Do you have a passion for dogs? Do you love being around them and helping take care of them? If so, you may be thinking about starting your own dog walking business.

You’re probably also wondering who is the target market for dog walking? And more importantly, who isn’t? While dog walking can be a very satisfying business to have, it can only work if you target the right audiences.

In this article, we will review who constitutes the target market for dog walking and who does not.

We will study the reasons why people need dog walkers and the factors they take into account while selecting a dog walking service.

Keep reading!

Target Market for Dog Walking
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Target Market for Dog Walking: Who needs Dog Walkers?

Not everyone who owns a dog will want a dog walking service. So instead of losing time chasing every dog owner as a potential customer, focus on those segments of the target market for dog walking which are most likely to need your services.

You may also want to focus on those segments where there is a greater chance to do an upsell or a cross-sell. For instance, as your business grows you may get into newer areas like dog grooming. As you can imagine, there is a large overlap between the target market for dog grooming and the target market for dog walking. So, select your target market segment while looking for growth opportunities.

So, who needs dog walkers?

Here are some examples of the kinds of people who need dog walkers for their dogs:

  1. Dog owners who are busy
  2. Dog-owning families with small children
  3. Dog owners with health issues
  4. Elderly People with dogs
  5. Dog owners who live in urban areas
  6. Dog owners who are going on vacation
  7. Dog owners who travel a lot

Let’s look briefly at each of these segments of the target market for dog walking.

1. Dog owners who are busy

Busy people often have demanding jobs and careers. They may work long hours, have a lot of responsibility, or travel frequently.

As a result, they sometimes do not have enough time to walk their dogs themselves, or at least not as often as is needed for the dog. This is especially true of young dogs who need plenty of exercise.

That’s where dog walkers come in! Dog walkers can provide the exercise and socialization that dogs need even when their owners are unavailable.

2. Dog-owning families with small children

Families with young children often have their hands full! Small children require a lot of time and attention. While the dog (or any pet) will likely not be lonely in a full house, the adults in the household may not have enough time (or energy) to take their dog out for long walks, except perhaps on weekends.

Dog walking services can help take some of the pressure off of these families by walking their dogs for them.

3. Dog owners with health issues

Dog owners who have health issues may find it difficult or impossible to take their dogs out for a walk.

These dog owners may be elderly, have a disability, or could be recovering from an injury.

In these cases, a dog walking service is an essential service for these dog owners.

4. Elderly People with dogs

Many elderly people live alone with their dogs. While they may be able to walk their dogs at first, as they age, it may become more difficult for them. Also, as dogs age, they need more care which an elderly person may not be able to give.

A professional dog walking service that also provides ancillary support services could be just what elderly people with dogs need.

5. Dog owners who live in urban areas

People who live in cities often have less space to walk their dogs. They may also have longer work hours which can make it difficult to find time to walk their dogs.

For these urban dog owners, dog walking services can be a lifesaver! A dog walking service can take the dog away from the city into an area of town where the dog has more space to run around.

After being cooped up in an apartment, this can be a wonderful relief for the dog and for the dog’s owner who now knows that his or her dog is getting time outdoors and is getting much-needed fresh air away from the city.

6. Dog owners who are going on vacation

When going on vacation, most people do not want to leave their dogs behind. But sometimes, there’s no choice.

In such cases, dog owners can leave their dogs at home and then recruit a dog walking service to take their dog out for walks several times a day. For many owners (and their dogs) this can work out better than putting the dog in a dog boarding facility.

It’s much nicer for the dog to stay in its own home and then have a dog walker come several times a day to escort it for walks. This, however, is only possible with adult dogs who are comfortable being alone at home. So think carefully before accepting customers from this segment.

7. Dog owners who travel a lot

People who travel frequently for work may not have time to walk their dogs themselves.

In this case, they may use a dog walking service to help take care of their pet while they’re away.

Many people also have to travel at short notice. Such people may hire a dog walking service on a regular contract instead of only when they travel. They may request the same dog walker each time, to maintain the familiarity between the dog walker and the dog.

This segment of the market can be great to generate a steady recurring monthly revenue stream by selling them dog walking services through long-term contracts.

How do Dog Owners select a Dog Walking Service?

For most dog owners, the dog is more than just a pet. It is a part of the family. And when selecting a dog walking service, dog owners take as much care as they might when selecting a babysitter for their kids.

So be sure you understand how your target market for dog walking selects a dog walking service and what the red flags are that could drive them away.

Here are the main factors based on which dog owners, who are looking for someone to walk their dog, select a dog walking service:

  1. Reputation
  2. Experience
  3. Cost
  4. Availability & Flexibility
  5. Insurance
  6. References
  7. Equipment & Accessories
  8. Location
  9. Activities offered

Let’s study each of these reasons one by one.

