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How Does a Professional Toronto Dog Walker Keep my Dog Safe?

There’s been a lot of buzz lately about dog walkers and safety, after a dog was lost while in the care of a negligent dog walker.

Understandably, many concerned pet parents have voiced a certain distrust for ALL dog walking services. I want you to know that you don’t need to be so afraid. Don’t let one bad apple keep you rushing home to let Fido out during your lunch break.

There are so many reputable and responsible professional dog walkers in Toronto who take the safety of their charges extremely seriously. All of them have policies and procedures designed to keep your dogs safe. I could write another full article on how to find a reputable dog walker, but I think that’s for another day!

While I can’t speak for all professional dog walkers, I can spell out what we do at PetsGo. I want to share the pet safety method I designed, thanks to years of first-hand experience, and with the help and feedback of professional pet care associations.

Before the Walk

We arm ourselves with knowledge

You might be surprised to hear that our safety policy actually starts MUCH earlier than the actual dog walk:

  • Our dog walkers go through a 10 hour intensive Pet First Aid course before they’re allowed to care for your pets
  • They carry a pet first aid kit at all times, which is clipped to their belt while walking dogs
  • Our sign-up process includes a detailed form asking clients to list any fear/anxiety issues, any triggers that may cause a dog to bolt, microchip number, license tags, commands, as well as a mandatory veterinary release form
  • When we arrive to walk your dog, we enter your home carefully, closing the door quickly behind us. We do this with all dogs, not just the ones known to bolt
  • We ensure all harnesses, collars, leashes are in working order and properly fitting, and that the collar has an ID tag
  • We ensure the leash is clasped to the D ring of a collar, not the weaker tag ring (yes, this is actually in our procedures manual!)

During the Walk

We are alert and attentive

  • Dogs stay on leash 100% of the time. It’s our policy
  • We avoid crossing paths with other dogs, especially if they’re off-leash
  • We’re very careful when crossing the street. We don’t allow your dog to start crossing until we do
  • We’re always aware of, and actively avoid dangers such as glass, garbage, food, dead animals, pavement salt, etc.
  • We don’t allow dogs to drink from puddles or any water source known to contain Giardia
  • We give our full undivided attention to your dog. That means you’ll never see a PetsGo walker wearing earbuds, eating, texting, smoking, or chatting on the phone with their best friend

After the Walk

Final checks

  • We will not unclasp a leash until the dog is safely inside the house and the door is closed. We do this even if we know your dog won’t go anywhere
  • We always perform a quick wellness check for any visible injuries, limping, fleas or ticks
  • We make sure to wipe your dog’s paws if we walked on salty pavement

It was my aim with this article to give you a sense of hope and relief that yes, there are responsible dog walkers out there.

While dog walking is a largely unregulated industry, the most reputable businesses work hard to set their own professional standards.

Even if PetsGo is not for you, please feel free to reach out and I will personally recommend a reputable professional dog walker who will put your pet’s safety and security first!

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