Want to learn how to get paid walking dogs? I’ve put together the best dog walking apps to help you turn your love for furry friends into money!
In the United States, nearly one in five households got a new dog or cat during the height of the pandemic. Almost three-quarters of US households now have at least one pet, and well over half have a dog. Moreover, Americans spent an unbelievable $123.6 billion on their pets in 2021!
This means that now is the perfect time for dog lovers to turn this passion into a profitable side hustle or even a full-time job.
How do you do it? As COVID recedes, and those who bought a pet during lockdowns can spend less time with them, the popularity of dog walking apps is spiking dramatically.
There has never been a better opportunity to get paid to walk dogs and earn extra cash doing something you love.
So which are the best dog walking apps to make money in 2022?
Read below to find out.
What is a dog walker?
Across most urban and suburban areas, many people are looking for someone to walk their dog for them. This can be:
- During the day, when they are working.
- In the evenings, when they’re out socializing.
- For extended periods while they travel.
- At any other moment, they simply don’t have the time.
Because these pet parents love their pets, they are willing to pay well for it.
This is where you come in. Becoming a professional dog walker and getting paid to walk people’s dogs is so easy. And the rise of dog walking apps means a totally flexible way to earn extra money while getting exercise and spending time with furry friends.
No wonder dog walking is now one of the best low-cost small business ideas out there.
What does a dog walker do?
The answer is not simply ‘walk dogs for money.’
As a dog walker, you will be responsible for planning walk routes and outings to dog parks. You will look after the dog’s health: make sure it stays safe when it is with you and clean up after it. Plus, you will have to construct and coordinate a schedule, look after lockboxes, as well as find and book clients, and receive payments.
Anyone looking to get paid to walk dogs needs to go into it with a full understanding of what the job entails.
There is a way to streamline all of these things in one place and make the entire process so much easier: dog walking apps!
The Best Dog Walking Apps to Make Money
BEST FOR: Finding the biggest base of potential clients (largest dog walking app in the world).
Rover calls itself the “world’s largest network of 5-star pet sitters and dog walkers.” And with good reason. Rover provides services through its website and the Rover app to over 1 million pet owners every month in all 50 US states and nine other countries in North America and Europe.
Their strong brand recognition means most dog owners head to the platform as a first option when seeking services. For dog walkers, this means the largest potential customer base and the highest odds of finding the perfect opportunity for you.
To get started, simply sign up and complete a background check (which costs $25), and you will be ready to walk dogs for money!
On Rover, you set your own rates and schedule. And after you complete a walk, your payment will be available for withdrawal directly to your bank account two days later.
Note that Rover will take a 20% commission on every sale you make. If this sounds high, weigh it against what Rover provides in exchange for their cut. Remember, dog walking is not merely about walking.
Rover connects you with customers and provides a secure system for receiving payments. They provide 24/7 customer support, frequently updated pet education resources, and even live vet advice during your dog walks.
Perhaps most importantly, they give you access to the Rover Guarantee.
This is an insurance program that covers vet care that dogs may need during walks, as well as accidental damage to a pet owner’s home done by a walker. This is crucial peace of mind for both owner and walker in the unpredictable world of dog walking.
Click here to join Rover now.
BEST FOR: Best for booking pet caregivers near you, but very high commission fee (40%!).
It’s available in over 8,000 cities across 50 US states.
To join, you must first pass a knowledge test on safety and pet care, then complete a background check (which costs $25).
From there, you can create your own schedule and will receive your earnings once a week through the Payable app.
While Wag! does not offer anything as comprehensive as the Rover Guarantee, they do allow you to compare and purchase discounted insurance plans independently.
However, the main thing which puts Wag! behind Rover is that they take a somewhat mind-boggling 40% of all your earnings. They do allow you to keep 100% of any tips earned from customers, which is nice, but essentially means you will be working for tips.
Click here to join Wag now.
BEST FOR: Finding local pet care services for your best friend.
Around since 2002, Fetch! is one of the oldest and most established players in the dog walking game.
They are a bit different from Wag! and Rover in that they operate through local franchise owners all over the US. To check if there is one in your area, simply go to Fetch! and put in your zip code.
To walk dogs for Fetch!, you must first fill out an online application and complete a background check. Then go through an in-depth interview process with your local franchise owner.
This means it may be more difficult and take a bit longer to start with Fetch! But their more locally based approach may be perfect for some.
Click here to join Fetch now.
BEST FOR: Finding side hustles (including dog walking) and making extra money.
Launched in 2017 to help Americans “steady” their income, the Steady app is a database of side income opportunities. This includes job listings, grants, bonuses, and financial resources. Simply, it is an all-encompassing platform to make extra money.
