We all know our dogs love going on long, adventure-filled walks, but jobs and family and commuting can make it difficult to give them the leash time they deserve. You can hire a professional dog walker to make sure your furry friend gets adequate exercise and outdoor time each day. A professional dog walker may be an individual contractor or work for a dedicated dog-walking company. In either case, you want to make sure the pro has the appropriate insurance in case of an emergency. Some people opt to give the dog walker a key to their house; others to have them pick up the dog from the yard. Dog walking can happen as often as multiple times per day, or just a few times a month as needed. Here are some questions to ask when you are interviewing a new dog walker:
- Will you or someone else be walking my dog?
- Do you have a backup plan if you can’t make it for a scheduled walk?
- Will you walk my dog by itself, or do you walk several dogs at once?
- What are your different walk routes?
- When will you pick up and drop off?
- How will we communicate?
- Do I have to commit to a schedule or are you flexible?
- What’s your cancellation policy?
- What’s your response plan if my dog gets injured or becomes sick?
- How and how often do I pay you?
- Do you offer package pricing if I buy multiple dog walks up front?
The cost of dog walking depends on several factors including length and frequency of dog walks, the number of dogs on the walk, distance to your house, and any additional services you request. The national average cost range for a dog walk is $10-$20, but that price will vary based on where you live in the country and the regional cost of living and doing business.
The longer the dog walk, the higher your costs will be. Dog walkers offer a range of walk lengths, from 15-minute potty breaks to long hikes of 120 minutes or more. For example, a dog walker may charge $15 for a 15-minute walk and $35 for a 35-minute walk. Requesting that your dog be the only animal on the walk will typically mean a higher cost than if you permit your dog to be walked in a pack of dogs. You may be able to get a discounted rate if you have more than one dog to be walked. For example, a professional dog walker may charge $28 for one dog or $33 for two dogs on a 60-minute walk. If you need additional help — like feeding the dogs or giving them medication — dog walkers may be able to provide this service at an additional fee. Dog walkers may charge higher rates for walking your dogs on holidays.
Pet sitting provides your precious pet with in-home care. A pet-sitter can make a brief visit during the day to provide snacks, playtime or affection, or stay at your house for one or more nights to tend to your pet. Prices for pet-sitting will vary based on length of the visit. Nationally, pet sitting prices range from $20 to $30, although prices run higher for your sitter to stay the night. Prices will also be affected by where you live in the country. Here are some examples of average pet-sitting prices based on length of time and region:
- 30-minute visit: $17 in a small Texas town.
- 30-minute visit: $25 in Southern California.
- 45-minute visit: $28.
- 60-minute visit: $32.
- Overnight stay (10 hours): $50 in Texas.
- Overnight stay (10 hours): $85 in Southern California.
- 12 hours: $100.
- 24 hours: $200. This is a good option for a sick, elderly or brand-new pet that needs constant supervision.
House-sitting can be a lifesaver when you’re leaving town for any length of time. Whether you work remotely, you’re taking a much-needed vacation, or you just want to road-trip for a few days, it’s wise to have a pro keep an eye on your house and pets while you’re gone. Your home is more likely to stay safe and you won’t have to wrangle the kitty into a kennel to travel with you. The national average pet-sitting price ranges between $20 and $30. Pet-sitting and house-sitting costs will vary based on where you live in the country and regional labor rates. Another factor in cost is how long you want the house-sitter to stay. Some people prefer to have the house-sitter stay the night at their house, perhaps to care for an elderly pet or simply to keep a watchful eye on the home at all times. Overnight stays will cost more, ranging anywhere from $50 to $100, depending on services provided. For day visits, house-sitting and pet-sitting prices will increase incrementally the longer the visit and the more service you want performed. For example, a quick 10-minute visit to feed and walk the pet and bring in the mail could be $12.50, a 25-minute visit could be $18, a 40-minute visit $25, and a 50-minute visit $32. For more, check out our tips for smart hiring on Thumbtack.