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Look after clients' pets and your business with the right insurance

Professional dog walkers have a duty of care when exercising a client's pets. This not only includes ensuring each pooch is kept safe during their outing, but also any people or property encountered while you're out and about.
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Last updated
December 19th, 2023

What is dog walking insurance?


It’s important to buy dog walking insurance  before starting up your business, so it can help protect you and the dogs you look after. Dog walking isn’t without its risks and there’s a lot of emotional and financial responsibility attached to it. 

Public liability, which includes accident and injury cover, is at the heart of dog walking insurance. This protects you if a dog you’re paid to walk causes an injury or accident to someone or someone else’s property. For example, it slips its lead and causes a car to swerve and crash, bites a pedestrian or attacks another dog.

Dog walking is not a risk-free business”

How does dog walking insurance work?

The best insurance for dog walkers is made up of different policy elements, which combine to make sure you’re thoroughly protected. 

Public liability is important as your business involves being outside, meeting other people and other pets. 

You’ll also need employers' liability insurance if you hire any staff, even on an ad hoc basis, unless they are members of your immediate family. 

It's also worth considering personal accident cover in case you suffer an injury during a walk. Likewise, business equipment cover is worth having if you have specialist equipment, such as a car dog crate and a laptop to manage booking. Speaking of tech, if you hold your clients’ personal details online, then cyber insurance might also be useful.

The number of dogs in the UK[1]
12million

Types of cover to consider

Public liability

Public liability insurance for dog walkers is important because it’ll cover you if a pet gets harmed in your care. It also covers claims made against you by the public for accidental injury or property damage.

Business equipment

To run a successful dog walking business, you'll need a lot of equipment - from leads to toys. You might also use certain technology to run your business, for example a phone to take bookings. This insurance will cover the cost of repairs or replacements if this equipment gets damaged, lost or stolen.

Personal accident

Dog walking involves a lot of time outside, so it's a good idea to be prepared if something happens during the walk. This cover can protect you or an employee by paying compensation for loss of earnings if they get injured during a walk and can't work.

Employers' liability

This is a legal requirement if you employ any staff – temporary, part- or full-time – who aren’t immediate family members. This covers the legal and compensation costs associated with claims made by employees.

Types of cover to consider

Public liability

Public liability insurance for dog walkers is important because it’ll cover you if a pet gets harmed in your care. It also covers claims made against you by the public for accidental injury or property damage.

Business equipment

To run a successful dog walking business, you'll need a lot of equipment - from leads to toys. You might also use certain technology to run your business, for example a phone to take bookings. This insurance will cover the cost of repairs or replacements if this equipment gets damaged, lost or stolen.

Personal accident

Dog walking involves a lot of time outside, so it's a good idea to be prepared if something happens during the walk. This cover can protect you or an employee by paying compensation for loss of earnings if they get injured during a walk and can't work.

Employers' liability

This is a legal requirement if you employ any staff – temporary, part- or full-time – who aren’t immediate family members. This covers the legal and compensation costs associated with claims made by employees.

Why should I get dog walking insurance?

Insurance can help to cover the cost of vet bills and any legal fees that might occur if a dog is lost or injured in your care. Without it, you could receive a hefty bill that might damage your business. 

Some customers might only consider using your services if you’ve got appropriate insurance as this will bolster their trust in you as a professional.

How can I choose the right dog walking insurance?

Choosing the right insurance is an important part of running your business successfully, so here are some key points to consider.

Think about what cover you need

Identify the different levels of cover available to decide how much protection you need. It's important to consider all aspects of the job, including whether you visit clients' houses or use your own car.

Compare policies

As with all insurance, the quality of cover is more important than the price, as the cheapest cover might mean your business isn’t fully protected. Take the time to consider coverage limits, exclusions and premiums.

Review documents

Don’t sign along the dotted line until you are sure the policy you’ve chosen has the cover you need. Read all the documents in detail and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact the provider.

How much does dog walking insurance cost?

Most dog walking insurance starts at approximately £6.79 a month, but the price can vary quite a bit – with factors such as the covers you choose, your location, employee count and turnover affecting how much you’ll pay. It’s important to be honest about this information as otherwise, it could cause issues at a later date. 

Here are some real-life examples of quotes for dog walking insurance:

FactorScenario 1Scenario 2Scenario 3
Number of Employees121
Turnover£50,000£100,000£50,000
Public Liability£1,000,000£1,000,000£1,000,000
Personal accident£5,000£2,000£2,000
Commercial Legal ProtectionN/A£100,000£100,000
Business EquipmentN/AN/A£1,000
Monthly Cost£6.79£11.70£16.21

10% of pet walkers paid £6.79 a month or less for their business insurance between April and June 2023.

These are real quotes given to Superscript customers for dog walking insurance. Updated September 29, 2023.

What is typically excluded from dog walking insurance?

Dog walking insurance policies won’t cover everything. Among the potential benefits excluded from standard policies are: 

  • Any animal scheduled under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act (DWAA)

  • Any excess applicable

  • Walking more dogs than is specifically outlined in the original policy 

Always check your own policy documents for a full list of exclusions.

Learn more about our business insurance partner

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We qualify, quantify and offer insurance using data, analysis and technology, and we serve a wide range of business types — from dog walkers and dieticians, to landlords and locksmiths. Enro Ltd t/a Superscript is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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We make it quick and easy to find, buy and manage your business insurance.

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FAQs

Do you need insurance to start dog walking?

Legally, the business insurance you must have is employers’ liability cover, if you employ staff. But it’s a good idea to get business insurance as soon as you plan to start your dog walking business. 

This is because you can be exposed to risks before you sign your first client. For example, your website could be hacked or your equipment could be stolen.

What does public liability insurance cover for dog walkers?

If a dog in your care is injured, injures someone else or damages someone’s property then you should be covered.

How many dogs can you legally walk?

The rules on how many dogs you can walk at once are typically set by local councils, while the RSPCA recommends a maximum of four. As well as following the law on how many dogs you can walk, you should make sure that you comply with the terms in your insurance policy. If you walk more dogs than permitted, any claims you make are likely be unsuccessful

Will I be covered if a dog is stolen?

If your policy includes care, custody and control then it should be covered. However, always check your policy’s terms and conditions to make sure you are protected.

Do I need a licence to be a dog walker?

There’s no legal requirement to hold a dog walking licence, but you will need to get one from your local council if you offer pet boarding or dog sitting from home. Also, specific local councils require a dog licence if you plan to take dogs in your car to certain locations, such as Royal Parks.

What other laws should I consider as a dog walker?

You’ll need to abide by a range of laws that apply if you’re dog walking. The good news is they all make sense. For instance, you must keep dogs on leads at all times when by a road or near livestock. 

All dogs must have a collar with the owner’s name and address.  Also, you must clean up mess left in public areas, or face a fine of up to £1,000, and potentially dangerous dogs must be on a lead, and either have a collar or muzzle.

About the author

Lucinda O'Brien
Lucinda O'Brien has spent the past 10 years writing and editing content for regional and national titles. She applies her industry knowledge to ensure readers can make confident financial decisions.

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Footnotes

1. UK Pet Food: UK Pet Food has been commissioning research looking at the UK’s pet population for over 15 years, data taken from 2023.