1. Reputation

Before selecting a dog walking service, dog owners will check the reputation of the service. They will look at online reviews, talk to friends and family who have used the service, and read articles about the dog walking service.

People will only use a service if they trust it and feel confident that their dog will be safe and well cared for. Remember, that reputation is difficult to gain and easy to lose.

The best way to build a good reputation is by delivering great service and ensuring that all the dogs in your care are happy and healthy.

2. Experience

Dog owners want their dogs to be walked by someone who knows what they’re doing. They don’t want a novice walker who could potentially injure their pet.

Dog owners will also look at the experience of the dog walking service before recruiting its services. They will want to know – How long have they been in business? What is their track record like? Do they have any awards or recognition?

When dog owners are looking for a dog walking service, they want to make sure that their dog is in good hands. They want to know that the person walking their dog is experienced and will take good care of their pet.

3. Cost

Like with everything else, the cost is a factor that people will take into account while selecting a dog walking service. They will want to know – How much does the service cost? What is included in the price? Are there any discounts available? Are there any hidden fees?

But the cost isn’t everything. At the end of the day, most dog owners want their dog taken good care of and will be willing to pay a premium price for a dog walking service with a great reputation and with which it has already had a good experience.

4. Availability

Dog walking services that are only available on certain days of the week, or only during business hours, are at a disadvantage.

Many dog owners work long hours and need a dog walking service that is available early in the morning or late at night. They also want a service that is available on weekends and holidays.

The bottom line is that when most dog owners look for a dog walking service they will want one that is available whenever the dog needs walking.

5. Insurance

Every dog walking service must purchase dog walking insurance. Dog Walking insurance protects the dog walker and the service from costs that could arise because of an accident or injury either to the dog or to the dog walker.

When a dog owner looks for a dog walking service they will almost always want a service that is well insured, not only because it will cover costs related to potential injury to their pet but also because it could protect them – the pet owner – too.

While reviewing your business’s dog insurance, a potential customer will look at the amount of coverage, maximum limits and deductibles. They will also want to know if the policy covers third-party liability and property damage.

By having a dog walking insurance policy that is comprehensive and up to date you can give potential customers the peace of mind they are looking for when searching for a dog walking service.

Also, many places require a dog walking business to have a permit and the right type of insurance. So check your local regulations on permits and insurance requirements before launching your dog walking business.

6. References

When a dog owner looks for a dog walking service, they are likely to ask their friends and family members if they have any recommendations. This is especially true if the potential customer doesn’t have any experience with dog walking services themselves.

They will also check with other dog owners’ groups on social media and ask for recommendations.

Don’t be surprised if a potential customer asks you to provide references to other dog owners who have used your service. The moment you start having satisfied customers, ask them if they would be willing to be a reference for you. You’ll be surprised how supportive satisfied customers can be.

7. Equipment & Accessories

A potential client could be interested in knowing the type of dog walking equipment and accessories you will have available when you take their dog for a walk. Accessories can include leashes, gloves, jackets, and hats.

The right accessories and equipment can make all the difference when it comes to the safety of the dog, the dog walker and others in the dog’s vicinity.

For instance, it is also important to have the right type of leash for the customer’s dog. For example, if the customer has a large breed dog, they will likely need a leash that is sturdy and can handle the dog’s size and strength.

By being prepared with the right type of equipment, you can show potential customers that you are a professional dog walker who is ready to take on any challenge.

8. Location

While many dog owners will be willing to drive to the other end of town to find a top-notch dog walking service, most would rather find something closer to home.

When dog owners are looking for a dog walking service, they will often select one based on proximity. They would rather have their dog walked by a service that is close to their house than have to drive across town to drop off and pick up their pet. This is even more likely when they know they will need a dog walking service on a regular basis.

9. Activities offered

Apart from walking the dog, what other activities will your dog walking service offer?

Some services will take dogs to a park, play area or a beach so they can run and play. Others may have a pool for dogs to swim in.

If you are going to offer additional activities, be sure to market them prominently on your website and social media pages. This will help you attract potential customers who are looking for more than just a standard dog walking service.


The target market for dog walking includes dog owners who are busy or have small children or have health issues or are elderly or live in urban areas. It also includes those who plan to go on vacation without their dog or need to travel a lot.

While all dog owners look for a dog walking service that will take good care of their dog, each of the above segments has its own unique needs and requirements. You should know which of these segments you are planning to target and which you will not so that you can offer services that satisfy the needs of your target market segments.

Understand that dog owners look at a combination of different factors while selecting a dog walking service. These include Reputation, Experience, Cost, Availability/Flexibility, Insurance, References, Equipment & Accessories, Location and Activities offered.

When serving the target market for dog walking, you will need to carefully select a set of customer segments to target and then offer services that focus on the decision factors that these potential customers are most likely to use when selecting a dog walking service.