If you are a pet owner with a full daily schedule who has difficulty finding time to walk your dog, you may want to consider using a dog walking service. We have some helpful guidelines for locating a service that will meet your needs and give you peace of mind, while getting your beloved pet the exercise he needs.
What should I look for when choosing a service?
There are many things to consider when you are selecting a dog walker. Just as you would a babysitter for a child, you will want to make sure that you research this thoroughly and patiently. Here are some things to look for:
- Do you love animals? Although it may seem silly to ask such a question, the obvious answer may not always be the one you get. If the person does not seem enthusiastic, or express a passion for animals, then you may not be able to expect the same level of care for your pet that you would give him yourself.
- Are you registered with a pet care organization such as NAPPS (National Association of Pet Sitters)? This organization is a valuable resource for not only choosing a pet sitter/walker, but also provides good information and training for those interested in pet sitting.
- Are you licensed and bonded? This information should be readily available and easily offered. If you find it difficult to get this information, you may want to make a different selection.
- How long have you been working as a pet sitter/walker? They should be able to answer without hesitation and also willingly provide references if needed of current and past clients. If they do not have this information, you may want to consider choosing a different service. Previous or current clients will be able to give you an honest evaluation.
- What equipment do you provide, or will I have to provide it myself? Most services provide the necessary leashes and equipment necessary to care for your pet.
- Will you be the same sitter/walker I get each time I request service? This will be important to pet owners who have pets with special personalities, who are high strung or may be wary of strangers. A pet owner likes to feel comfortable with a familiar face as well.
- Do you have experience with various dog breeds? A pet sitter/walker will be able to handle any size dog, as well as have knowledge about important behaviors and details specific to certain breeds, in order to be well prepared for any canine encounters or incidents that would need special handling. Here are some examples:
- Are you familiar with which breeds may not interact well together?
- Can you handle a dog if he suddenly becomes aggressive?
- Are you prepared to clean up my dog’s waste while out walking, as required by local laws?
- Do you know what to do if my dog suffers heat stroke in extreme temperatures?
- My female dog is in heat, are you capable of handling any dogs who may become interested?
- Do you know first aid? You want to make sure that if your pet becomes sick or injured, that the sitter/walker will know how to handle the situation quickly and effectively in order to get the best care for your dog.
- Are you willing to follow any special instructions I may give you? This will be important if your dog has special needs that require he be handled with special instructions.
What are some benefits of a dog walking service?
Indoor cats can usually find ways to entertain and amuse themselves when no one is around. The amount of energy they need to expend is easily released by a quick run through the house or a mischievous hunt looking for nothing in particular. Dogs on the other hand need daily exercise and don’t find it quite so easy to entertain themselves or burn off excess energy. A dog walking service provides the following:
- Your dog gets an opportunity to romp and play, which will keep him from getting too bored which could result in him finding negative ways to burn off excess energy, and possibly develop unacceptable behaviors to get attention.
- An opportunity for your dog to relieve himself rather than be cooped up indoors for hours and hours till you return from work, or someone comes home to take him outdoors.
- Your dog will get the necessary exercise to keep him happy, healthy and in good physical shape.
- You will have peace of mind knowing your pet is being well taken care of and enjoying some companionship while you are away from him.
Do you use a pet walker? Are you happy with the experience? Share with us in the comments!