Keep your dog (or dogs) happy and healthy while you're busy or away from home with regular dog walks. Professional dog walkers can be hired to walk dogs for a one-time occasion or multiple times per day on a regular basis. Dog walking services are often an affordable way to make sure your dog doesn't destroy your house or get lonely during long workdays or when you can't walk them because of family or mobility issues. A dog walker can walk your single dog or your whole pack. Dog walking services are available for dogs of any age, from puppies to senior dogs, or any size. Don't worry if you have a dog with a strong personality; many dog walkers specialize in walking large or aggressive dog breeds. Be clear about your dog's personality and needs, say Stephanie Singletary and Kyrsten Shenkle of Peppy Pets LLC in Clayton, North Carolina; a reliable company will be able to match you with the appropriate dog walker for your furry friend.
Dog walks can last from just 15 minutes to 30-60 minutes or more, depending on the agreement between the dog walker and the client. You can request that your dog be walked alone, or you may prefer your dog to be walked with a vetted pack to help with your pet's socialization skills and fight off loneliness. Professional dog walkers often can provide additional services such as administering medication, giving baths, or feeding and grooming. The cost of dog walking can vary greatly based on where you live in the country, regional labor rates, and area costs of running a business. The average cost of a dog walker ranges from $20 to $40 per hour depending on the length of the walk, the number of dogs you need walked, and your location. Here are the things that can affect typical dog walking rates as well as how to choose the right dog walker for you.
Length of walk
Dog walkers offer a range of options, from 15-minute potty breaks to 30-minute walks or long walks of 120 minutes or more. Generally, the longer the walk, the higher the price. Companies often match dog walkers with dogs based on their temperament and needs; letting your dog-walking pro know your preferred walk time also helps them best accommodate your needs. Dog walkers may offer tiered pricing depending on the length of time of the walk, the time of day you want your dog walked (morning or midday walks), and the number of walks per day. Weekend dog walks and pickup and drop-off services can also cost extra.
Here are some examples of average tiered pricing:
Annie's Walk & Talk in Seattle, Washington:
- 30-minute neighborhood walk: $23
- 60-minute neighborhood walk: $28
A Paw Above in Hollywood, Florida:
- 15-minute walk: $15
- 30-minute walk: $20
- 35-minute walk: $35
Paw Prince Pet Care in Mohegan Lake, New York:
- 30-minute walk: $20
Peppy Pets LLC in Clayton, North Carolina
- 15-minute walk: $17
- 30-minute walk: $19
- 45-minute walk: $21
- 60-minute walk: $23
Number of dogs
The number of dogs that need walking can affect the overall cost for services. Many dog walkers charge more with each dog, but not double the base rate. Walking more than one dog requires more handling skills and more work for the dog care pro, and will therefore cost more. For example, Annie's Walk & Talk charges $28 for a 30-minute walk of two dogs, compared with $23 for one dog, and $33 for a 60-minute walk of two dogs, compared with $28 for one dog. A Paw Above charges $5 for each additional dog per walk. Kathy Kreuz of Paws of Love in Pompano Beach, Florida, typically charges $17 per dog walk for a single-dog household and $20 per walk for a multi-pet household. Some dog walkers may also charge more for several large dogs or less for small dogs that are easier to handle.
Your dog may need more than one walk per day, explains Schantel Armstrong of TelsTails Petsitting in Atlanta, Georgia. Often providers can offer a discount for more than one service in a day, or multiple walks per week. Clearly explain how many times per day you want your dog walked, the times of day you want the walks to occur, and the distance you want the dog to walk, says Armstrong. This will help the dog walker provide the most accurate quote for the services you need.
Some dog walkers offer discounts to repeat customers as a way to reward loyalty and encourage repeat business. Dog owners can benefit from a lower cost per walk with a package compared with purchasing walks individually. Stephanie Singletary and Kyrsten Shenkle of Peppy Pets LLC provide 10 percent off their standard rates when clients purchase a prepaid service package special. Here is an example of average package pricing from Peppy Pets LLC:
- 20 walks: $306
- 30 walks: $459
- 20 walks: $342
- 30 walks: $513
- 20 walks: $396
- 30 walks: $594
- 20 walks: $432
- 30 walks: $648
When dog walkers have to travel long distances to arrive at the client's location, they may charge more to help cover time and travel expenses. In addition, if a dog owner asks the dog walker to travel to parks or other outdoor recreation areas, the walker may charge additional fees. In some cases, local regulations or the business's liability clauses will not permit the dog walker to travel with a client's dog in their car, so they must walk from your location. Always ask about the logistics of the company's services and the service area they cover to make sure they meet your needs.
Many dog walkers offer additional services such as feeding, giving medication, grooming, or providing extra TLC for your best friend. Kathy Kreuz of Paws of Love in Pompano Beach, Florida, says her company can work with clients to provide services such as taking the dog to routine vet appointments. She once even took a dog out for a cheeseburger at the client's request. "There is no set formula for cost or quotes," says Kreuz, "because Paws of Love accommodates unique requests. What we take into consideration is frequency of services, duration of services, the number of animals, and the location of the client's home when we are creating a quote. Paws of Love absolutely gives discounts and does its to best accommodate its clients' needs." Some dog walking services also offer pet sitter services for an additional cost.
For clients who work late hours, have long commutes, or have mobility concerns, these additional services can enable the client to enjoy their pet while still ensuring their dog receives the level of care it needs to be happy and healthy. Shenkle and Singletary at Peppy Pets LLC explain they have been able to provide dog walking and additional services while owners were in the hospital and then recuperating at home. If you have a pet care need, it's likely that an all-inclusive company will be able to meet your needs. The more services provided per visit, the higher the overall cost usually will be. Here are some examples of average individual add-on costs:
Dog walkers need time off, too, so requesting services on a major holiday such as Christmas Eve could result in additional fees for their services. Dog walkers also have additional demand for services on major holidays, so prices may increase due to increased competition. For example, A Paw Above charges an additional fee of $10 for working on holidays. The dog walking pros at Peppy Pets LLC charge an additional $5 beyond the standard rate on a holiday for any given dog walk length, say Shenkle and Singletary.
Regulations and certifications
State regulations can also affect your dog walking needs. Each state's pet laws are are different, says Singletary with Peppy Pets LLC. In her state, North Carolina, the Department of Agriculture determines pet laws. Her state doesn't require pet vaccinations for dog walking services, but Peppy Pets LLC as a company does to protect both the dog and the dog walker. It's important to research state and local laws and make sure your dog walker is following them before signing on for their services. In addition, says Shenkle with Peppy Pets LLC, some companies have breed restrictions, so always ask whether the dog walker can handle your large or aggressive breed. Peppy Pets LLC does not have breed restrictions and works with walkers who are competent and trained to handle a variety of breeds and temperaments.
- Make sure your dog walking service provider is licensed, bonded, and insured — especially if they'll have a key to your house for walking your dog while you're at work. Read client reviews and follow up with references to make sure you're choosing the right pro for your project. For more, check out our tips for smart hiring.
- Make sure the dog walking company you hire is experienced and reputable, encourages Kreuz with Paws of Love. The industry is flooded with newcomers and some may be trying to cut corners to get ahead, she advises. Confirm they have personal relationships with local vets or if they offer emergency veterinary services. This offering may help keep your pet safe in case of an emergency.