How To Start A Dog Walking Business

Do You Need Qualifications To Be A Dog Walker?

How Much To Charge For Dog Walking

Where Can I Find Dog Walking Clients?

Dog walking insurance, designed for you!

More often than not, it starts with a day or two looking after the four-legged friend of a friendly neighbour or local office worker. They have a dog that they love, but simply cannot or do not have the time to get out and give them a decent walk every day. That’s where you come in.

As the resident dog walker, you will know pretty much everything there is to know about dogs. Breed types, what they eat, how much exercise they need, and what to do when they need to go outside. But how do you take your dog expertise and turn it into a business?

This guide aims to obliterate some of the biggest obstacles that may be facing you as a dog walking start-up, looking at the insurance you might need and how to go about getting yourself set up.

First things first, becoming a fully fledged dog walker is akin to being self-employed, and so you are wholly responsible for everything from your insurance to your pay rates, taxes and even your marketing. It sounds like a lot, but if this is something you love doing then investing the time into getting it right is priceless. After all, in the unfortunate case of something going wrong, preparation and an understanding of the options you have will fast become your best friend.

So, lets get started.

Testimonials

Quick and easy quote form enabled me to compare quotes in minutes and find a dog walking policy that included all the tyes of cover i needed and at a very competitive price.

I’ve recommended NHBR to other dog professionals on facebook.

Jane - Essex

Do You Need Insurance for Dog Walking?

Across the board, whether it’s business insurance, car insurance, or even life insurance, the purpose of insurance is to be there in case something goes wrong. As a dog walker you are a trusted member of your client’s inner circle, and you have likely been picked thanks to great reviews or testimonials, and a strong track record. But if something does go wrong, insurance will cover both you and the dogs you are caring for. And it doesn’t stop there.

Perhaps you’re trusted to go into your clients’ homes and collect the dog by yourself? Perhaps you are expected to care for the dog in your home until it is picked up by its owner, or you are asked to complete some dog grooming as well? Whatever your individual scenario, there are likely multiple areas where you need to be adequately covered and protected. Just in case.

The types of insurance cover you need will depend on the size of your proposed business and the area in which you live, although we do recommend opting for at least the basic package of Public Liability Insurance, Care Custody and Control, and Employer’s Liability Insurance.

What Insurance Do You Need for Dog Walking?

There are a number of companies that deal directly with animal-related businesses, such as dog walking, and these are probably the best way to get an accurate quote and the full coverage you need. Different plans and companies will outline different terms and conditions, and so you should definitely invest some time in exploring the options before committing to a particular plan.

The top of our must-have list is public liability insurance for dog walkers. Typically associated with large scale events and venues, public liability insurance is basically a form of cover for any individual or business who comes into contact with the public. If, for example, the dog you are walking became wound up and bit a strangers’ hand, public liability insurance will make sure that you are covered should the blame be directed towards you.

Another sub-heading that’s important as part of your dog walking insurance is Care, Custody and Control – this covers any bills racked up if you need to visit the vet during your period of care, or in the case of something more serious such as theft, loss or death of the animal.

There are other types of cover you could get included as well, and it is worth noting that while these will bump the quote up a bit, they may be a good investment in the long-run; particularly if you plan on growing your business, taking on extra staff members or simply hope to work with a series of clients at any one time.

These include: Employer’s Liability Insurance (vital in the case of additional staff members should your dog walking business grow), Professional Indemnity Insurance (to cover you and your business against any complaints made by clients), and even Key Cover (which will definitely help you out should you lose a clients key or get yourself locked out).

How Much Is Dog Walking Insurance?

This will vary depending on what coverage you seek and which company you go with. Typically, we found dog walking insurance to start at about £100 for a year, although the annual turnover of your business and the trading history will both impact this figure; as will any previous claims made on a dog walking policy. In light of this, always make sure you are transparent with the insurance company from the start.

Dog walking is a line of work that seems easy on the surface, but in fact holds many of its own risks and a great deal of responsibility. In fact, when you start to break it down it can suddenly seem quite overwhelming.

Just think of it like this. If you’re out and about with one or more dogs, unpredictable behaviour is always going to be your biggest challenge – not least how the dogs interact with each other and with other canines you may come across. Without insurance, any accident that involves the dog(s) in your care will become your responsibility; likely culminating in big bills and a lot more stress than you need in a relatively new business.

Cover yourself and make sure you are the best dog walker that you can be – by being prepared and looking into the best dog walking insurance for you.

