Inability to take the dog out for a walk on some days of the week should be no reason to worry for a pet parent; especially in today’s day and age when help is available at the click of a button. Hiring a dog walker is as serious a business as hiring a babysitter or a pet sitter. They will be responsible for your dog’s well-being and safety during the time they spend together outside the house without you. Let’s take a deeper look.
Why should you choose a dog walking service/ app instead of individual dog walkers?
Accountability is the biggest reason why it is recommended choosing a dog walking app over an individual dog walker. Moreover, the app is an amazing platform where demand and supply come face to face as it makes it possible for dog walkers to connect with dog owners in need of walking.
Dog walking services/apps aggregate various dog walkers spread across different locations and allow pet parents to choose services based on their needs and budget. It makes repeat booking easier and enables dependable service providers to build their profiles with multiple 5-star reviews and testimonials from real clients. It saves pet parents the trouble of performing a background check on dog walkers.
Things to look for while choosing a dog walking service
There are a few things to look out for when it comes to choosing a dog walking service. It is not recommended to do a trial and error as you’d be trusting the app and the service provider with your precious fur companion who is not going to be able to complain if anything goes wrong. Here are some things to look out for in a dog-walking service/ app –
Average customer reviews
Customer reviews are a reflection of the brand. If the app has more good reviews than bad, it may be worth considering them. Do make sure to read the bad reviews so that you don’t miss out on any fault in the app that is being constantly pointed out.
Simplicity is of utmost importance when it comes to technology. When you’re already stressed about your dog’s walks, the last thing you need is an app that adds to it.
When an app has a plethora of options in terms of dog walkers, it makes it easier for dog owners to select and reach out as per their needs and budget. It also indicates that the app has been in the market for a while and is one of the preferred ones for dog walkers.
Background check procedure
Make sure to find out the app’s procedure of background checks of service providers. It has to be as thorough as possible.
Is your dog walker able to update you on your dog’s walks on the app? Bonus if that’s a yes.
Things to look for in a dog walker
Is the dog walker really walking my dog or just browsing social media on the bench? Is my dog comfortable with the walker? Is the walker over-exercising my dog? When looking for a dog walker, make sure to prepare a mental (or physical) checklist and don’t be shy to ask questions.
- Make sure the dog walker is in the same neighborhood as you. Traveling will not only make the service more expensive but also take away the possibility of last-minute walks if the walker is unable to travel
- Has any of your pet-parent friends taken the services of the dog walker? Word of mouth is the most reliable review of a dog walker
- What training method does that dog walker use? Do they intimidate dogs or are they gentle and loving?
- Where does the walker take the dogs to walk? Is it in the neighborhood or are they transporting your dog somewhere?
- Is your walker insured?
- Will they provide updates after each walk?
- Do they understand the needs of every dog they walk?
- A background check into the criminal history of the walker. But in no other way can a background check predict how a total stranger will care for your dog
Let’s take a look at some of the best dog-walking apps/ services out there –
OVERALL BEST RATED: ROVER.COM
The Rover app was created for dog lovers by dog lovers! It is a one-stop shop that connects pet parents with a nationwide network of dog sitters, daycare providers, and dog walkers who’ll help care for pets, at their place or the pet parents’.
The prices vary depending on the area, demand, competition and the required walk time for the dog. Their lowest rate starts at around 20$ for half n hour and goes up to 100$ depending on the location, expertise of the walker, the requirement of the dog and the dog parent, etc.
- The platform is designed to promote repeat business, which allows pet parents to form a trustworthy relationship with the walkers
- One-stop shop for a variety of services such as dog walking, pet sitting, drop-in visits, grooming, etc
- Flexible pricing ranging from low to expensive
- 24/7 support. In case of any issue, Rover’s team can provide immediate assistance, including vet care.
- Rover offers background checks, ongoing education for sitters, and around-the-clock support
- They have more loyal users than any other app
- Ability to GPS track your dog’s walks
- The background checks do not guarantee the quality of services the service provider would provide
- On-demand bookings are not available in every area
Average customer rating: 4.3/5 Stars (1190 reviews)
BEST BUDGET FRIENDLY: HOLIDOG
One of the main reasons why Holidog is a budget-friendly alternative is that it does not take a commission from its pet care providers, thereby letting the dog walkers charge a lesser fee as compared to other dog walking apps. It is also the very few dog-walking companies that do not have a mobile app. Dog parents can log in to the Holidog website using a web browser to book services
The pricing on Holidog tends to hover between $15 to $20 for a 20-minute walk and a bit more for 30 minutes.
