The Importance Of Liability Insurance For Dog Walkers

As a professional dog walker or even those who walk dogs on a freelance basis, the importance of having general liability insurance is becoming ever more present. Whether you own a dog walking business or are working as a private commercial dog walker, many pet owners will now look to ensure that the individual they are entrusting their pet to has the necessary coverage and permits in place. Although the industry itself is lightly regulated, it is still recommended due to the high-risk nature that pet care involves to protect yourself and your business.

Obtaining A Permit: The Requirements Involved

Depending on which city you live in, you may be required to obtain a permit or business license before you can become a professional dog walker. For example, in the cities of Toronto and Vancouver, if you wish to walk between four and six dogs commercially at any given time, you will need a Commercial Dog Walker Permit.

This permit will state that the dog walker business or individual is allowed by the City to commercially walk dogs in designated public areas noted by the city. If a dog walker is walking more than three dogs in a public area, they must clearly display proof of their Commercial Dog Walking Permit. However, in order to obtain a permit, you must provide evidence that you have Commercial General Liability (CGL) insurance to the amount of $2 million. This is a requirement that both business owners and private professional dog walkers will have to provide in order to receive the required walking permit in their city.

Dog Walker Insurance: What Coverage Entails

Insurance for dog walking protects professional walkers from liability claims such as third-party bodily harm, property damage, personal injury or environmental damage.

As animals can be unpredictable in nature, you can never guarantee that an accident won’t happen to you, another person or another dog while in your care. Liability insurance provides protection in instances where a dog damages either private or public property, injures another dog while on a walk or causes an injury to another individual. Depending on your insurance provider, you may also receive animal bailee or veterinary expense reimbursement coverage as part of your insurance package. This will cover you in the event that a dog gets injured or dies while in your care. For example, if the dog entrusted in your care sustains an injury or breaks its leg, CGL will cover you for any personal or company expenses required for veterinary care.

Cautionary Tales: When Dog Walkers Don’t Get Insured

It is not uncommon for those individuals who walk dogs on a freelance basis or as a side gig to their permanent job to believe that they don’t need to get liability insurance. This isn’t the case. For those dog walkers who decide to forgo liability insurance, you do so at your own risk. There have been many stories in the past of dog walking professionals seeking claims for incidents that happened while they were in charge of an individual’s pet.

One particular case noted a claim that was made by an independent dog walker. While taking a client’s dog for a walk, they came into contact with another dog. The dog that was in the care of the professional walker began acting aggressively. In order to avoid any harm being done, the dog walker jerked on the dog’s leash to hold him back. While doing so, however, the dog suffered major injuries to the neck and later had to be euthanized. The professional dog walker in this situation did not have commercial general liability insurance and therefore, was not protected. They incurred all veterinary fees and the pet owner presented them with a lawsuit for harm made against an animal.

JAUNTIN’: Protecting The Dog Walking Industry

Without general liability insurance, a professional dog walker is putting themselves in an unfortunate situation if an accident occurs when caring for a client’s pet. Although there is little regulation in place, the need for the dog walking industry to be aware of the importance of dog walking insurance is hard to ignore. JAUNTIN’ understands this need and encourages those working as gig workers in the dog walking industry to get the protection that they need.