Moving to New York City with your canine companion comes with a unique set of challenges for both owner and pet. There’s not a lot in the way of open spaces, much less a back yard, to let a dog run off the dog leash and burn off the energy they’ve accumulated. Meanwhile, you most likely work long hours and don’t enjoy the thought of leaving your dog unattended for most of the day. Getting a dog walker is a good solution, but finding one can be as stressful as finding a babysitter. Ultimately, is getting a dog walker worth the effort? Following is some insight into the pros and cons of hiring a dog walker.
Why Hire a Dog Walker?
Dogs benefit from regular exercise. It keeps them mentally stimulated, healthy, and trim. Even the biggest couch potato of a pooch enjoys stretching her legs during the time you’re normally at work. An experienced dog walker can read your dog’s body language and give them the kind of activity they need to blow off extra energy or stick to a measured pace that’s perfect for a less-enthusiastic dog.
Using an App to Find a Dog Walker
Sometimes using an agency or turning to Craigslist to find a dog walker doesn’t pan out. The agency may not have enough walkers available and Craigslist comes with its own issues. Dog walking apps put you directly in contact with someone who can quickly reach your residence and has their experience and availability stated upfront. Apps tend to have reviews from satisfied customers for each walker along with feedback. And if you have a dog with special needs, you can find someone who is capable of handling those needs through the app. Following are some apps to help you find a dog walker for iOS and Android:
- Wag! Focuses on connecting you with the best dog walkers in your area
- PetBacker Has walkers who compete with bids to walk your dog
- Rover – Features walkers who can walk your dog at the last minute
Benefits of Hiring Someone To Walk Your Dog
Dogs are natural travelers and function best with regular exercise. One of the reasons why dogs were domesticated is because they’re capable of traveling for miles at the side of their owners. Urban living means that dogs can’t get as much exercise as you might like. A dog walker can get your dog out of the house for a while, help keep them in shape, prevent obesity, and help stimulate their minds. In turn, you get the peace of mind knowing that your dog isn’t stuck inside all day with no one to offer stimulation and companionship. And if you find that you want to give your dog the ultimate walk, there are plenty of trails within reach of New York City that are dog-friendly.
Drawbacks of Hiring a Dog Walker
One of the most obvious drawbacks to hiring a dog walker is that you’re letting a relative stranger into your house. You don’t know if the person you’re giving your keys to is someone who’s honest or is hiding their true intentions. It is true that dog walkers go through a background check no matter if they’re working for an agency or through an app. But you can’t always be sure of their character even with a background check. A walker may not have the intent to steal, but they may not put in the effort to do right by your dog, either. That means you’re paying for services, but not seeing the benefit of your investment.
Will Your Dog Get What They Need From Being Walked?
It’s safe to assume that a walker will get your dog out of the house, toileted, and provide interaction. But not all dogs are the same and you should make sure that you find a dog walker who understands the needs of your dog. If you have a high-energy dog that needs to go for an extended walk or should be taken to a dog park for games of fetch, you want a dog walker who understands those needs. Not all walkers have the skills or training to handle a special needs dog.
Take the time to talk to a dog walker about your dog and what you expect from their services. You want to make sure the basics are covered at the very least so your dog doesn’t have to spend all day inside.
How Much Does it Cost?
The average cost of a dog walking session is anywhere from $20 a half-hour to $60 for full hour. The prices are highly dependent on the dog’s needs, what you want the walker to do when they pick up your dog, during the walk and when they return. Walkers can take dogs to the park, get them groomed, and some will take your dog on a run. The more services you ask for, the higher the price.
The location also plays a role in the cost. If you’re living in an area that has a high demand for dog walkers like Manhattan, you can expect to pay more because there are fewer walkers available. Alternatively, if you live in the outer boroughs, you may pay less because there’s less demand.
If you have more than one dog, you can expect to pay more for both dogs to be walked, but there may be a price break because there are two dogs.
In conclusion, dog walkers are worth it. There are many reputable people out there who are interested in taking care of your dog according to your instructions and nothing more. You benefit by having less stress over your dog being stuck inside all day. Meanwhile, your dog gets to burn off energy and relax until you get home.