- They are more economical compared to several other dog-walking apps
- Provides a more personalized experience as compared to traditional dog walkers
- Holidog offers boarding, sitting, and in-home visits in addition to walks
- Their professionals are vetted before they are approved
- Has a membership option, which is more economical in the long run
- The dog walkers are not obligated to match the market rates, hence some of them may set sky-high rates
- The Holivet guarantee covers your animal at 100% in case of an accident.
- Because each walker decides whether to accept your assignment, booking early is a must. It can take around 24 hours for many to reply to bookings
Average customer rating: 3.7/5 Stars (8200+ reviews)
MOST VERSATILE: WAG!
Wag is another versatile app to provide pet parents with on-demand dog walking, boarding, sitting and training. With a clean and user-friendly interface, Wag is an app that focuses on safeguarding both its buyers and vendors. From GPS-tracked walks and customized lockboxes, to set-it-and-forget-it booking, Wag! is a one-stop shop for pet care, walking, pet health and training, thereby making being a Pet Parent relatively easy.
Wag! matches the market rate with the average start of about $20 per 30-minute walk and increases depending on the requirements
- Dog walking on Wag! is trackable on GPS, thereby enabling pet parents to make sure that their pooch is receiving ample exercise
- Includes a weekly activity report, a feature not available in most dog-walking apps and platforms
- The app is iOS and Android friendly
- The company’s CSR initiative is on point with donations made towards feeding rescue pups
- Criminal background checks conducted
- Wag! offers lockboxes to Pet Parents for a small fee as a convenient and safe home access method for Pet Caregivers
- In the rare event that there is damage to a pet parent’s home, they may be protected by Wag!’s property damage protection
- On-demand bookings aren’t available in all areas
- There have been complaints about Wag!’s poor customer service
- The on-demand feature doesn’t always allow pet parents to book walkers of their choice
- While they may be great for medium and large urban areas, they aren’t as effective and dependable in smaller areas
Average customer review: 3.6 /5 Stars (4900+ reviews)
BEST ON-DEMAND: PETBACKER.COM
Petbacker’s core focus remains connecting pet owners to a community of like-minded pet lovers who are willing to provide pet services such as dog walking, house sitting, boarding etc. Once a pet parent fills in the required details, Petbacker sends this information out to several available pet lovers within the selected radius. Within moments, the pet parent gets quotes and details of what’s included directly in the PetBacker app and email. These quotes include a profile of the person and what they offer, complete with ratings and reviews. This app is great for on-demand dog walking as it saves pet parents the trouble of scouting for service providers and actually does all the work for them.
The price of a 30-minute walk on Petbacker starts at around 15$.
- On-demand care requires no appointment for clients to book their pet’s walk at any time of day or night
- has one of the most thorough review systems of any dog walking service.
- Has the option to sign up for monthly subscriptions for people who need dog walkers on a regular basis
- Provides basic insurance coverage for every job free of charge
- They believe in giving back to the community. If a pet parent donates to a charity through PetBacker, they get a 5% discount voucher
- Caregivers have the option of sharing updates on the app
- Great for globe trotters! In 70+ countries
- Communication can only be done through the app
- Choices can be limited in some areas
Average customer rating: 3.8/5 Stars
BEST ODD-HOURS: FETCH
Fetch is one of the most flexible, reliable and trustworthy dog-walking apps in the market. Fetch’s goal is to make it as easy as possible for pet parents to schedule and receive pet care with the ideal service provider. With locations across the country and thousands of professionals who service Fetch clients and pets, Fetch has a record of being available whenever and wherever pet parents need them – even during those all-important holidays.
Fetch starts at around $15 to $20 for a 20-minute walk and a bit more (about $30) for 30 minutes. The charges could vary depending on factors like the experience of the walker, the needs of the pet parent, last-minute booking etc.
- All dog walkers must pass a mandatory background check
- Accepts last-minute bookings
- All dog walkers have to go through an in-depth interview process
- Facilitates a meet and greet
- Pet taxis for nondrivers
- All dog walkers are required to provide any essential personal information.
- All walkers are required to be bonded and insured.
Average customer rating: 4/5 Stars
Finding the right fit for you and your dog can take some time and research. But is absolutely worth it in the end knowing that your pooch is safe hands. Be crystal clear on your requirements and remember that trust and safety are the two most important factors when it comes to choosing the right dog walker.