Why hire a dog walker: is it the right decision for you?
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If health-related difficulties, your lifestyle or your career are making it difficult for you to get your dog the proper outdoor exercise they need, you might be considering hiring a dog walker. Hiring a dog walker can be a great way to help your pup stay happy and healthy when you can't take them outside yourself. But if you've never hired a dog walker, you might not know where to start. Here, we'll explore the benefits and drawbacks of hiring a dog walker and whether or not you need one.
The Benefits of Hiring a Dog Walker
There are many benefits to finding the right person to walk your dog when you're unable, with positive impacts on you and your furry friend alike. Among them:
- Your dog's health: In fact, Almost half of dogs in Australia are overweight or obese which is a major health concern. Left untreated, it can lead to a series of serious diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, and heart and respiratory conditions, to name just a few. By ensuring your dog is walked a minimum of three times each day for at least 20 minutes per walk, you're adding quality years to their life.
- Your dog's behavior: Your dog's behaviour: When your dog has a healthy outlet for their energy, they are more likely to relax at home. That means you'll worry less about anxious, aggressive or destructive behaviours like biting, chewing on furniture or shoes, urinating or defecating indoors.
- Your stress levels: No matter why you're considering hiring a dog walker, knowing that you've found someone that you can trust to care for your pup and make sure they get their exercise means you can breathe a little easier.
The Drawbacks of Hiring a Dog Walker
Although the benefits of hiring a dog walker far outweigh the drawbacks, dog walkers aren't the perfect choice for everyone and there are some key things to consider when thinking about whether you really need a dog walker or not. Some drawbacks include:
- They're not a one-size-fits-all solution: For dogs who require one walk a day, or two walks a day for three days a week, a dog walker might be the perfect solution. But if you have an especially high-energy pup who needs extended attention and playtime, a dog walker might not be the best fit for you.
- You may have to trust a stranger: The best dog walkers will be consummate professionals who love and understand animals and will treat yours with all the care in the world. But, let's face it: the idea of giving someone new the key to your home can be unnerving at first. Having someone walk your pup, also likely means inviting them into your home when you are not there to get your dog, which even the most trusting people can find a little unnerving.
- Added costs: Because you are hiring someone to walk your dog, you are also paying them for this service. The cost of getting your dog their needed exercise, should go into your decision to hire a dog walker and should be included in your pet (as well as your personal) budget considerations. Hiring the cheapest dog walker isn't always the best idea, but it also doesn't mean that they won't do a great job; the same can be said of more premium dog walkers — just because they cost more doesn't guarantee they are the best for you and your dog.
Finding a Dog Walker
When the time comes to find the right dog walker for you, there are many options that you could take. Firstly, it would be good to seek recommendations by talking to other dog owners as well as friends to see if they have any useful suggestions. There are also many dog walking communities throughout Australia, where their walkers are reviewed and approved as responsible dog lovers, who will be able to offer services to help your dog find their perfect dog walking companion. Alternatively, your veterinarian or groomer might also have some recommendations of people near you.
Erin Ollila is a pet enthusiast who believes in the power of words and how a message can inform—and even transform—its intended audience. Her writing can be found all over the internet and in print, and includes interviews, ghostwriting, blog posts, and creative nonfiction. Erin is a geek for SEO and all things social media. She graduated from Fairfield University with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. Reach out to her on Twitter @ReinventingErin or learn more about her at http://erinollila.com.