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Dog Walking Insurance

Business insurance for dog walkers

Collette Shackleton
Written by  Collette Shackleton
Alicia Hempsted
Reviewed by  Alicia Hempsted
5 min read
Updated: 09 Apr 2024

Wondering what type of business insurance you need as a dog walker? Our useful guide shows you how to protect your dog walking business, and helps give you and your clients peace of mind when it comes to dog walkers' insurance.

This page gives information about dog walking insurance. This specialist financial product isn't currently available through MoneySuperMarket, but we do offer business insurance.

Dog walking can be quite a risky profession. What if a dog you're walking suddenly gets away from his lead and runs into the road causing a collision? Or he or she attacks another dog? Having the right business insurance means that you're financially and legally protected in these circumstances.

What types of insurance do dog walkers need?

There are certain types of business insurance that you will need to look into as a dog walker, including:

Public Liability Insurance

Public liability insurance protects you if any dogs in your care cause members of the public injury or damage any property while you're walking them.

Dogs can get very excited and equally nervous, and their behaviour can often be unpredictable. A dog you're walking could jump up on a person and injure them, or someone could trip over a dog lead.

Much worse, a dog you're walking could attack another dog or a person, or cause a car accident.

In these cases, even though the dog is the cause of the incident, you're responsible, and you may be hit with expensive compensation fees and legal expenses. That's why it's important to have public liability to help cover these costs.

Employers’ liability insurance

Do you employ other people as part of your dog walking business? Then by law, you need to have employers' liability insurance. If you don't have this in place, then you could be fined up to £2,500 for every day you don't have it.

Personal accident cover

If you have an accident at work, then personal accident cover can help cover any lost income and medical bills.

For example, if you get bitten by a dog trying to break up a fight, or a dog pulls so hard on the lead it causes you severe pain, or you fall over on a walk, then personal accident cover can help you get better and start working again.

dog walker

Look out for this important policy detail

If you are looking to buy public liability insurance for your dog walking business, there is a detail to look out for in your policy that could prevent you from making important claims.

There is such a thing as a care, custody, and control exclusion (CCC) that is commonly found in liability insurance policies. With this exclusion, your liability insurance won't cover you for any property that is not owned by you while it is in your care.

This means that many standard public liability insurance policies won't cover you if anything happens to your clients' dogs while you are walking them. This includes loss, injury, and death.

For example, if a dog that you're walking is hit by a car, you may be held liable for the dog's injuries and required to cover the cost of veterinary treatments. If your liability insurance policy contains a care, custody, and control exclusion, it will not help you cover those costs.

For this reason, it may be worthwhile to look for a specialist dog walker insurance policy rather than a general business insurance policy if you want this special type of insurance protection.

There are special policies available for pet businesses that will cover you if anything happens to the dogs in your care, but unfortunately we cannot help you compare quotes for them.

How much is dog walker insurance?

The cost of dog walker insurance will vary depending on a few factors, such as:

  • The size of your business: whether it's just you walking dogs or you employ other dog walkers and run a small business

  • What type of insurance you need: you may also require additional insurance, such as commercial van insurance and business contents insurance or tool insurance on top of standard business insurance such as public liability

  • If you provide any other services: If you also offer dog grooming or pet sitting, then you will also require additional insurance

What insurance is right for my dog walking business?

Having the right insurance in place will give both you and your clients peace of mind when looking after their pooches. The type of insurance you will need will all depend on what kind of service you provide.

If you're driving dogs around or have access to clients' house keys or security alarm systems, then you'll probably need more extensive cover.

The same applies if you're grooming or watching dogs as part of a boarding service. You'll most likely need extra cover to protect any contents you have on your premises such as grooming equipment or dog baths and beds, etc.

Don't forget to update your car or van insurance if you are using your personal vehicle and inform your provider if you're using it as part of your dog walking business.

If someone employs you as their dog walker, it’s worth asking what insurance they might have in place, as their level of cover may suffice. However, if you're self-employed, it's your responsibility to arrange your own dog walker business insurance.

Legal requirements and guidelines for dog walkers

There are some legal requirements and guidelines that you must follow as a dog walker in the UK. Here are the key things to consider:

Do I need a licence to be a dog walker?

Depending on where you live, you may require a dog walking licence. Some authorities, including London boroughs Lambeth and Wandsworth, for example, insist that dog walkers have a licence.

Whether you need a licence or not also depends on how many dogs you're walking, and which parks you're visiting. If you're a dog boarder, you definitely need a licence.

You can check your local council's website for more details and apply for any necessary licences on the same site.

How many dogs can I walk at once?

Your pet business insurance policy will detail how many dogs you're insured to walk. Your local council also has a specific limit on the number of dogs you can walk at one time.

For general guidance, The Dogs Trust professional dog walkers' guidelines recommend that you don't walk more than four dogs at once.

Dog control laws

It's against the law for a dog to be dangerously out of control, as they pose a risk of injuring someone or making people worried they may cause harm.

If you allow a dog to be out of control, whether it's on lead or off lead, you could face an unlimited fine, and even a prison sentence.

Public spaces protection orders

There are public spaces protection orders all across the UK, which require you to:

  • Keep your dog on a lead

  • Clean up after your dog and dispose of this responsibly

  • Limit the number of dogs you walk

There may also be areas that are completely off-limits to dogs under public spaces protection orders.

If you fail to abide by the rules, you could be fined £100 on the spot, or up to £1,000 if the matter goes to court.

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