Many pet parents agree their four-legged friends are not just pets but also beloved family members. But, for some, their passion for furry hounds runs much deeper and unable to get enough canine adoration at home, they turn their love for dogs into the perfect entrepreneurial solution. Yes, dog walking can be a lucrative business opportunity, and with around 63 million US households owning a minimum of one hound each, it's easy to sniff out why!
Add this to the fact that most pet parents run busy, chaotic households impacting their ability to provide their hounds with regular exercise and fresh air, and you have the reason why dog walkers in the US are in such demand. But, while you may think starting a dog walking business is as easy as grabbing your dog leash and hitting the adventure trail, there's a little more to it than that. From insurance to essential dog walking supplies, this Mountain Hound blog post highlights everything you need to know about how to become a professional dog walker.
US Dog Walking Laws
Dog walking laws and rules per US state vary, so it is essential to learn your state's specific regulations and laws before starting your business.
Most US states require dog walkers to obtain a business license, and some insist on additional permits. For example, Massachusetts requires commercial dog walkers to apply for a commercial dog walking permit.
Other states may require a license to be obtained by the dog walker when walking more than a specific number of dogs at once. For instance, certain municipalities in California require dog walkers to obtain a permit to walk four or more dogs at a time. Other regulatory requirements may include having general liability insurance and complying with healthy and safety rules and regulations.
How Many Hounds is Too Many When Dog Walking?
Many US states limit the number of dogs you can walk at once, with the majority allowing dog walkers to walk up to six dogs. However, some municipalities restrict the number of dogs to three or four. It is always a good idea to check the rules and regulations regarding dog walking in your area and comply with them to avoid any un-pocket friendly fines!
Do You Need Insurance When Hound Walking?
While dog walking is potentially an excellent business opportunity, it does come with certain risks. Therefore, getting the right insurance is essential as it protects dog walkers from claims that can arise from dog bites, property damage, and loss or injury to the dog under their care while out adventuring. For example, professional dog walkers should have pet safety insurance, including liability insurance, injury coverage, and property damage coverage.
Below are 5 top US dog insurance providers; click on each link to learn more:
What Pet Parents Look for in a Reputable Dog Walker
It's good to know what pet parents look for in a reputable dog walker, especially if you want to be the first one they hire!
- Qualifications – Pet parents want to ensure they are hiring a reliable, trustworthy, and experienced dog walker.
- Experience - Reputable dog walkers should have at least one year of experience in dog care and proper training. This expertise can include basic hound first aid and CPR training, an understanding of animal behavior, and the ability to diffuse conflict and chaos when walking multiple dogs.
- Good Reviews - Keep in mind most pet owners look for dog walkers with positive online reviews and testimonials from community members.
Dog Walking Essentials Every Dog Walker Should Have
Certain hound accessories are necessary to ensure your safety, as the dog walker and the furry canines under your care.
- A sturdy, reliable leash
- A replacement collar
- Biodegradable dog poo bags and holder
- Fanny Pack
- Dog treats
- First aid kit
- Outdoor all-weather coat and boots
Additionally, equipment, such as our Mountain Hound trailblazer dog pack, a collapsible water bowl, and paw balm, are excellent dog accessories to have on 'paw' when adventuring with multiple hounds.
Ideal Beauty Spots for Hound Adventuring
As a dog walker, you'll need to have knowledge of some great hound-friendly locations in your area for hound adventuring; below are 4 awesome locations to consider:
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Tennessee and North Carolina) - 100 miles of hound-friendly walking trails and magnificent views.
- Acadia National Park (Maine) – offers dog-friendly trails and camping grounds.
- Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona) - offers several pet-friendly hiking trails, including the Rim Trail.
- Central Park (New York City) - a pet-friendly park with a small dog park, several off-leash areas, and various walking trails.
If you are passionate about hounds, have experience with dog care, and are looking for a way to turn that expertise into a business, professional dog walking provides great paws for consideration. Happy hound adventuring!