This includes ways to make money for dog walking. In effect, Steady acts as an aggregator of other dog walking services on this list. They bring together many choices in one place to broaden your opportunities to get paid.
Click here to join Steady now.
BEST FOR: Finding jobs as a local pet sitter, groomer, and dog walker.
Available in 50 countries across North and South America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Oceania, Petbacker is truly global. Yet, it’s not just quantity but quality.
For one, Petbacker offers premium insurance coverage for all services booked through their site.
They also provide dog walkers with badges based on their commitment and success. This gives the best walkers an easy way to tangibly showcase their ability to potential customers and make more money.
Plus, though they start by taking 25% of your earnings, this can go down to 15% as you gain experience.
Note, though, that only 30% of applicants make the cut.
Click here to join Petbacker now.
BEST FOR: Finding jobs as a trusted caregiver, including pet care.
Care.com provides care services for children, the elderly, and, yes, pets to some 35 million members across 20 countries and all 50 US states.
To apply to become a dog walker with Care.com, just submit your zip code and pass a background check. From there, you can book as many or as few dog walking jobs as you like.
Unlike some of the others on this list, Care.com takes no commission, and their basic membership tier is totally free. However, if you are going to make money dog walking through Care.com, you will want to sign up for their premium membership to fully access all the features the site offers.
Starting at $13 per month for a year (or $39 for one month), the membership allows you to communicate more freely with a wider range of potential customers. Plus, they’ll promote your profile in local searches.
Click here to join Care.com now.
BEST FOR: Least expensive dog walking app to try out.
Available in the US and Europe, as well as Brazil and Australia, Holidog is the easiest and least expensive dog walking app you can start with.
There are no background checks or tests to pass. All you need to do is sign up, provide your information and fill in your profile. And you’re ready to go!
Plus, Holidog does not take a commission from dog walkers or even charge for membership. Instead, they charge pet owners a membership fee to use their platform.
Some people question what type of safety a platform that doesn’t at least conduct background checks would be able to provide people’s cherished pets. But if you want to walk dogs for money right away, without investment, Holidog might be for you.
Click here to join Holidog now.
BEST FOR: Finding a job as a pet sitter if you are in New York City or Miami.
Though it is only available in New York City and Miami, Swifto deserves a place on this list because of its upscale reputation. Swifto is for high-level dog walkers. In fact, they advertise that they only accept 1% of dog walkers who apply.
However, if you are accepted, Swifto is a place where you can get paid to walk dogs immediately.
They actually require that you complete at least 15 dog walks each week. So don’t apply unless you are ready to put in at least that amount of time. But this means no hunting around trying to find clients when you first start. With Swifto, you will have work and a few hundred extra dollars each week, guaranteed.
From there, you can take up to 40 walks per week.
Swifto covers everything with its comprehensive insurance policy.
Click here to join Swifto now.
9. Barkly Pets
BEST FOR: Commission-free dog walking jobs (you just need to pay a $10 processing fee when you join).
Available across the US, Barkly Pets‘ claim to fame is their commission-free approach and low membership fees. Simply pay a $10 processing fee when you join, then don’t pay anything more until you earn $100 per month. Once you do, you will have to pay a membership fee of $8.50 per month.
For many, this is a great way to start, with no commission eating into profits and no upfront investment until your business is off the ground.
Another benefit of Barkly Pets is their strong commitment to safety. They boast that they have the industry’s “best safety record since 2015.” And they back this up by offering dog walkers a large discount on pet first aid and CPR certification courses.
Click here to join Barkly Pets now.
BEST FOR: Finding jobs as a petsitter outside the US (Europe, Asia, Australia).
This is the only one of the dog walking apps to make money on this list that is not available in the US.
Pawshake operates in countries across Europe and Asia, as well as in Australia.
To apply, you must go through a “strict vetting process” – Pawshake says they only accept 15% of applicants. From there, you set your own schedule and rates, and Pawshake will take 19% of your earnings in commission.
Working with Pawshake means getting the Pawshake Guarantee on all dog walks. This insurance will cover veterinary costs should a dog fall ill or get injured on a walk.
Click here to join Pawshake now.
BEST FOR: GPS-based social app to help you start your dog walking business. Free six-month trial.
For dog owners, it is a place to connect with other dog owners in the neighborhood for walks and playdates. But for dog walkers, Paway provides everything necessary for an effective dog walking business.
Not only can you find customers and collect payments through the platform, but Paway uses crowdsourced data to provide comprehensive neighborhood information.
