Animal Care

How to Start a Dog Walking Business

Ricky Kambray
Ricky Kambray

Dog walking has become an increasingly popular business in the UK as busy pet owners seek reliable and trustworthy people to care for their furry companions. If you have a passion for dogs and enjoy spending time outdoors, starting a dog walking business could be a rewarding and profitable venture. That’s what this blog is all about: a discussion on how to start a dog walking business in the UK right now.

By carefully considering the essential steps outlined in this comprehensive guide on how to become a licensed dog walker and how to set up a dog walking business, you can lay the foundation for success.

We will start with qualifications.

Close-up of a female dog trainer running with a dog outdoors.

How to Start a Dog Walking Business in the UK?

People may want to be dog walkers for different reasons. It could be because they love dogs, enjoy being active, or want to make some extra money. Studies indicate that dog walking jobs can pay around £22,044 per year.

Starting a dog walking business isn’t always easy. There are important factors to think about before you begin. Let’s guide you through the steps you can take before becoming a professional dog walking business owner.

blog-star Are you interested in a career in dog care? Wondering how to excel in the field?

Well, check out Study Plex! We have an online opportunity for a Dog Grooming, Dog Behaviour and Dog First Aid Course Diploma. This course will help you learn about dog senses and communication, develop dog behaviour, manage issues, and master grooming techniques. Prepare for a dog care career, including first aid and safe travel knowledge.


While there are no formal qualifications required for setting up a dog walking business in the UK, possessing certain skills and experience can be highly beneficial for your success. Here’s a detailed breakdown of the qualifications you may want to consider:

  • Dog Handling and Training: You should be comfortable handling dogs of various breeds, sizes, and temperaments. Familiarity with basic dog training techniques, such as leash training and obedience commands, will be invaluable.
  • Pet Care and Welfare: A strong understanding of animal care, including nutrition, grooming, and identification of the signs of illness, is crucial for ensuring the well-being of the dogs under your care.
  • Emergency Procedures: Being prepared for potential emergencies, such as dog bites, injuries, or allergic reactions, is essential. Know how to administer basic first aid and have access to emergency contact information for veterinarians.
  • Communication and Interpersonal Skills: Effective communication with dog owners is essential for building trust and ensuring satisfaction. You should be able to understand their needs, preferences, and any special instructions regarding their dogs.

Close-up of a male dog trainer training two pitbull dogs.

Relevant Experience

Having experience in dog walking is essential in the dog walking business plan. It helps you understand dogs well, gain clients’ trust, and makes your dog walking business successful and dependable. Here’s how you can acquire the relevant experience effectively.

  • Volunteering at Animal Shelters: Volunteering at animal shelters provides hands-on experience working with different breeds, assessing their needs, and following proper care procedures.
  • Working as a Kennel Attendant: Kennel attendant experience exposes you to daily dog care routines, including feeding, grooming, and handling multiple dogs in a structured environment.
  • Raising Your Own Dogs: Raising your own dogs provides valuable insights into dog behaviour, training techniques, and the overall responsibilities of dog ownership.
  • Offer Small Pet Sitting Services for Friends and Family: Start by offering dog walking services to friends and family members. This will provide you with a real-world opportunity to practice your skills, build confidence, and receive feedback from trusted individuals.
  • Consider Working as a Dog Walker for an Established Company: If you seek professional guidance and structured training, consider working as a dog walker for an established company. This will provide you with mentorship from experienced professionals, exposure to various dog walking scenarios, and opportunities to learn from industry best practices.
  • Professional Dog Walking Courses: While not mandatory, enrolling in professional dog walking courses can provide additional knowledge, certifications, and networking opportunities for starting a dog sitting business or pet sitting business.

Close-up of a male dog trainer training two dogs outdoors.

Complying with the Law

As a dog walker in the UK, you are considered a self-employed individual and are responsible for registering with HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) to pay taxes and National Insurance. This involves obtaining a Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number and completing self-assessment tax returns annually.

Furthermore, it is important to maintain accurate details of your income and expenses for tax purposes. This includes maintaining a detailed log of your dog walking services, including the dates, times, and fees for each walk.

Public Liability Insurance

There are certain risks in every business. So, consider the risks of starting a dog walking business too. For example, to protect yourself from financial liability in the event of an injury or accident, it is essential to obtain public liability insurance. This dog walking business insurance covers you against claims arising from bodily injury or property damage done by you or the dogs under your care.

Business Regulations

Although there are no specific business regulations for dog walkers in the UK, it is advisable to familiarise yourself with the Control of Dogs Order 1992. This order outlines general guidelines for dog ownership and public safety, including keeping dogs under control in public places.

Local Regulations

Some local councils may have additional regulations or bylaws pertaining to dog walking businesses. Check with your local council to ensure you are compliant with any additional requirements in your area. You can also use your local dog walking businesses as reference models.

