them all. Imagine if a walker had five dogs at once, how on earth would they control them all if a testosterone fuelled fight broke out?
Things happen sometimes which aren’t a direct result of any failings, your pet might get ill while in the care of your walker. What procedures do they have in place to deal with such emergencies?
Pet first aid trained
Check that your walker is trained to deal with any situations where first aid may be required, anything from a grass seed stuck in the paw to a choking situation.
Off lead walking
You’re going to want to know that your dog is safe when they’re out and about. It’s essential that if your dog isn’t familiar with walking off lead that it’s not removed when they’re with their walker. Your walker should establish this before the dog’s very first walk, so make sure they ask, and have it noted.
Rule 56 of the Highway Code states:
Dogs: Do not let a dog out on the road on its own. Keep it on a short lead when walking on the pavement, road or path shared with cyclists or horse riders.
What are other people saying about the business? Can you talk to other pet owners who’ve used to service? It’s tricky if it’s a newly established business. All business owners have to start somewhere, so go with your gut if they’ve not yet been able to obtain reviews.
‘Silene was very friendly and professional which gave us peace of mind. We were able to relax and enjoy our party knowing Titch was being well cared for and looked after, not to mention the fact that he loved her!! I would highly recommend this service and will now continue to use it in the future.’
Updates and notes
It can make you feel anxious when you leave your pet with someone else, you want to know they’re happy and enjoying themselves. We like to leave notes for the owners to let them know what they’ve been up to, or send photos through via text message. If this is something you’d like ask your dog walker if it’s possible.
And last but not least, go with your gut instinct. How do you feel around the walker? Do they make you feel you’re making the right choice? If you’re happy it’s likely your dog will be too.