Does your puppy or rescue dog need help settling into their new life with your family? Has a recent injury or change in circumstance prevented you from walking your dog as often as you’d like? Or do you find yourself struggling to give your high energy pooch enough attention during the working week?
If you answered yes to any of the above, you may benefit from hiring a professional dog walker or pet sitter.
By providing regular exercise, mental stimulation and affection, a professional dog walker can address problems like separation anxiety, barking and unwanted chewing. And if your dog or cat isn’t a fan of kennels, a pet sitter can keep them safe and happy in their familiar home environment.
But what qualities should you consider when choosing a dog walker or pet sitter, and where can you find the best in Canberra? Let’s take a closer look.
What makes a great dog walker or pet sitter?
There’s much more to being a great dog walker or pet sitter than affixing a leash and heading out for a stroll around the lake. The best dog walkers and pet sitters have a genuine love of animals and seek to build rapport with your pet.
It can be helpful to keep the following in mind when choosing a dog walker or pet sitter in Canberra.
- Do they offer a free introductory meeting? Many of Canberra’s best dog walkers offer a free introductory meeting to make sure your dog feels safe, comfortable and happy in their company.
- Do they offer a personalised approach? A good dog walker or pet sitter will ask about your dog’s history, behaviour, temperament and training needs and adapt their approach to suit. Their services should be tailored to suit your pet, as every pet will require a different approach to walking or sitting.
- Will the same person be walking or sitting your pet each time? Dogs love routine and get very excited when their dog walker arrives to take them out. For dogs that are particularly anxious or routine-driven, it can help to double check that the same person will be walking them each day.
- Are they proactive communicators? Many dog walking and pet sitting services will happily keep you updated with photos and text messages so you know how each walk or sitting went. If you’re nervous about leaving your pet in the care of somebody else, this is a great way to be reassured that your dog is happy and safe at home.
- What insurances do they have? Check that your chosen dog walker or pet sitter is fully insured and has completed a recent police check. After all, you’ll be letting them into your home and/or backyard and trusting them to care for one of your family members.
The best dog walkers and pet sitters in Canberra
Riotact’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.
To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on Riotact and Facebook as well as maintaining a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.
Mad Paws is a network of vetted, quality pet sitters all around Australia, including in Canberra. Its services include pet day care, house visiting, dog walking, dog grooming, dog training and pet sitting either at your home or at the sitter's home.
Happy customer Wendy shared her experience with Mad Paws in a website testimonial saying, "Paulette was a fantastic pet minder! We know Archie and Bailey are going to miss being with her!! We can’t thank her enough for talking great care of them! The kids were loving all the photos and videos that Paulette sent us. We couldn’t ask for someone better and we know".
Paw Ventures was founded by dog lover Gemma, who provides one-on-one quality care at an affordable rate, with services including dog walking (tailored to suit your dog's needs and temperament), pet check ins and house sitting.
Happy client Jodie shared her experience with Paw Ventures saying, "...[Gemma] stayed in contact with us as often and as little as we asked... Again the important bit is our boy was relaxed and very happy and looked like he had been spoilt. We will be definitely booking Gemma again, time to plan our next get away but longer this next time as we know our boy will be safe, happy and spoilt.."
Pooch Mama offers a special kind of care for well-socialised dogs who happily get along with other dogs in a regular household setting. With Pooch Mama, dogs have a home-away-from-home. They’re cared for like a family member and enjoy constant companionship, doggy playmates, a daily walk, free access to the yard and house, and a comfy bed at night. Meals are included.
Catherine Gale wrote on Facebook, “Would highly recommend … our dogs had such a great time, including two hours at the dog park.”
Mad Dogs & Englishmen
Mad Dogs & Englishmen is a dog walking and doggy daycare provider with a commitment to offering a quality, professional, reliable and organised service. With franchises in Canberra, it promises that its walkers will always turn up, a maximum of four dogs per walker, walks are never cut short and your dog will spend no more than 30 minutes traveling in the van.
Happy client Angelina shared her experience with Mad Dogs & Englishmen in a Facebook review saying, "Have been with them for close to 3 years now and can’t recommend enough. Nothing but the best experience in every way for our dogs, and us!"
Canine Culture Australia
Canine Culture Australia’s educated and experienced handlers love dogs. Services include doggy daycare, adventure walks, lunch ‘n’ learn sessions, pet sitting and boutique boarding. Structured daycare is a full-service, scientifically based day package helping dogs achieve wellness, balance and good behaviour. Adventure Walks gets dogs off the beaten track. Lunch ‘n’ Learn is dedicated one-on-one time with an experienced handler. Quality pet sitting gives owners peace of mind.
On Google, Johan Coetzer wrote, “Our two staffies just loves Canine Culture.”
There’s a lot that comes with providing the best care for your pet. Check out our articles on the best dog groomers, the best vets, the best emergency after-hours vets, the best dog trainers, the best pet shops and pet supplies and the best pet insurance for more helpful information on Canberra’s best pet services!
If you’re interested in finding somewhere for your pet to stay whilst you’re on holiday, our articles on Canberra’s best doggy daycares and best dog boarding kennels and catteries may be helpful.
And if you’re looking to adopt another furry friend, our article on the best places for rescue dogs in Canberra may be of interest to you.
Your experience with dog walkers and pet sitters in Canberra
Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback. If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.
Have you had experience with any of the dog walking or pet sitter companies listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.
Frequently Asked Questions
I work long hours. Should I choose doggy day care instead of a dog walker?
Hiring a dog walker is a great alternative to dog day care centre. Most dogs only need a short walk to break up their day and prevent boredom.
My dog hates kennels. What alternatives do I have?
Many dogs become stressed in a kennel environment and are happier staying in their own home.
Overnight pet sitting is a great alternative to boarding kennels. Your dog is assured plenty of cuddles and one on one attention.
What do I need to do before hiring a dog walker or pet sitter?
Your pet may need to have up-to-date vaccinations, worming and flea treatments before they can be cared for by a professional dog walker or pet sitter.
If your dog is kept inside and can't be accessed from the backyard, you may also need to provide your dog walker with a set of keys.
How do I know if my dog will benefit from a dog walker?
Signs your dog might benefit from a regular dog walking service include separation anxiety, barking, boredom and unwanted chewing when you aren't at home.
Certain breeds also need more frequent exercise and mental stimulation to keep them happy.
How much do dog walking and pet sitting services cost?
The cost of dog walking and pet sitting services varies depending on frequency, number of pets cared for, whether you would prefer one-on-one care or don't mind a group setting, and the individual pet sitter.