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Yes, you absolutely can, but be warned: it’s not a cheap service.
Well, most of the time it isn’t cheap. You likely need someone to walk your dog because you’re going to work and need your dog to take care of business outdoors. Heck, most of us need that.
But you’re going to have to factor it into your monthly expenses. Many dog walkers literally make a career (one that makes above annual minimum wage) by doing what they do. They walk four dogs at the same time, twice a day for $20 a pop, and they’re making about $80.00 an hour.
You know what the good thing about this is?
They’re getting paid properly because they’re good at what they do, and they take it just as seriously as you do. They know you want your pets to be safe, so they provide that to them. You can pay someone to walk your dog, but there’s a few things to know first.
Where to Find Dog Walking Services
You’re working, or you’re just busy, but you know your little one needs their walks for more than just going to the bathroom. There are plenty of places that you can get dog walking services that aren’t going to cost you an arm and a leg.
Wag!, PetBacker, and Rover are three of the most popular smartphone apps available to find and hire a dog walker. Thing is, you do have to be choosy, because just like Uber, anyone can sign up to be a dog walker. These services do a decent job at vetting people, but they aren’t perfect.
That being said, it’s not like animal abuse runs rampant or anything like that on these apps, just that you have to be careful. There are some stories of incompetent dog walkers that let pups sit in the sun for too long, or show up late and the dog ends up “going” while in your house.
These same people could be the ones posting Craigslist ads, though; just be careful regardless of where you find a dog walker from.
Local advertisements are by far the best places to find truly local dog walkers.
Sometimes, you can find some dog walkers through an app with an arbitrary “Miles From Home” section on the search function, and while they’re within 25 miles, they’re in another city where the highway is on the other side of town. It’s a bummer.
With local ads, you’re not only finding someone who might just be right around the corner, but they’re also going to be a little more likely to travel to you. No travel expenses.
When you officially hire a long-term dog walker, someone reliable that you can count on, they might ask for compensation for travel time and distance.
Local ads can also just be pieces of paper with tear away leaflets posted at convenience stores, so be sure to check the bulletin board at your local grocery store or wherever you go.
They’re most likely around, even though a lot has moved online. Speaking of which, there’s another online service you can take advantage of.
I’ve seen people meet dog walkers on Instagram and even Twitter, but Facebook is still the most-used social media platform out there. Someone could be looking for recommendations and be given the page of a business or freelancer.
In fact, you could try it right now. Just go onto your Facebook profile, post a status, and specify that you’re looking for recommendations.
If you have multiple friends that all own dogs, this could be a good way to get their attention all at once. It’s like asking them all without having to individually text each one and wonder who you did or didn’t message when they start replying the next day.
If you don’t want to look for recommendations and wait for people to respond to you, you can simply refine your searches for dog walkers in Facebook’s search engine. You’ll be directed to pages for local businesses.
Google My Business
It’s simple – all you do is Google something simple like “Dogwalke for hire Atlanta Georgia” and you end up with a list of local businesses.
The reason that this is great and different from other results is because you’re not just getting blogs, apps, or service sites like Care.com that have their own directory.
Instead, you’re getting truly local businesses that actually had to build these Google My Business pages themselves. From these search results, you can find the dog walker’s website or at least a social media page where they display all of their rates and information, and maybe even some photos of them doing their job.
This basically gives you a rundown of all the businesses that really take themselves seriously, and it keeps things fairly local as long as you’re using local keywords.
This site isn’t what it used to be, and I mean that in the best possible way. Craigslist isn’t as spam-filled anymore, since now it can cost to post that you’re offering services. Dog walkers included.
You can find a short list of local offers, and you know they’re current because they generally expire in thirty days or less. Craigslist users are also prompted to remove their posting if the needs are met, better narrowing down the list of available dog walkers.
There are so many online marketplaces for services out there, but this one is old reliable. If you call a dog walker from Craigslist, ask if they can direct you to their website (if one wasn’t provided), and be sure to get rates as well as a quick phone interview done.
What are Average Dog Walking Rates?
On average, you can expect $20 per walk, which can amount to about $40 per hour for some dog walkers depending on what they offer. A half-hour dog walk is fairly standard, especially in areas where the summers get really hot and you don’t want your pup burning their paws on the sidewalk.
Dog walkers might take longer depending on the number of dogs they walk at the same time, so your dog might end up being out for about an hour anyway.
It’s wise to negotiate half-hour based prices, because let’s be honest, most people aren’t perfectly punctual. Base it on this rate and you’ll probably end up with your dog having more time out and about anyway.
Some people turn this into a full-time job that they use to support themselves financially, and those professionals will stand out apart from everyone else. You can spot the “This is just my morning gig” person from the “I love dogs and this is what I do every single day” type of people.
If your dog is being walked twice a day while you’re at work (which is likely a good idea), then you can expect to spend about $800 per month for a good dog walker.
This is why a lot of people will rely on their sibling, friend, or neighbor to walk their dog (that, and why people have big yards with dog houses and doggy doors on the back door).
Are These Services Trustworthy?
Dog walkers are generally people who love dogs and enjoy the task, so for the most part, they are trustworthy. Thankfully, we have those apps that I mentioned earlier that do some levels of vetting for dog walkers.
That being said, nothing in life is 100% guaranteed or safe. It could be a good idea to have an over-the-phone interview with a potential dog walker to see if they’re a good fit for your lifestyle and your dog.
It’s a very niche profession that doesn’t have a high entry rate of people looking to do wrong or harm. With all that in mind, you should absolutely be choosy and picky. If you get bad vibes from someone, show them the door, no matter how long they’ve been walking your dog.
Dog Walking is a Serious Game
As of August 2020, Glassdoor.com reported that the median earnings of a professional dog walker are about $25,496 per year. This doesn’t sound like a lot, but consider the work hours.
Many of these dog walkers only spend about thirty minutes to an hour on each walk before returning your pets to your homes, so when you boil it down to an hourly rate, it’s quite a bit of capital.
I say all of this because you absolutely do want a professional to take care of your dog(s) while you’re either at work or indisposed at the moment. You don’t just want Joe Schmo handling a member of your family twice a day, five days a week. It’s worth it to spring for a good, well-reviewed dog walker.