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Business insurance for dog walkers

Some jobs are inherently risky – and dog walking can be one of them. What happens if Fido slips his lead and runs into the road, causing a crash? Or he attacks another dog? Having insurance means that if an accident happens and you’re held responsible, you’ll be protected financially.

Some jobs are inherently risky – and dog walking can be one of them. What happens if Fido slips his lead and runs into the road, causing a crash? Or he attacks another dog? Having insurance means that if an accident happens and you’re held responsible, you’ll be protected financially.

Written by
Anna McEntee
Insurance comparison expert
Last Updated
3 JANUARY 2023
3 min read
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What kind of dog walker insurance do I need?

You may find you’ll need to mix different types of business insurance. For example:

Public liability insurance

Public liability insurance protects you if a member of the public suffers injury or property damage because of your work. It means you’ll be covered if they then make a claim.

Dogs can be unpredictable and can get over-excited, causing accidents. There are all kinds of potential risks, from tripping over tangled leads to dogs attacking other dogs – or people.

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

How much is public liability insurance for dog walkers?

How much you pay for your insurance premium will depend on your circumstances. Insurance providers will take into account the size of your dog-walking business, how much cover you need, and your claims history. You need to be honest about all of these things, as not disclosing information could invalidate your insurance 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 – 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 – let’s say you get hurt breaking up a fight between two fractious pets, for example – personal accident insurance could cover lost income and 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 tailored to pet businesses and 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 looking for dog walking insurance, don’t forget to consider any extra services you provide, such as dog grooming or pet sitting. Think about all aspects of the job – are you collecting dogs from their homes? And if so, do you have clients’ house keys? Are you taking dogs to the park in your car?

The point is, it’s important to make sure you’re properly covered. This will not only give you peace of mind, it will also reassure your customers.

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

If someone employs you as their dog walker, it’s worth reviewing the cover they have in place to see if it meets your requirements.

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

Frequently asked questions

Do I need a licence to be a dog walker?

It depends where you live. Some local authorities – particularly London boroughs such as Lambeth and Wandsworth – insist that dog walkers have a licence. However, it will depend on how many dogs you’re walking and which parks you’re visiting. You’ll need to check your local council’s website for details. If you’re boarding dogs, you’ll definitely need a licence. You can apply for this through your local council.

How many dogs can I walk at once?

Your insurance policy will specify how many dogs you’re insured to walk. You may also find your local council limits the number of dogs you can walk. In any case, Dogs Trust professional dog walkers’ guidelines recommend not walking more than four 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. A dog is considered to be out of control if it injures someone or makes them worried 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 do this anyway)
  • Limit the number of dogs you walk

Public Spaces Protection Orders 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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Anna McEntee - Insurance comparison expert

Anna’s all about delivering fantastic insurance products at a great price. Value is the most important thing for Anna, as she cuts through the jargon and finds what’s most important and worth your hard-earned money.

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