What I'm talking about here are government Orders that define which jobs are seen as “essential” and can continue to operate during a shelter in place, lockdown, or similar situation. My hope in sharing this is that it will help you determine if dog walkers are considered “essential” or “key” workers in your own area as well as to share the considerations and factors I looked at while making my decision, so you can make the best choice for your business.
Keep in mind things may be wildly different based on your location and this is simply the experience I had here in Marin County, California. I can only share my personal experience and recommendations from being under a shelter in place order for the past week, reading Orders and FAQ's for multiple counties, and speaking to my local human health services.
You'll probably be able to find it online by doing a search for “shelter in place order + your county (or your city or town)”. The Order may include verbiage telling you if dog walkers are considered essential.
If it doesn't mention professional dog walking, or it's unclear on whether any reference to pet care would apply to you, you can look for an FAQ about the Order. The County websites I've looked at include both the order and an FAQ clarifying it further.
When contacting my human health services, there was confusion with the rep I spoke with too, who initially said she thought professional dog walking was OK. After putting me on hold and speaking with a supervisor, I was told they would be updating the FAQ to address this and to check back later.
So there's still some gray area here since we have to interpret what exactly “health and sanitation” means as well as “non-essential” home services. As a business owner, it's up to you to do your due diligence to ensure you're complying with any public health Orders that may be enacted, so if you aren't sure, the best course of action is to contact an agency who can tell you.
Even though I directed you to find out if it is legal to continue walking first, health and safety should be your top priorities. All business owners should put the health and safety of themselves, their staff, their clients, and their communities ahead of all else.
Can the dog's most basic needs, such as access to food and water be met without your service? Since my clients are all working from home, they can take care of their own dogs' basic needs, and then some.
Working with Dog has complied a list of resources for pet professionals, including companies that are offering financial relief. Dog walkers visit the homes of their clients to take dogs out for daily exercise.
Check dogs' food and water supply to make sure basic needs are met after walks. Notify owners and pursue veterinary attention for any dog that becomes sick or injured under their supervision.
This allows the dog walking business to serve a greater number of clients and potentially expand their service area. Some dog walkers also choose to offer additional services such as pet sitting and grooming.
Or Rover, which connect dog walkers with those in need of walks for a portion of their earnings. The amount of money a dog walker earns will vary depending on the number of clients serviced each day, the number of dogs walked at each location, the length of the walk desired by the client, and the standard pay rate in that specific area.
Owners are more comfortable leaving their animals in the care of those with some sort of veterinary background. A dog walker must be very familiar with canine behavior, basic care, and first aid.
Compassion : You must always treat the dogs you walk with care, kindness, and respect. This illness is caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2, a novel coronavirus that has not previously been identified in humans.
In addition to physical distancing, wearing a face mask can reduce the spread of COVID-19. You should wear a face mask whenever you are in public or interacting with others, especially if you cannot maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from others.
If you interact with them while picking up or dropping off their dog, you should wear a face mask and attempt to stand at least 6 feet apart during conversation. People frequently shed the virus without showing any symptoms of disease, so it is important to practice physical distancing even with clients who appear healthy.
There have been a limited number of reports of dogs and cats testing positive for COVID-19, after being infected by their owners. At this time, it is unknown whether an infected dog or cat could pass the virus to another human.
Keep in mind that to date, there are millions of human cases of COVID-19 worldwide, and fewer than 100 cats and dogs have tested positive, many of which have not exhibited signs or become ill. If the client is home, maintain a distance of at least 6 feet and wear a face mask.
Limit close contact with pets belonging to individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19. Having information about your clients’ health can help you avoid taking unnecessary risks.
Avoid being in proximity with the client and, if you must interact at a distance, ensure that both of you are wearing masks. Clients at high risk of occupational exposure also deserve special consideration.
Consider walking these dogs later in the day, in order to minimize potential spread to other homes. Finally, if you develop any signs of COVID-19, including cough, fever, and/or shortness of breath, it is important that you stay home from work.
Hand sanitizer is now flying off the shelves as people try to protect themselves against COVID-19, while calls to NHS 111 is on the rise. Coronavirus UK: It is still safe to take your dog out in groups (Image: GETTY) Caroline Real, Head of Veterinary Services at Blue Cross told Express.co.UK it is safe to take your dogs out in a group in most circumstances.
“However, as with people, if you become sick with the virus it is recommended that to limit contact with pets and other animals and, where possible, have another member of your household care for them. Coronavirus UK: Dogs cannot pass COVID-19 to humans (Image: GETTY) The signs of coronavirus can easily be confused with other diseases, so pet owners are advised to seek veterinary advice if your cat or dog has diarrhea that does not resolve within 24 hours, or is associated with significant lethargy or loss of appetite.
Coronavirus UK: There is no evidence at this time that dogs can be the source of infection (Image: GETTY) A statement confirms there is still no evidence at this time that dogs and cats could be a source of infection to other animals or humans.
The World Small Animal Veterinary Association urges pet owners in areas where there are known human cases of COVID-19 to continue to follow the information in its Advisory, including washing their hands when interacting with their pets and, if sick, wearing face masks around them. “Further advice from the World Small Animal Veterinary Association is that there is currently no evidence that pets can be infected with Covid-19 and this remains the case at the time of commenting.
“The reported case of the Pomeranian dog in Hong Kong is undergoing further tests, and it would be inappropriate to speculate until we know more. Three successful dog walkers have shared with us key insights into what they can potentially make a year by putting one foot in front of the other, including what other expenses you may incur and what your career may look like as your business grows.
How much you’re going to make as a dog walker will depend on a lot of factors. Heather Doll, co-owner of Roughly Dog Walking in New York City, started out as a dog walker with her roommate and grew her business into a company of 50 dog walkers.
If you’re working for a company that takes a cut of your pay, your salary will obviously be less, but you won’t have to do any of the scheduling, job finding, etc. In Washington, D.C., where Jacob Hensley started his business District Dogs in 2014, he says dogwalkerscan make a solid annual salary if they work smart by doing group walks with two or three dogs at a time, charging $15 for 15 minutes.
According to Liza Anger, who purchased the dog walking/pet sitting business Walks of Nature in New Hartford, Connecticut, in November, you can make approximately $700 a week working for her dog walking service if you work Monday through Friday. That would total $33,600 a year, not including taxes, but that could be more if you work for yourself and pocket all your earnings.
Additionally, some dog walkers will set a weekly or monthly rate with their clients, rather than billing for individual walks. “When we first started out our overhead basically consisted of poop bags and key tags,” says Doll, who left her advertising job in 2007 to start dog walking full-time.
As long as you’re doing the hard work, really getting out there, publicizing your business and really making yourself stand out, that’s really important.” You may need to work two jobs or find other sources of income before you really start to make a living at dog walking.
Anger found dog walking to be a great gig as a student. “While I was in school and dog walking, in a whole year I made like $6,000 to $8,000, which for a student is great.
But if you’re only going to walk part-time, and you want to be able to afford a mortgage and car payment, as well, then you need to be able to commit a lot more time to it.” “If you’re doing overnights , as well, that would also be a lot more income, because those are significantly more than a midday visit,” Anger says.
“Owners lose their jobs and can ’t afford dog walking anymore. If you need a stable and consistent income every week of the year, dog walking might not be for you, Anger says.