(CBS NEWSPATH) – Eric Mendez trusts his dog walker to make sure his 9-year old dog, Lacy, gets plenty of outdoor time. “I wanted to make sure she was taken out at least 30, 40 minutes during the day, so that she gets a lot of that anxiety out, has something to do during the day,” Mendez said.
But he’s finding demand for dog walkers has skyrocketed. Part of that has to do with the pandemic. An ASPCA survey found close to 1 in 5 American families adopted a pet in 2020 and early 2021- that’s 23 million households. With that increased demand comes higher prices.
Mendez said one dog walker he previously used raised their prices from $500 a month to $630 a month. “It’s a couple hundred dollars for a weekend or going away, and that’s a lot, that adds up,” said dog owner Wendy Futterman.
The New York Times even recently reported one dog walker in New York makes a six-figure salary- though that’s far from typical. Violet Blyden, owner of Bare Paws, a New York based dog walking service, says higher prices have more to do with inflation.
“Everything has gotten more expensive, we’re paying $8 dollars for eggs, dog walkers also kind of have to be able to afford New York City,” Blyden said. She also says work from home is winding down for many which adds to the demand. “I think it has a lot more people going back to work, than it has to do with more dogs. People just need us more,” Blyden said.
Experts say if you’re hiring a dog walker, do your research first. Ask for references, and set up a meet and greet. The American Pet Products Association reports Americans spend 9.5 billion dollars a year on walkers, pet sitters, groomers, and insurance.