If you’re a dog owner, you know that a long day at work for you can mean an even longer day for your pet. That’s because, when everyone in your household is gone for the day, your dog’s scratches at the back door go unheard. Luckily, dog walking apps have cropped up to save the day. By providing our pets with some mid-day relief and playtime, dog walking apps are the perfect solution for dog owners with long shifts—or are they?
As it turns out, dog walking apps have their ups and downs. To help you decide how you want to care for your dog while you’re away, Best Bully Sticks put together this guide to the pros and cons of dog walking apps.
Pro: Less expensive than a full day of dog daycare
Unlike dog daycare centers, which care for your dog throughout your entire workday, dog walkers only spend 30-60 minutes with your dog per day. This means money saved on your end.
Con: Your dog will still be alone for most of the day
That said, relying on dog walking apps usually means your dog will still be alone for most of the day. This may be fine for some animals, but high-energy or destructive dogs may require more attention than a mid-day walk permits. Picking the right dog for your lifestyle is the first step to getting them enough exercise.
What’s more, dog walking apps may be less expensive than dog daycare, but a year’s worth of weekday walks set at 15 dollars per walk will still cost you upwards of 4,000 dollars. Apps are less expensive, but they’re still an expense.
Pro: A trusted dog walker is a second set of eyes
Once you’ve established a relationship with your dog walker, they’re often able to keep an eye out for suspicious activity during their time with your dog. After all, break-ins are 6 percent more likely to occur while homeowners are away at work. Dog walkers provide an additional set of eyes to look out for potential burglars or scams in your neighborhood.
Con: Dog walking apps often mean new walkers every week
The setup of dog walking apps like Wag and Rover make for competition over dog walkers. If your favorite walker is booked, you’ll have to pick a new one…which means frequently giving a stranger open access to your house.
Rover says it does background checks on its walkers, and Wag vaguely states that it “vets” them. But the degree to which dog walking apps research their walkers is far from transparent, which means your pet may be alone with someone lacking the proper qualifications to care for them. What’s more, gaps in background checks and “vetting” processes could lead you to hand the leash over to someone you wouldn’t normally trust.
Pro: Some services provide you with a free lock box
Rather than leaving your key under the doormat when a neighbor walks your dog, apps like Rover and Wag provide you with a free lock box to store your key for dog walkers. This step allows you to let your dog walker into your home without giving them a key full-time, which increases the overall safety of the app.
Con: Not an option for poorly trained dogs
Unfortunately, dog walking apps don’t allow you much time to introduce your dog to their walker. Dog walkers typically won’t be as familiar with your dog as someone like a neighbor may be, which means that poorly or partially trained dogs involve a higher risk. If your dog has lots of quirks, doesn’t get along with other dogs, or often tries to run away, the over-simplified process of dog walking apps could be a major negative.
Pro: Highly accessible in cities
Dog walking apps have been around for close to ten years now, which means they’re highly developed in most cities. Rover states that it’s available in 14,000 cities—and the bigger the city, the more walkers available to take your dog out.
Con: Fewer walkers for rural dogs
That said, dog walking apps still have a lot of ground to cover. If you and your dog live in a rural area, it’s unlikely you’ll find an dog walker in your immediate area.