If you have hired a dog walker to take care of your pet’s exercise needs and give them a little extra company, then it will naturally come at a cost. But are you expected to pay them extra, a tip for their services? And if so, is this required after each walk, and how much is a respectable amount? Here is everything you want to know and will want to consider.
So, do you tip dog walkers? While most dog walkers do not expect tips or require them to meet their basic needs, tips are quite appreciated for work well done. They are also commonly provided by dog owners, albeit infrequently (such as on special occasions), and typically within 15-20% of the final price range.
Dog walkers are part of the animal service industry and work long hours on their feet, keeping dogs healthy and happy.
Showing that you appreciate their hard work and effort is something that is therefore nice to do.
If you can afford it, and they are, of course, worthy of it.
But how much you tip, how often you tip, and the way you tip will depend on several things.
Let’s take a look.
Should You Tip Dog Walkers?
Tipping a dog walker is an optional but common occurrence. Many people tip dog walkers and other people who provide animal services, such as groomers or pet sitters, on occasion.
Tips are a way of showing gratitude for someone performing work that goes above and beyond the basic level of care expected from the service professional.
Tips also give added incentive to your dog walker to accommodate special requests or unexpected dog walking needs.
Dog walkers provide companionship, physical exercise, and safe care to your pet in all sorts of weather and on a reliable basis.
Tipping your dog walker is a great way to let them know how much you appreciate the love they show your pet.
Before hiring a dog walker, or offering a dog walker a tip, do consider the following questions and answers to ensure you give an appropriate and reasonable tip.
Do Dog Walkers Expect To Be Tipped?
Dog walkers usually set their own rates and should charge a rate that covers job-related costs and their desired income. This means that most dog walkers do not expect tips as their main source of income, but they are certain to appreciate tips when offered.
People who work in positions of service – hair stylists, restaurant servers, and pet groomers, for example – receive tips regularly as part of their compensation for a job well done.
Dog walkers are another service worker who you may want to consider tipping.
Dog walking is not as simple as a stroll in the park on a nice afternoon. In order to be profitable, a dog walker must often walk more than one dog.
To do this successfully and safely, they must take time to get to know the personality of your dog and every other dog they walk.
They must set routes, be able to maintain dog safety in various situations, and be in strong enough physical shape to walk long distances in all kinds of weather.
Not only that, but they must be someone you consider trustworthy enough to perhaps pick up and return your dog to your home when you are not present.
All of this is to say that while your dog walker is willing to work for their set rate, a tip now and then is certainly seen as an appropriate piece of compensation.
How Much Should You Tip Your Dog Walker
The quickest way to determine how much to tip your dog walker is to plan on a tip that is 15% – 20% of the cost of a walk. This is especially true if you are not tipping for a special occasion or other uncommon circumstance.
A tip in the 15-20% range shows appreciation for your walker without breaking your bank.
On A Fee Schedule
If you pay your dog walker on a fee schedule that is rated by week or month instead of by individual walks, then you should look at tipping 15-20% of one week or month’s pay when you tip.
Another way to determine how much to tip includes tipping a set amount per dog walked – especially in cases where your dog walker is walking more than one of your furry companions.
Some dog owners tip based on the number of walks received in a given time period – such as tipping an extra $2 per walk at the end of a month’s worth of dog walking.
Do You Tip Dog Walkers Every Time?
How frequently you tip your dog walker is mostly based on personal preference. Most dog walkers do not expect a tip after every walk or even every pay period. Meaningful tips given at somewhat regular intervals or for set special occasions are often well-received by dog walkers and show true appreciation for their work.
There are a few circumstances where you may want to consider tipping your dog walker every time they walk your dog.
If you know that your dog has poor leash manners, is difficult to walk due to anxiety/fears/aggressiveness towards other dogs, or you make special requests such as specific routes or solo walks, you may want to tip your walker after each visit.
Regular tipping for dogs that are more difficult to walk helps ensure that a dog walker keeps you on their client list, even if a more favorable easy-going client opportunity arises.
Dog walkers in local areas speak with each other and may quickly agree that the extra work needed for a dog that is rude or hard to walk isn’t worth the hassle at their asking rate without a regular added tip incentive.
For most owners, tipping when a dog walker goes unexpectedly beyond their basic job duties, and a few other special occasions is enough to show appreciation and keep their dog walker happy.
When To Tip Dog Walkers
The best time to tip your dog walker depends on how your walker requests their normal pay. Tipping is best added on at the time you normally pay your dog walker. For a special occasion such as a holiday or when thanking your dog walker in person, you may tip at the time of your conversation.
Many walkers are paid per walk, immediately following the return of your dog to their home.
