Dogs are just pets to some, but for the dog owner Fido is a significant part of the family and deserves the kind of treatment you would give to any family member. You know it is important for your dog to get the exercise they need and in your absence a reliable dog walking service is worth their weight in gold. Choosing the right service is essential for your dog and your peace of mind just as you would choose a babysitter for your child. Let’s look at 7 tips when choosing a dog walking service.
1. The best way to find a dog walking service is by word of mouth. Ask family, friends and co-workers for recommendations. They may work with a dog walking service or know someone who does and they will be happy to pass along a good reference or tell you who to stay away from. If you bring your dog to a grooming professional or veterinarian they will also most likely have a good suggestion.
2. It is important to check a dog walking service’s references. Even if family, friends and co-workers highly recommend the service, it is always a good idea to check with a third-party. At VIP Pet Services we are always happy to provide multiple references, so please ask!
3. Make sure the dog walking service is properly insured and bonded. This is to protect all involved. It is critical the individual dog walkers have undergone a criminal background check, which all VIP pet sitters/walkers are required to have prior to employment.
4. Ask about the dog walker’s dog training and background. It is important the dog walker has some training with dogs. Walking a dog is more than holding the leash and leading them around the neighborhood. If the service has multiple dog walkers, it is important to know if the same person will be walking your dog. Always inquire if the walking service has a backup plan in place in the event your dog walker cannot walk your dog on a particular day.
5. It is essential to know where the dog will be walking. If the dog is skittish around children or aggressive, the park will not be the best option. If the dog is known to play well with others, a dog park will be the ideal choice. It is important for you to communicate your dog’s likes and dislikes to the walking service.
6. Another essential thing to know is if your dog will be walking with a pack of dogs or will your dog make the trip solo. If your dog will walk with others, how does the walking service decide which dogs walk together? Does the walking service check the health and immunization records of all dogs they walk? Dogs are social animals and not all dogs like each other and get along. To avoid pack walking conflicts and possible health issues VIP Pet Services only walks dogs individually.
7. Emergencies arise from time to time, even with dogs. Ask the dog walking service if they are trained in doggie first aid. If anything of a serious nature were to happen to your dog, first aid or CPR might save your pet’s life. However, pet first aid is never a substitute for veterinary care.