40 thoughts on “Getting Started With Insurance For Dog Walking

  1. Avatar
    Melanie H says:

    Quick but important question my insurance says that if a dog in my care was stolen the owner must have an original receipt for the cost of the dog?
    Any thoughts 🐾

  2. Avatar
    Donna S says:

    Hi, I’m starting up my own dog walking business Cana anyone recommend what insurance company is best and where o can do a canine first aid course 🐾

  3. Avatar
    Kelly H says:

    Hi – I’m about to offer dog walking and pet care services in my local area. And I was wondering who you all use for public liability insurance? I want to make sure I get the correct cover and for the right things. I would predominantly be dog walking and sitting (in their home) and where needed caring for other pets cats, rabbits etc. I’m also going offer Horse care as a service- I have over 20 years experience working with them.

    Which company would suit my little business the best?

    Any help would be massively appreciated thank you.xx

  4. Avatar
    Katrina S says:

    Going to go ahead with Protectivity for insurance. I’ve seen lots of people talking about a *discount code*, would anybody have one I could use? Is this in addition to the 10% online discount!

    Also, does anyone have a separate personal protection policy? That covers any income lost from illness, as well as injury etc. I know Protectivity has the option but I was hoping there’d be more cover.

    Thanks 🙂 x

  5. Avatar
    Kate C says:

    If a client hasn’t insured their dog, am I still okay to take them on for walks? I have insurance myself as a walker. TIA

    • Avatar
      Debbie W says:

      There are different kinds of insurance, there isn’t any regulation for walking dogs to be insured, it’s a good idea for you to have public liability insurance and the owners could get cover by joining the dogs trust I believe but vet cover isn’t needed for walks, you just need them to sign something to say they will cover the vets bill should it be needed. It’s different for boarding dogs. x

    • Avatar
      Linda W says:

      They don’t need insurance. If an incident happens that you are not liable for, their bills are their problem. If you’re liable, any pet owners insurance might refuse to pay out, or pay out them claim back from you, regardless of what terms and conditions state.

    • Avatar
      Holly S says:

      Yes you can still take a dog that doesn’t have its own personal pet insurance, however just be aware that you have covered yourself in any terms and conditions I. E. For things that could happen anytime, and make sure you are not liable. So if anything does happen they don’t say, well you have insurance, we don’t, so can you claim as we don’t have the money.

  6. Avatar
    Sophie C says:

    Hi. I currently offer dog walking and home visits but notice that some people also offer pet sitting where you stay in the customer’s home for the day or night or more… Do you need different insurance for that than the dog walkers liability insurance? And how much do you charge? Do you treat their home as your base and continue walking other people’s dogs from there? Thanks for any tips or advice. I’m wondering if it’s worth adding this service 🤔🐕🐾

    • Avatar
      Nicky K says:

      Hi Sophie sometimes it’s covered in the insurance. I charge £25 per night but I know others charge more! As a rule don’t leave them for longer than 4hrs so consider that between your walks and visits as it’s not a case of morning evening so that does make it slightly hard work xxx

    • Avatar
      Claire R says:

      I do but find it limits the dogs you can walk in a day. Great if you enjoy being away from home. You should be able to do it under your current insurance and no license required unlike boarding and doggy day care. Try one and see how it goes. Expect to take your own food unless the client offers x

  7. Avatar
    Emily B says:

    Hi everyone 😊

    I’m looking to start as a dog walker soon and was wondering if anyone has any recommendations about what public liability insurance company to go with? Has anyone had experience with different companies?

    Thank you in advance xxx

  8. Avatar
    Charlotte J says:

    Hi, I know this has probably been asked numerous times, but can anyone recommend a good insurance policy that will cover if dogs, in your care, have a fight with one another. I just want to make sure every possible scenario is covered. I’ve read that PetPlan Sanctuary does NOT cover for this.

    Thanks 😊

  9. Avatar
    Joanne R says:

    Hi, Just setting up my business and wondering what are the best insurance companies for dog walking and pet sitting? Is it just public liability you need? Thanks in advance

  10. Avatar
    Emma S says:

    Does your car insurance have to cover carrying dogs. I’ve just rang mine and they said it’s not something they do. Is this something I have to have or are the dogs covered through my public liability insurance?

    • Avatar
      John K says:

      I have insurance for my vehicle that covers the vehicle and it’s contents / cages.

      For the dogs that are under my care is the business insurance that would cover anything that happens with the dogs whilst my care and if because of me being negligent.

