Walking is said to be the easiest sport to take up because all you need is a good pair of shoes and a door to run out of. Dog-walking is pretty much the same, although there are a few other things every dog-walker should have at all times. They are:
A charged phone
Most clients will want an update text and/or picture of their dog hearing how it went. Plus, God forbid something goes wrong during your visit you will want to let them know immediately. Make sure you have your phone on you and that it is charged so you can keep them in the loop and don’t end up in a situation where you can’t be contacted. Also, dog walks are a perfect time to catch up on any phone calls you need to do!
A reusable water bottle
Once you build up a few clients you’ll be walking a lot, sometimes in the sun. You’ll find you will get thirsty quickly and its important to stay hydrated. The best way to do this is to have a water bottle you can fill up throughout the day at different places so that you don’t run out. Don’t buy water in plastic bottles! It’s expensive and the bottles clutter up the environment. Besides, water is water. There’s no need to pay a premium for it.
Surprise – many dogs shed! No matter what color clothes you’re wearing, your next client could be a black lab or a fawn pug. It’s a good idea to invest in lint rollers and keep one in your car so it doesn’t build up, especially if you are headed anywhere after or between dog walks so you aren’t “that person” covered in animal hair. It helps with avoiding sneeze attacks as well.
Most dog owners are very good at providing waste bags for their dog, but every once in awhile you will find that they are out of them, and it’s a really unfortunate situation to be in. This is optional, but for your peace of mind it may be a good idea to have some extras on you. You don’t necessarily have to buy any — bags that newspapers come in or the bags at the grocery store that you put produce in can double as dog bags!
Sunglasses and sunscreen
If you’re walking a dog on a hot day, the sun will catch up to you very fast. Be sure to keep a pair of sunglasses (or hat) so your eyes aren’t uncomfortable, and sunscreen is also very important. You don’t have to be lying on the beach to get a bad burn. Keep some in your car and reapply throughout the day if you’re walking several dogs.
A good playlist, audiobook, or podcast
As a dog-walker, you’ll spend a great amount of time walking around as well as in your car driving to different client’s houses. To make both of these a more enjoyable experience, it’s a good idea to have some music and/or a good podcast/audiobook that you’re into. You’ll be surprised how much you can get through between walking and driving. Your car can become a portable library!
Umbrella or raincoat
It is quite the uncomfortable feeling to be 5 minutes into a 30-minute dog walk and it starts to pour. To avoid this, check the weather beforehand for the day and if it looks like rain, err on the side of caution and be sure to have a raincoat or umbrella in case you run into rain on your walk.
This goes without saying, but walking dogs in sandals or flats will get uncomfortable very fast; and it isn’t fun to go home at the end of the day with sore feet. If you’re going to be walking multiple dogs a day, it’s a good idea to invest in a good pair of sneakers. Your feet will thank you as will the energetic dogs that you will need to keep up with!
Weather can be very unpredictable, and can change throughout the day. Be sure to have a jacket or sweater handy if it gets cold and you’re still walking dogs. Mornings and evenings are deceiving and even if it was hot out during the day, the minute the sun goes down it can get very chilly.
You’ll be in a lot of different places, opening a lot of different doors, and petting/cleaning up after a lot of different dogs. Have some hand sanitizer in your car or bag to keep your hands clean!
That’s pretty much it. You can add accessories for style or comfort but if you have these essentials, you and your doggie friends should be good to go!