We understand that you are a dog-walking aficionado, and you just can’t wait to get out and hit the town with your furry friends! However, do keep in mind that it is a good idea to not go overboard. While you may be tempted to take 10 eager and excited puppies out for a stroll, for safety concerns, we may want to reconsider the idea. The answer to this question may vary depending on whom you ask.
The average dog walker walks about 13 to 14 dogs a day, but we do advise that you spread the puppy love throughout the day! The National Association of Pet Sitters and Dog Walkers, or NARPS, suggests that a maximum of four dogs be walked at a time. However, please keep in mind that local regulations and ordinances apply in your city. In some major US cities, like San Francisco, the limit is set to eight dogs per walk. This can be done by an experienced dog walker, somewhat daunting for me!
Most of these regulations stem from safety concerns. It is a good idea to check your city’s guidelines beforehand to ensure your dog-walking activities remain legal. Before heading out the door, there are important aspects of dog walking that you want to consider. The number of dogs you can walk at a time while remaining in control and handling any situation that may arise. We will also be taking a look at dog walking from the lens of quality over quality.
We will also briefly dive into why it is important to have dog walking insurance in place before walking with your furry friends. Should an incident occur, you want to be well prepared and protected.
Dog Walking Insurance
Before you get too excited and run off with a few puppies, there are a couple of business matters to settle. A highly important matter is insurance. You want to be fully prepared in the event of an unexpected incident. Insurance will cover a range of things. From your safety, the safety of others, and ensuring any damages caused by one of the dogs while in your care. Damages can cost thousands, so it is better to be prepared.
Also, consider insuring your dog mode of transportation. You will more than likely frequently come across scenarios where pets will have to be transported from one place to another. Possible scenarios include transporting dogs to the dog park if there isn’t a dog park near your area of coverage. Also, if the pet owner requests that
Before You Can Obtain Dog Walking Insurance…
Several business matters have to be resolved before obtaining business insurance. First, you will have to decide what kind of legal form your business will take.
One option is a sole proprietorship. If you decide to operate your business as such, you should consider a DBA (doing business as) or a fictitious business name. If you decide to take your doggy walking business down this route, your fictitious business name can be filed with your county recorder or clerk.
A dog walking business isn’t likely to need a federal license to operate. However, it is required by law, to have a federal and state tax ID number. This number is referred to as the EIN. If you are operating under a sole proprietorship, your social security number will suffice.
Once the EIN is established, and all steps are complete, you will be able to open a business bank account. Once the business bank account is obtained, you will have all the prerequisites to obtain your pet business insurance!
Pet Business Insurance
Once you have achieved all of the above-mentioned prerequisites, it is time to take a closer look at dog walking insurance. Pet businesses come in a wide range of variety and sizes, most offering vastly different services, so understanding what type of insurance your business needs specifically is very important.
Aside from pet walking services, a dog walking business will usually offer other types of services including pet grooming, pet boarding, and pet sitting.
There are various types of pet business insurance, so you’ll have to decide which features and coverage are best suited for your business.
Public Liability Insurance
For dog walking, this is essential. This type of business protects your business when a claim is filed alleging you or one of your dogs, while in your care, damaged their property or inflicted bodily harm. Dog walkers, groomers, sitters, and boarders all often opt to go with this policy due to its affordability and its coverage. This insurance type covers the most common issues in the dog walking field!
These are possible scenarios covered by this insurance type:
- Someone is hurt by a dog while in your care. Perhaps a dog bites someone at your pet boarding facility or bites someone in public while on a walk or run. The policy may help pay for medical expenses.
- A dog is hurt at your place of business. Perhaps a dog falls off the grooming table and breaks his back. The policy may cover his surgery.
- A dog is hurt while outside your place of busines Perhaps, while on a walk or a run at the dog park, the dog accidentally breaks its leg. The policy may cover the veterinarian trip.
One notion to always keep in mind, no matter how behaved a pet may be, animals are unpredictable. Any of the situations listed above will lead to a costly and expensive lawsuit. If your dog walking business is not properly insured, the cost will come directly out of pocket for the uninsured pet business owners.
Now That You Are Fully Insured
Now that the business Insurance stuff is out of the way, back to dog walking. We are fully aware that your emotions run high when it comes to puppies!
While it is tempting to follow the adage ‘the more the merrier’ when it comes to dog-walking, we advise you to rethink the following.
Too Many at Once
Imagine the scenario where one is walking eight dogs at once. It is a beautiful sunny day, the dogs and puppies are all full of energy and angst. All of them are pulling and tugging at their leashes due to seeing something that resembles food. With all pulling and tugging at you, who is walking who? Their leashes would get tangled and possibly cause you to stumble and fall.
This scenario did unfold and an elderly 71-year-old dog walker in San Francisco, California fell 200 feet down a ravine when the dog leashes tangled her. When rescuers came to her rescue, they found all dogs huddled around her, protecting her from the cold. The dog walker, along with her six companions, were all well and sound. While the incident resulted in a heart-warming scenario, it does bring attention to what might happen if the dog walker takes on more than they can handle.
Walking too many dogs at once is also a question of how much attention and quality service you are dedicating to each dog. Perhaps walking 2 or 3 at a time would greatly increase your care towards each. Less number means increased attention, being more tentative to their needs and playtime, as well as properly disposing of their waste. In essence, you will be doing yourself a favor if you were to walk dogs in fewer numbers.
Quality over Quantity
Walking dogs in fewer numbers may even prove to be a great marketing tactic. To state that your dog will be given more personalized attention when out for walks and playtime may resonate with the more hardcore furry kids! You can state that you will play with their dog using their favorite toy.
Walking fewer dogs at once will also allow you to pay more individual attention to each, including bringing their favorite owner-approved treats along for the walk and playtime. Now, this is superb customer satisfaction!
More personalized care translates into higher rates, this can be a great business model. Remember, quality over quantity.
We recommend that before diving into the world of dog walking, you check your local city council ordinances. Such ordinances will include certain regulations regarding the number of dogs you can walk at a time and the length of the dog leashes. There are also certain rules imposed on the dog walker, such as cleaning up after every dog while out for a walk and properly disposing of the waste.
Let’s Take a Stroll!
Dog walking is a great service for pet owners that don’t necessarily have the time to walk their precious furry friends. As a dog walker, you are responsible for catering and caring for their furry kids. Now that we are fully insured, and now that we know the pros and cons of walking too many of our furry friends at once, let’s grab our toys and treats and head out the door!