If this is your dog walker’s payment system, then tipping is as simple as adding additional pay when they bring your dog home.
Some dog walkers, especially those who work for a larger dog walking or pet-sitting companies, may charge a weekly walk rate.
One pet-sitting company that offers dog walking services has dog walkers keep a “walk-log” at the owner’s house.
At the end of each week, the time spent walking is totaled up, and an amount due for the week is written at the bottom of the log.
The pet owner then pays the requested amount at the start of the next week.
An owner tipping on this system would simply want to add their tip into the amount they pay at the start of the next week.
If you are having a teenager or local neighbor walk your dog, you may wish to tip them whenever they perform a walk.
I frequently walked a neighbor’s dog during my school-age years, and they would occasionally add an extra dollar or two to my set rate when I came to pick up their dog for that day’s walk.
Regardless of when you tip your dog walker, be sure to add a note to their walking log or alongside the payment, so they know they are receiving a tip.
A dog walker who feels they are being overpaid by mistake or are expected to make a change may end up trying to give your tip back to you out of confusion.
A simple note stating, ‘A tip for a job well done, will get the point across that any extra money offered was not by mistake.
When You May Want To Tip Your Dog Walker More
Even if you tip your dog walker a percent of their fee on a regular basis, there may be times that you want to consider tipping your dog walker more. Times that you might want to consider tipping your dog walker more include walks that are scheduled last minute, walks where your dog walker goes beyond their basic duties if you know that your dog has been more difficult than normal to walk, and around special events such as holidays or birthdays.
Last-Minute Schedule Changes
If you make an unexpected change to your schedule and your dog walker is flexible to meet your needs, it might be a great time to bump up your tip.
This is especially true if your dog needs an extra walk on short notice.
By raising your tip amount, you are showing that you recognize the extra commitment your dog walker made by changing their usual schedule and routine.
Going Above And Beyond
If your dog walker arrives to pick up your dog and notices they have chewed something up, or perhaps your dog has become ill, and your walker helps to clean up the mess.
A higher tip would be an appropriate thank you.
Dog walkers build bonds with the dogs they walk and are more than likely happy to help you and your dog out if it feels unwell or gets into mischief but being appreciated for doing things outside of their requirement to walk your dog is always a great feeling.
Your Dog Is A Challenge
If your dog has been feeling extra frisky on walks lately or perhaps is struggling with mobility for one reason or another, it is a nice gesture to tip your dog walker a little extra on those patience-testing days.
A pup that is acting up or needing special accommodations on walks isn’t a deal-breaker for most dog walkers, but seeing their commitment to your pet’s health and happiness being appreciated is a soothing balm on stressful occasions.
The other time it is appropriate to raise your tip amount, or perhaps give a tip when you normally don’t, is around holidays that you know your dog walker celebrates.
An extra tip is a great way to say thank you to your dog walker around birthdays and other special holidays.
This is especially true if your dog walker takes your dog for a walk on the day before or after a major holiday.
While your walker doesn’t require tips to make a living, a nice tip can help anyone in a service position enjoy their holiday work a bit more than normal.
How To Pay Your Dog Walker A Tip
Now that you’ve decided to tip your dog walker and you’ve chosen an amount that fits your budget, you need to figure out the best way to pay your dog walker. Often the best way to pay your dog walker is simply adding extra money in the form of your current payment.
Writing a check for a percent more than normal, adding extra cash to your payment, or sending an extra electronic payment with a note thanking your dog walker for their service are all great options for tipping.
If you hire your dog walker through a larger pet-sitting/dog walking agency, be sure to know the company’s policies on tips.
Most companies are happy to allow their dog walkers to accept tips.
If you are on a payment schedule with the company, then a tip may be best given to your dog walker in person in the form of cash, so they know that this is extra money directed towards them for their work.
When in doubt about the preferred way to tip your dog walker, your best bet is to simply ask them.
This doesn’t put pressure on the walker to request a tip or a tip amount; it simply opens the door for them to tell you the best form of tip payment when you choose to give one.
As a rule, tipping a dog walker isn’t required.
But tipping by choice is a common practice that is sure to show your dog walker how much you appreciate what they do for your four-legged friend.
If you can afford it, tipping little and often is generally the way to go.
Or you could always get them a gift every once in a while.
Besides, it may result in better care and compassion toward you and your dog.
Or at the very least, may allow for some additional leeway or understanding on the part of your dog walker; should the need ever arise for it!
Wondering who else you may need to tip, I’ve got you covered in the following guides:
- Do You Tip Dog Trainers?
- Do You Tip Dog Boarders?
- Do You Tip Dog Groomers?
- Do You Tip Dog Sitters?
- Do You Tip A Dog Transporter?
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.