Deciding the Number of Dogs You Can Walk

Determining the appropriate number of dogs you can comfortably and safely handle is crucial for providing quality care and ensuring your own well-being. Several factors influence this decision, including:

  • Your Experience: As a beginner, start with a smaller number of dogs to gain confidence and experience. Gradually increase your clientele as you become more comfortable handling multiple dogs simultaneously.
  • Your Fitness Level: Dog walking can be physically demanding, especially if you are handling multiple dogs simultaneously. Consider your fitness level and ability to manage the physical demands of the job.
  • The Type of Dogs You Are Walking: Different breeds and sizes of dogs require varying levels of attention and effort. Consider the specific needs and temperaments of the dogs you are walking when determining your capacity.
  • Your Time Management Skills: Effective time management is essential for managing multiple dog walks efficiently. Ensure you have the skills and resources to handle multiple schedules, travel between locations, and provide adequate care for each dog.

Mastering how to train your dog to ignore other dogs is crucial for a successful dog care career. Read our insightful blog to gain a detailed understanding of this important aspect.

Considering Business Costs

Launching a dog walking business involves various startup costs that need to be considered and factored into your pricing structure. These costs may include things like dog walking business insurance. Here’s a list of those:

  • Public Liability Insurance: As discussed before in our “Complying with the Law” section of this blog.
  • Professional pet sitter certification: While not mandatory, obtaining professional certification can enhance your credibility and attract more clients.
  • Business cards and marketing materials: As a self-employed, dogwalker cards (eye-catching business cards) and promotional materials are vital to advertise your services and reach potential clients.
  • Dog walking supplies: Invest in essential supplies like leashes, harnesses, poop bags, and first-aid kits to ensure proper care and safety during walks.

Are you wondering, “How to bell train a dog?” Visit our insightful blog to get a detailed guide.

Sketch of a male dog trainer walking a dog with a hat on.

Terms of Service

To establish clear expectations and protect yourself legally, it’s crucial to develop a comprehensive terms of service document. This document should outline:

  • Cancellation policy: Clearly define your cancellation policy, including notice periods and refund procedures.
  • Payment terms: Specify payment methods, due dates, and any applicable late fees.
  • Emergency procedures: Establish clear guidelines for handling emergencies, including contact information for veterinarians and emergency services.
  • Dog owner responsibilities: Outline the responsibilities of dog owners, such as providing accurate information about their dogs’ needs and ensuring proper vaccinations.

Building the Brand

Creating a strong and recognisable brand is essential for differentiating your dog walking business and attracting clients. This involves:

  • Firstly, selecting a captivating business name is crucial. Opt for a name that is both memorable and distinctive.
  • Secondly, crafting a dog walking business logo plays a vital role. Design a professional and visually engaging emblem that not only embodies your brand identity but also communicates trustworthiness to your audience.
  • Finally, creating a website is important. Make a website that’s easy to use, shares info about your services and how to contact you, and shows what clients say about your work.

Business Promotion

Effectively promoting your dog walking company or pet-sitting business is crucial for attracting clients and building a successful venture. Consider these strategies:

  • Networking with local pet businesses.
  • Distributing flyers and business cards.
  • Creating a social media presence.
  • Offering free trial walks.


How profitable is a dog walking business?

The profitability of a dog walking business will depend on a number of factors, such as your rates, the number of dogs you walk, and your overhead costs. However, with careful management, you can earn a good living from dog walking.

How much do I get paid to walk a dog?

The average yearly salary for dog walking in the UK is £26,325. However, this range varies depending on your experience, the location, and the type of service you provide.

How do I start my own dog walking?

To start your own dog walking business, you will need to:

  • Get experience working with dogs
  • Comply with the law
  • Decide on the number of dogs you can walk
  • Consider business costs
  • Create terms of service
  • Build your brand
  • Promote your business
  • Get dog walking insurance

We have discussed the whole thing quite comprehensively in the blog, do consider giving it a read.

What are the risks of starting a dog walking business?

Dog walking businesses involve physical activity, interaction with animals, and potential property damage risks. Ensure your safety and liability protection by being trained in dog handling, prioritising safety measures, and obtaining comprehensive insurance coverage.

What are the rules for dog walking?

Responsible dog walking practices in the UK include leash control, proper waste disposal, awareness of surroundings, controlled dog socialisation, and ensuring proper vaccinations and registration.

Is dog walking a good idea?

Yes, dog walking can be a great idea, combining a love for dogs with a potential income.


Starting a dog walking business can be a rewarding and profitable venture, allowing you to combine your passion for animals with an opportunity to earn an income.

By carefully considering the essential steps outlined in this comprehensive guide on how to start a dog walking business, you can lay the foundation for success.

Gain valuable experience, establish a strong brand, implement effective marketing strategies, and ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements.

With dedication, hard work, and a genuine love for dogs, you can build a thriving dog walking business that provides exceptional care for furry companions while achieving your entrepreneurial goals.

Like This Article?

Share it on social.

Ricky Kambray

Hey this is Ricky Kambray an award-winning first-aid trainer with over 20 years of healthcare and teaching expertise. Highly certified general nurse regularly appears in the press discussing accident prevention and first aid advice.