Are dog walking apps safe? This is a question that has been on the minds of many pet owners who lead busy lives and want to make sure their furry friends are getting the exercise and attention they need. While using a dog walking app can be a convenient way to find a walker for your pup, it’s important to take safety precautions to ensure that your pet is in good hands.
In this article, we’ll explore the safety concerns surrounding dog-walking apps and provide tips on how to minimize risks before entrusting your beloved pet to a stranger.
Understanding the Risks of Using Dog Walking Apps
What Are Dog Walking Apps?
Dog walking apps are online platforms that connect pet owners with local dog walkers. These apps allow pet owners to book walks for their dogs, track their pets’ progress, and communicate with the dog walker. Some popular dog walking apps include Rover, Wag!, and Fetch!.
The Pros and Cons of Using Dog Walking Apps
One of the main benefits of using a dog walking app is convenience. With just a few taps on your smartphone, you can find a dog walker for your pet in a matter of minutes. Additionally, many dog walking apps offer flexible scheduling, so you can book walks for your dog when it’s most convenient for you.
However, there are also some downsides to using dog walking apps. For one, not all dog walkers on these apps are trained professionals. This means that some may not have the knowledge or skills needed to handle your pet properly, which can lead to injuries or other problems. Additionally, because dog walking apps are largely unregulated, it can be difficult to determine the quality of the service you’re getting.
The Risks of Using Dog Walking Apps
Perhaps the biggest risk of using a dog walking app is the potential for your pet to be mistreated or harmed by the walker. In some cases, walkers may not follow proper safety procedures or may not have the necessary equipment to keep your pet secure. They may also not be familiar with the area and may put your pet in danger by walking them in unsafe areas. In rare cases, there have been reports of walkers stealing or even harming pets.
Additionally, dog walking apps may not always provide adequate vetting for their walkers. While many apps claim to perform background checks and verify the qualifications of their walkers, the level of screening can vary widely between apps. Some may only conduct basic background checks, while others may not screen their walkers at all.
This lack of regulation and oversight can make it difficult for pet owners to determine the level of risk involved in using a dog walking app. However, there are steps you can take to minimize the risks and ensure that your pet is in good hands.
How to Choose a Reliable Dog Walking Service
Research the Company’s Reputation
Before using a dog walking app, it’s important to research the company’s reputation. Look for reviews from other pet owners who have used the service and check the company’s rating with the Better Business Bureau. This can give you an idea of the quality of service you can expect and help you avoid companies with a history of negative reviews or complaints.
Check for Certification and Insurance
A reliable dog walking service should be certified and insured. Certification ensures that the walker has received proper training and is qualified to handle your pet. Insurance provides protection in case your pet is injured or the walker causes damage to your property. Make sure to ask the company for proof of certification and insurance before booking a walk.
Interview the Dog Walker
If possible, try to interview the dog walker before booking a walk. This can give you a chance to get to know the walker and ask questions about their experience and qualifications. You can also observe how they interact with your pet and ensure that they are a good fit.
Read Reviews and Ask for References
Before booking a walk, be sure to read reviews of the dog walker or company. You can also ask for references from other pet owners who have used the service. This can help you get a sense of the walker’s reliability and the quality of service you can expect.
Consider Using a GPS Tracking Service
Many dog walking apps now offer GPS tracking services, which can help you monitor your pet’s walk in real-time. This can give you peace of mind and ensure that your pet is safe and secure while on the walk.
Tips for Ensuring Your Dog’s Safety While Using a Dog Walking App
Provide Detailed Instructions for the Walker
Before the walk, be sure to provide the walker with detailed instructions for your pet’s care. This can include information about any health issues, dietary restrictions, or behavior problems. You should also provide instructions on how to handle your pet in different situations, such as encountering other dogs or people.
Monitor the Walk Using a Video Camera or GPS Tracker
If you’re concerned about your pet’s safety, you can consider using a video camera or GPS tracker to monitor the walk. Many dog walking apps now offer these services, which can give you real-time updates on your pet’s location and activities.
Stay in Touch with the Walker During the Walk
While your pet is on the walk, it’s important to stay in touch with the walker. You can ask for updates on how the walk is going and ensure that your pet is safe and happy. If you have any concerns or questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to the walker.
Set Clear Boundaries for Your Dog’s Walk
Before the walk, be sure to set clear boundaries for your pet’s walk. This can include the length of the walk, the areas where your pet is allowed to go, and any special instructions for the walker. By setting clear boundaries, you can ensure that your pet is safe and that the walker is following your instructions.
Frequently Asked Questions about Dog Walking Apps(FAQs)
What Should I Do if My Dog Gets Injured During a Walk?
If your dog gets injured during a walk, the first step is to seek medical attention for your pet. Contact your veterinarian or an emergency veterinary clinic immediately. You should also contact the dog walking app and inform them of the situation. If the injury was the result of the walker’s negligence, you may be able to pursue legal action against the walker or the company.
What if My Dog Doesn’t Like the Walker?
If your dog doesn’t like the walker, it’s important to address the situation immediately. A dog that is uncomfortable or fearful around a walker can become agitated and may even become aggressive. You should communicate your concerns to the walker and, if necessary, request a different walker or cancel the service.
Can I Request a Specific Walker?
Many dog walking apps allow you to request a specific walker. If you have had a positive experience with a particular walker, you can request that walker for future walks. However, keep in mind that the walker’s availability may vary, so it may not always be possible to get the same walker.
What if the Walker Doesn’t Show Up?
If the walker doesn’t show up for the scheduled walk, you should contact the dog walking app immediately. They may be able to provide a substitute walker or reschedule the walk for a later time. If the walker consistently fails to show up for scheduled walks, you may need to consider using a different dog walking app or service.
Is it Safe to Use a Dog Walking App for Late-Night Walks?
Using a dog walking app for late-night walks can be risky, as there is a greater potential for danger or crime during these hours. If you must use a dog walking app for late-night walks, be sure to choose a well-lit and safe route and monitor the walk closely using a GPS tracker or other monitoring tool.
In conclusion, using a dog walking app can be a convenient way to find a walker for your furry friend. However, it’s important to take safety precautions to ensure that your pet is in good hands. By researching the company’s reputation, choosing a reliable dog walking service, and monitoring the walk closely, you can minimize the risks and ensure that your pet is safe and happy while on the walk.
Remember, your pet’s safety should always be your top priority. If you have any concerns about using a dog walking app, it may be best to consider alternative options, such as hiring a professional dog walker or enlisting the help of a trusted friend or family member. With the right precautions and care, you can ensure that your pet gets the exercise and attention they need while staying safe and secure.