This includes hazards like strays or wild animal sightings, services like public water sources or poop bag dispensers, and even the temperament of dogs walking near you.
But here is the best part. Because Paway is relatively new in the game, they offer dog walkers six months of their highest-level ‘expert’ membership for free.
After that, their basic membership is always free, and Paway takes no commission, while tiers of paid membership range from $20 to $80 per month.
Click here to join Paway now.
Alternatives to dog walking apps
If you prefer to act as an independent contractor rather than through dog walking apps, you can still make money walking dogs. Many have had success with their own business as freelance dog walkers in their neighborhood using word of mouth, social media, and even their own website.
It is definitely possible to make money for dog walking without the backing of an app. It’s just that these apps make things so much easier, streamlining all the complex aspects of a dog walking business in one place.
Apps like Rover, which connects you with customers and provides a secure system for receiving payments, give you access to comprehensive insurance through the Rover Guarantee, and even provide education resources and live vet advice during walks.
On the other hand, maybe you like the sound of the apps on this list but are wondering if you can do more with them than just walking dogs.
The answer is yes!
Many offer the opportunity to book gigs for additional services other than just walking. You can look into becoming a pet sitter, boarding, drop-ins, and even doggy daycare.
Many also provide the opportunity to care for pets other than dogs. Most usually cats, but also all sorts of other animals.
As the Rover CEO put it, “we’ve also had horses, pot-bellied pigs, hamsters, snakes, lizards, and even pet shrimp, which I didn’t know was a thing.”
How to start a dog walking business
Remember, a dog walking business is about more than just walking.
It’s finding and booking clients and processing payments. It’s constructing and coordinating a schedule and planning walk routes and outings to dog parks; it’s looking after the health and safety of someone’s cherished pet.
Make sure you are ready for these things before starting a dog walking business.
Though it is not required in most cases, you may also want to get some training or certification before you get started, such as in pet first aid. Training will make you more capable, confident, and appealing to potential customers.
But from there, it is simply a matter of picking an app from this list and getting started. Even better, sign up for a few and see which works best for you!
According to sources across the industry, dog walkers using the apps on this list will usually earn a rate between $12-$20 for a 30-minute walk. Supposing 15 walks in a week – the minimum allowed on a platform like Swifto and a good starting point for those just beginning – this would mean something like an extra $200-$300 each week.
However, the amount you can make will fluctuate depending on where you live. It is not unusual for dog walkers in pricier places like New York City or San Francisco to make $30 or more for a short walk. Moreover, more experienced dog walkers can charge more, meaning you may increase your rates as you gain experience.
An inspiring example: Jen Tserng started dog walking on Rover as a side hustle but managed to quit her job as a doctor to walk and pet sits dogs full time, and according to CNBC, makes over 100k a year!
Different dog walking apps will be more or less lucrative for each dog walker depending on where they live, their availability, and their experience.
Beyond just signing up for several apps and seeing which works best for you, the best way to look at which app pays the most might be by considering which app will be able to provide you with the most quality work in your area. In this case, Rover might be the best place to start. As the largest community and most established brand, your chances of finding more lucrative and enjoyable dog walking gigs may be highest there.
In the US, the answer is generally no. You do not need a license to become a dog walker. However, checking your local regulations wherever you live is a good idea.
In addition, though you might not need a license, training and certification are always a benefit. They will not only make you more capable and confident but will increase the confidence that potential customers have in you, allowing you to increase your hourly rate.
In most jurisdictions, the answer is yes; dog walkers need insurance. But again, it is always best to check local regulations.
The good news is that many dog walking apps provide insurance as part of their service or provide access to discounted rates on the insurance that you can buy independently.
If you’re using an app, make sure you’re covered. And if you’re starting your own independent dog walking business, make sure you get insurance.
Many of the apps on this list allow you to offer a variety of pet services in addition to dog walking. This includes dog sitting, boarding, drop-ins, and even doggy daycare. These things are often more lucrative than dog walking, so they may be something to consider if you have the spare time and the means.
Many apps on this list also provide the opportunity to care for pets other than dogs, from cats to “horses, pot-bellied pigs, hamsters, snakes, lizards, and even pet shrimp.”
It’s time to get paid to walk dogs using the best dog walking apps!
As a generation of COVID pets and their service-desperate owners flood the market, the era of the freelance dog walker is upon us.
If you want to get paid to walk dogs, now is the time to start. The only thing left to do is choose an app from this list, or choose three or four, and begin to make money walking dogs!
And do not be afraid to tell me about your new furry friends in the comments below. Though I respond to every comment, I will especially respond to those comments.
And hey, did you know that you can get paid to walk, even if you aren’t with a dog?