    • Avatar
      Graham L says:

      Your vehicle should be insured for business use & if you transport clients dogs to & from Walks yes they need to be covered.

  11. Avatar
    dogwalkingnewbie says:

    I’m starting my own dog walking and home visits with a fun home agility play services. I’m also providing a mobile grooming service to groom at clients homes. Separate to the walking and pop ins.

    I’m dbs checked, qualified groomer, and done a pdsa pets first aid course and canine first aid.

    I will get insurance for walking with public liability – is the home visits and fun-play insurance the same thing? I will get a separate insurance for the grooming.

    Just wondering if anyone could give me a little advise please, as to what paperwork everyone has and where do you find out what to write in them?

    I’m thinking of:

    a contract

    a terms and conditions

    an emergency contact from off clients about their pets health and allergies etc

    Any advice would be greatfully received or points into the right direction.

    Thank you 😊

    • Avatar
      Angie Brown says:

      I have a walking contract, a home visit contract, an owners information form, pet information form, vet release form and then one for agreeing to photos and use of pictures for my website media ect. I found the basic forms online and have edited and added my own things over the years as I have gone along and thought of new things I wanted to add for example not walking in extreme heat, cancellations, trial periods, if walks are to be on lead or off.

      My owner form I have added bits like does anyone else have access to the property example cleaners so I know of anyone else who has a key or could be at the property. These are basic examples of a couple of things I’ve added. I’m insured with cliverton and that covers walks home visits and boarding. As long as you have the main and important bits on your forms you can tweek as you learn and come across anything else you wish to add but obviously if you add items the customers need to re read and sign the up to date copy.

    • Avatar
      Mr Gregg says:

      My insurance covers me for public liability and boarding at home.

      I also condensed my paper work down into 2 forms, 1 t&cs and 1 for contract, vet details, microchip details and all information I need to know about their dog.

  12. Avatar
    Suzie K says:

    My friend has a dog walking business and today one of their dogs they walk was bitten around the eye by another dog in the pack.

    Basically the tooth caused the eye to come out and skin bust . The dog was taken straight to vets and the dog is going to loose it’s eye. They have the pet plan business insurance, she had to pay £1700.

    She came back called the insurance company and they have informed her that it’s not covered. It’s public liability insurance that does not cover dogs in your care , so if something happens between the dogs they are not insured.

    Only if the dog attacks or in a fight with another dog that’s not in your pack !

    • Avatar
      LouiseClark says:

      Are they insured if you only do individuals? So if I walked one dog and they were attacked by another person’s dog in the park ?

    • Avatar
      lovewalkies says:

      My legal friend wrote in my t&c’s that it would be the owner who needed to pay for any injuries caused whilst in my care unless I am deemed to be negligent in how I am walking them. Your insurance covers you if the dogs in your care hurt you or other people/ property I think. Or if they run off I suppose!

    • Avatar
      Zoe K says:

      If two dogs in your care ended up in a fight and one has to go to vets , am I covered ?

      Maybe people can add they response from their insurancers to this post so no on gets caught out like they did , even if you have some kind of waver in your terms and conditions that they have signed

    • Avatar
      Carrie OZ says:

      Probably being a bit thick (😂) so does this mean if I walk say two dogs and those two dogs fight eachother I’m not covered?

      However if I am walking two dogs and they get bitten for example by a dog NOT in my care I am covered?

      I do not pack walk so I’m hoping I’ve got this correct as I am with pet plan 😬

      It is also stated in my T&C that every client has to sign I’m not responsible for any vet bills etc.

      • Avatar
        JonnyL says:

        It means two dogs in your care , if they end up in a fight say in The van or outside , one gets hurt and needs vets , they are not covered .

        I am not sure about the other , it’s a thing you going to have to ask them x

  13. Avatar
    C Mellor says:

    I started in September and have a few regular clients daily & weekly. I bought insurance immediately! Not everyone is nice and will go after you if something goes wrong, its not worth the risk. I also offer pet sitting which is where most of my income comes from!

  14. Avatar
    Joan Green says:

    Do not start walking dogs without insurance! You could lose everything if something goes wrong! Get CPR certified, take some classes in dog behaviour, know how to break up a dog fight, know what to look for in case of illness or injury, make sure you have a contract in place cover and cancellations, late fees, holidays, emergency contacts, medications, etc.

    As far as pricing, check out your local competitors and see what they charge for your area. Keep in mind that you charge based on your experience also.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *