Dog walker equipment – all you need to know
As in any profession, dog handlers must have the right dog walker equipment to do the job.
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While these are not the same things you need for office work, it will be much easier to store these basics and help you prepare for any situation that Snoopy or Bouncer may throw at you.
The same tips apply to your own dogs.
Have you given enough thought to your own pet’s health and well-being? Just as you should have a good health insurance scheme protecting your body, there’s a way to get proper professional health insurance for dogs.
On the walking path
Having a balance between various dogs’ inherent personalities and tendencies requires more than just the best dog walker equipment, especially for new customers.
Dogs you do not know need special attention.
There are products you can buy that will make your life as a professional dog walker easier.
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Dogs want to go for walks to communicate with the environment, hang out with other dogs and practice sports.
The next time you take clients’ dogs with you to smell and enjoy the wonderful outdoor space, you should have the necessary dog walker equipment and accessories with you.
One of the best joys for you is when you can earn your crust and at the same time find a place to walk on a shady path with a bunch of loving, even if sometimes stubborn, dogs.
While walking can be exciting and relaxing, it can quickly become a nightmare if you do not have the right dog walker equipment for dog walking.
When walking with a dog, follow a routine not only for when and for how long you run, but also for what dog walker gear you need to take with you.
You start off thinking simply in terms of a leash, but what other important things should you always have with you?
Selecting the proper dog walker gear
Everything you need for you and the dogs is not suitable to be carried in your pockets when you leave the house.
And how likely are you to have everything if you left home without the clothes you wore yesterday!
Whether you’ve recently taken on a new dog, are still deciding what to use, or want to remodel your inventory of dog walking equipment, it’s important to know the pros and cons of dog harnesses and collars before making a decision.
The dog walker equipment you should bring with your dog depends on where you are going, the season and the weather, but a few important things should always be with you.
Choosing harnesses or collars for your dog walkers gear
The two types of accessories to be included in your dog walker equipment that you can use are harnesses and collars.
Since different dogs have different needs, you should be considering carrying both in your inventory of dog walkers equipment.
The positive aspects of harnesses make them the automatic choice for your professional dog walkers equipment.
Harnesses reduce pressure because the harness covers a dog’s chest, shoulders and back and distributes pressure over a larger area, allowing the dog walker better control.
To further reduce pressure when a dog pulls, the strain on the leash forces it to go back to its controller.
Dogs can only go on if they stop tugging.
Harnesses don’t apply excess pressure on the dog’s neck.
Since it is located around the dog’s chest and not around the neck, they do not pinch the trachea. This makes them a better choice for animals with neck problems, an altered trachea, or a narrowed airway. What’s more, harnesses can also help prevent these problems.
Harnesses are generally safer because the dogs are better protected from accidents.
Since dogs may more easily slip out of their collars and possibly enter a roadway or a private garden, harnesses offer much greater security.
The following is a list of basic dog walker gear for taking dogs walking:
Dog walker supplies
- dog treats
- dog waste bags and a poop-bag carrier.
- hand wipes or tissues
- water for your dogs plus foldable or disposable water bowls
- citronella spray, basically just as a deterrent for preventing a dog fight. It’s gentler than pepper spray that dogs don’t like but doesn’t harm them; or pepper spray, if allowed it’s in your state.
- photos of your dogs uploaded to your phone(s) to show around in the immediate area if an animal is lost.
- your dogs’ rabies certificate and immunization records loaded on your phone(s). They’re needed for the occasional hotel or event check-in with your dog. They’re vital in case of a visit to a vet clinic.
- Your own personal identification card with descriptions of the dogs that should be with you and number to contact in case you are disabled.
Dog walker equipment
- a range of walking dog harnesses matching your client dogs’ size, build and strength
- a range of spare leashes and harnesses in case one breaks, matching your client dogs’ size, build and strength
- a spare fully-charged cell phone preloaded with emergency numbers, including an emergency contact for you and including local vets
- clickers or whistles if your dogs are clicker trained.
- a harness for carrying a dog
- a fully-equipped first aid kit
- flashlight and reflectors if you’re walking at night, with small lights that can clip on your bag and the dogs’ harnesses.
- a backpack or fanny pack for carrying it all.
Things to keep in mind while ticking off which items in these lists are relevant to you as a professional dog walker.
You need to be able to put your hands on each one of them when it’s needed.
And dog walker equipment for the vehicle
If part of your dog walking business is picking up your clients’ animals and taking them to their favorite walking path or down to the river or the seaside, then you may have to first invest in items like:
- a variety of crash-tested car harnesses suitable for your vehicle as well as matching your client dogs’ size, build and strength
- crates and carriers that can be securely attached in a car.
This is necessary for two reasons.
Firstly, there are different laws in the various states regarding dogs transported in cars.
You are expected to know their laws! In some states, cities and towns, dogs are prohibited from riding unrestrained. In others, if a dog is found unrestrained, a police officer can cite you for distracted driving. Some jurisdictions have proposed new legislation in this area, so keep your eyes open.
Secondly, having a dog unrestrained in a vehicle that is involved in an accident can result in serious harm to the animal, even death.
Since you will be the one responsible for the pet at the time of the accident, regardless of who was at fault, you need to have taken the necessary care to prevent the harm, and harnessing or crating is considered to be the only proper step.
If you are running a pet taxi service, then you are probably also needing the same equipment.
But have you considered the other parts of your operation that need to be insured? Take a look at our article on Pet Taxi insurance for a full explanation of what the costs and benefits of this policy are,
How much could it cost to replace all this dog walker equipment?
Leashes and harnesses for multiple sizes and breeds can end up in you having to invest in an inventory, costing hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Clients may provide you their own leash but not everyone has a good-enough leash to suit your job, so bringing your own leash eliminates any variables.
First aid kits give you and your clients a degree of safety that you are prepared for anything when walking dogs professionally.
Fully-equipped first aid kits designed for pets are a must-have item for any professional dog walker, and you could be spending upwards of $60 for the suitable kit.
You never know when one of your dogs can suffer some injury.
As a dog walker you may be working routinely at night and in all kinds of weather.
This can result in unexpected situations for you and the dog, leaving out in the falling light.
While walking dogs in rain, snow, or in the dark, if you wear reflective clothing, drivers, bikers, and runners can see you and avoid a collision. This can add up to some serious dollars.
You would also need a flashlight to see where you are going and decrease the risk of a car hitting you or one of your dogs.
A storm can blow in without you expecting it, and a dog with a thinner coat might be left freezing, shivering and in serious danger of illness.
Adaptable coats are essential if there’s a chance of change in the weather. It’s better to be prepared, keep the dog safe, and not have to cancel the outing at the mere threat of snowfall.
Given the need for protection against attack, you should keep both yourself and your dogs safe.
Carry a self-defense weapon on you to ensure complete safety against both humans and aggressive dogs.
Why you need insurance for professional dog walking
While on the subject of dog walking products, dog walkers insurance must be included in your inventory.
In case a dog you are exercising sustains an injury and you must take it to the vet, you may need to be covered for the costs, which can quickly mount up.
If you are entrusted with the house key and lose it or it’s stolen, it needs to be rekeyed, which could cost upwards of a few hundred dollars.
If you are sued for some injury to a dog and found liable, then General Liability insurance keeps you covered up to $1,000,000.
Do you need other specific insurance?
The moment you are doing some activity like dog walking in return for payment, you are in business.
This means that any private insurance of your property, and the insurance cover of articles in your vehicle, becomes void.
If the car or van is stolen, or totaled in an accident, or burned out in an arson attack, you could end up having to recreate your whole dog walking equipment inventory from scratch, costing you thousands of dollars.
You need to make sure that you add Commercial Vehicle insurance.
If one of the pets entrusted to your care is lost, hurt or kidnapped, you could very well be held liable for damages if the client claims it was due to your negligence or mistake.
For this, you should be looking at Professional Liability insurance.
How much can insuring all of the dog walker equipment cost?
The total cost will depend very much on the values you are seeking to cover.
If you have a large business, maybe working full-time can necessitate a range of equipment enough for a few dozen dogs, which can quickly add up to ten thousand dollars.
You can keep the cost of insurance down to a minimum by agreeing to a relatively small deductible on each claim.
Insurance companies like this because it reduces the number of frivolous claims they have to deal with.
Talk to your insurance agent, broker or insurance representative to put together the best package that you can afford.
Like any business that has to invest in equipment to run, you should take steps to protect that investment against unexpected loss.
The correct dog walker gear will keep you safe and prepared for almost anything.
It keeps your client’s good graces, and they will continue using you.
With a small monthly payment, you will have peace of mind and be able to concentrate on making your dog walking enterprise enjoyable and profitable no matter what