Business insurance for dog walkers

Some jobs are riskier than others – and dog walking is one of them. What happens if Fido slips his lead and runs into the road, causing a crash? Or if he injures another dog? Having insurance can give you peace of mind that, if an accident happens and you’re held responsible, you’ll be protected financially. 

Some jobs are riskier than others – and dog walking is one of them. What happens if Fido slips his lead and runs into the road, causing a crash? Or if he injures another dog? Having insurance can give you peace of mind that, if an accident happens and you’re held responsible, you’ll be protected financially. 

Emily Kindness
From the Business team
3
minute read
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Posted 31 AUGUST 2021

Do I need dog walker insurance?

Insurance for dog walkers isn’t a legal requirement unless you employ someone. But without at least public liability insurance you could find yourself in financial trouble if something goes wrong in connection with your dog-walking business. For example, if a dog is hurt, gets lost, harms another dog or person or causes an accident, and someone makes a legal claim against you.

What kind of dog walker insurance do I need?

You may want to consider a mix of different types of business insurance.

Public liability insurance 

Public liability insurance can protect you financially if a member of the public makes a claim for property damage or accidental injury that’s happened in connection with your work. 

Dogs can be unpredictable and can get over-excited, which can lead to accidents. People can trip over tangled leads, and there are other kinds of danger too. 

If the dog you’re responsible for causes a car accident, or runs into a passer-by causing them to fall and injure their leg, you may be accused of not taking enough care of the pet. Even though the accident was caused by the dog, you as its carer might be hit with compensation costs and legal fees. 

How much is public liability insurance for dog walkers?

Any insurance premium is based on factors specific to you, like the size of your business, the amount of cover you need and your claims history. You need to be honest about all of these things, as not disclosing information could lead to your insurance being invalidated if you need to make a claim. 

Employers’ liability insurance 

If your dog-walking business employs other people – even if it’s just one person – then you’ll need employers’ liability insurance. This is a legal requirement. You could be fined up to £2,500 for every day you don't have it in place.  

Personal accident cover

If you have an accident at work – you get hurt breaking up a fight between two fractious pets, for example – personal accident insurance could provide cover for lost income and any medical bills. 

Care, custody & control cover 

Looking after someone’s precious pooch is a big responsibility and unfortunately, things can go wrong. This type of insurance is specifically for pet businesses. It can cover you if someone’s dog is injured, lost or dies while in your care. 

Choosing the right business insurance for dog walkers

When it comes to searching for your insurance as a dog walker it’s worth considering what other services you might be providing – like dog grooming or pet sitting. Think about all aspects of the job – are you collecting dogs from their homes, in which case, do you have clients’ house keys and are you transporting dogs to parks in your car?

The point is, it’s important to ensure you’re adequately covered – it’ll provide peace of mind, not just for you but for your customers as well.

If you provide other services, like a dog grooming parlour, you may want to consider taking out shop insurance to protect stock and contents you keep on the premises.

You’ll need to tell your insurance provider if you’re using your car or van for your dog walking business.

And, if you’re employed by someone as a dog walker, it’s worth reviewing the cover that they have in place first to see if it’s adequate to meet your requirements.

Compare public liability and employers’ liability insurance with us  comparison services to find the right deal for you.

Frequently asked questions

Do I need a licence to be a dog walker?

Generally no, but some local authorities require licences to walk dogs in certain parks, or to walk more than a certain number of dogs, so it’s up to you to check with your local council to find out. If you’re boarding dogs as well as walking them, you’ll definitely need a licence. You can apply for this through your local council. 

How many dogs can I walk at once?

The number of dogs your insurance will cover you for will be set out in your policy. Your local authority may also have set limits on the number of dogs you can walk. Dogs Trust professional dog walkers’ guidelines recommend not walking more than four dogs at once. 

What other laws do I need to know about as a dog walker?

There are a few rules you’ll need to stick to when dog walking.  

Controlling dogs in public 

It’s against the law for a dog to be dangerously out of control. The definition of this is if it injures someone or makes someone worried that it might injure them. Allowing a dog to be dangerously out of control can land you with an unlimited fine – and even a prison sentence. 

Public Spaces Protection Orders 

These cover some public areas and may require you to: 

  • Keep your dog on a lead 
  • Clear up after your dog (you should really do this anyway!) 
  • Limit the number of dogs you have with you.

They can also make some areas off-limits to dogs. 
 
If you ignore these rules, you could be fined £100 on the spot, or up to £1,000 if it goes to court. 

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