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Questions to Ask a Potential Dog Walker in Bristol

As any pet owner knows, our dogs are treasured family members who depend on us completely. When circumstances require someone else to exercise and care for them even temporarily, it’s vital we take the time to thoroughly vet potential dog walkers or sitters.

If you live in the Bristol area and need to engage a professional dog walking service, asking the right questions during an interview can give you essential insights into a provider’s level of skill, experience and trustworthiness. Below are some key questions you shouldn’t neglect to ask personally when evaluating South Bristol dog walkers.

What Training and Experience Do You Have?

While actually caring for an animal seems like common sense, a professional South Bristol dog walker should have substantive experience along with any needed licenses or formal training. Don’t hesitate to ask pointed questions about their background working with dogs, including the specific types of training, certifications or educational courses they’ve completed. Additionally, ask how long they’ve been operating as a paid dog walker and the estimated number of different dogs they’ve cared for in Bristol.

Do You Have Adequate Insurance Coverage?

Before allowing an independent contractor to handle your beloved pet, it’s absolutely imperative to verify they carry adequate general business liability coverage as well as bonding in case of any emergency incidents or mistakes. The consequences of hiring an uninsured dog walker could be financially and emotionally devastating. Don’t neglect this crucial line of inquiry just because someone makes a friendly first impression during an interview. Be sure to ask what the coverage limits are and policy details rather than just taking their word for it. 

What Safety Protocols Do You Follow?

Dog walking carries inherent risks, even for the most skilled professional. Hiring someone able to clearly convey their safety practices is key to providing for your pet’s welfare and security during outings. Ask pointed questions about the protocols dog walkers implement such as traffic procedures during street crossings, carrying emergency contact info and cleaning materials in case of cuts or injuries, ensuring secure leashes/harnesses at all times and properly latching gates or doors to prevent escape.

Do You Require Adherence to Vaccination Schedules? 

Reputable Bristol dog walking professionals should require that all clients provide evidence of current vaccinations and medical records, for the mutual health and wellbeing of all animals under their care. Ask what specific types of shots or treatments the provider mandates prior to taking on new four-legged clients. If they seem lax about vaccination verification, it may indicate questionable judgment. Do they stay on top of newly recommended vaccines and ensure existing clients stay current? Are they prepared to handle outbreaks of infectious diseases that may arise?

How Do You Handle Emergencies?

While no one likes to think about worst-case scenarios, having an emergency protocol is paramount for dog walking services. Quiz potential South Bristol dog walkers about their contingency plans if a weather event, natural disaster, injury, or sudden illness arises while out with your pet. Do they know where the nearest animal emergency vet services are located?

The individuals entrusted to care for your pets – whether daily dog walking services or periodic visits – should be vetted as thoroughly as any caregiver in your human family before hiring. Following up through references, asking key questions in person and verifying insurance requirements helps ensure your chosen Bristol dog walker or sitter meets the highest professional standards.