You should never overpay for any service, dog walks included. But how much should you be paying? And why?

For your child, you may opt for an experienced babysitter over a cheaper, less-experienced alternative. Why? Because quality and value matter and you want the best bang for your buck.

The same applies to the canine in your life. The cost of your furbaby’s walk is directly correlated to your location, your dog’s specific needs, the time of day, the frequency of visits and the quality of the service provider.

Below is our breakdown of rates and options for weekday, mid-day dog walks on Capitol Hill.

Dog Leo and Henry in Yard

Single Dog Walk

Here in Washington, DC, a dog walk will run you anywhere from $12 to $30 for the standard 20-30 minute, mid-day solo jaunt. The lower-end may use walkers with little to no training or experience, often without insurance or bond to cover your pet. You can sign up for these walks on Craigslist, social media, etc. Be sure to thoroughly interview and vet your potential walker and verify their insurance.

The mid-price point usually encompasses walkers on websites like Rover and Wag!, local agencies, and more-experienced independent walkers. Rover and Wag! do not provide walkers with liability insurance, so in the event of an accident, the individual walker is responsible. If the walker is unable to pay for losses/damages, then Rover (or Wag!) may cover owners under their guarantee. Individual walkers listed on those sites might carry their own insurance, so be sure to ask during your interviews.

Local agencies are most likely to have their employees insured and bonded; this information may be available on the company website. Again, ask questions and do your research to find a qualified match. Companies utilizing employees, such as Saving Grace, have the highest levels of staff training and oversight. Additionally they likely have a team of managers and back up walkers to ensure that your pup never misses a walk.

Pack or Group Walks?

One question to ask when considering a dog walking service is, “Will group walks work for my pup?” Many agencies and independent walkers provide this option. Since dogs are social by nature, this cost-splitting strategy usually makes for happy humans and doggies.

Pack walk rates typically range between $19 and $25 for 20 minutes for three or more dogs. When considering pack walks, you must know (and communicate) your dog’s level of socialization and any behavior concerns. Dogs in pack walks don’t need to be perfect, but they should be non-reactive in most scenarios. If pack walks aren’t right for your dog, that’s okay—there’s nothing wrong with that. Like us, dogs have their own personalities and some prefer the stability of a controlled 1:1 environment with their walker.

If you are considering pack walks, pick an insured and bonded agency or walker that limits groups to three to five dogs. This allows your dog to make new friends, while staying safe. The more dogs walking together, the greater the potential for group stress or conflict. With up to five well-matched dogs, an experienced walker can maintain the group dynamics while still keeping an eye on each individual dog.

Finding the Right Fit Is Key

Finally, no matter what dog walking service and provider you choose, take time to find the right fit. Always check reviews, do interviews and ask your friends. Cost matters, but make sure it’s coupled with quality, experience, and value. You and your dog will be happier knowing he’s in trusted hands while you’re away.

Are you interested in the peace of mind that dog walks with Saving Grace can provide? We’d love to hear from you!

Monday, October 8 is Columbus Day and Saving Grace will be OPEN. Regularly scheduled mid-day walks are happening as usual.

If you have schedule changes around this holiday, please log in to your Leash Time account and let us know. If you have more than three days of changes to make just email Tracy or Mollie and they can adjust the schedule for you.

Halloween is also fast approaching along with the annual Howl-o-Ween at Lincoln Park. If you are dressing your pup up for the occasion we’d love to see a photo! Send your pics to Tracy at caphill@savinggracepets.com and she’ll post to our Instagram feed!

We are already booking up for the end-of-year holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year. We love to reserve the best spots for our long-time clients so if you know your plans, please be in touch to book pet sitting. If you are traveling, we want to be there for your furry friends to keep them safe and comfortable while you are away!

As always, we can be reached at caphill@savinggracepets.com and at 202-544-9247. Just leave a message and it will be transcribed into an email where we’ll see it and get right back to you.

Grace

Hello Dear Clients–

Grace Notes has been on a little summer hiatus but we wanted to check in with you, our valued current clients, and to welcome all of our new clients. We are so happy to have you all with us.

New Vet on the Hill Tracy and I recently stopped in to meet our newest Hill vet, Dr. Dan Teich, at District Veterinary Clinic across from Eastern Market. It’s a beautiful office! We immediately noticed the spacious waiting room and the comfortable exam rooms specifically designed to help your pet feel calm and at ease. Take a moment to pop down yourself and check it out. The friendly staff welcomes visitors and you can’t beat the location!

Cat Sitting Did you know that Saving Grace performs almost 700 cat sitting visits per month in the summer? We love our feline clients and have a team of true cat lovers eager to provide care for your pet while you are away. We are always looking for new “cat people” to join us. If you have a flexible schedule and a deep affection for finicky felines, we’d love to talk to you about becoming part of our staff. Shoot us an email if you think you might be a good fit.

New Software Transitioning to a new scheduling and billing system has been on our front burner for over a year and we’re just about there. We anticipate making the transition this fall. This is an much anticipated change for us and, though there will be inevitable bumps, we’re especially looking forward to the ease of use for clients, clearer invoicing, and more robust communication options which will allow three way messages among clients, sitters and managers. Stay tuned!

Labor Day It’s been a long, hot, rainy summer and it’s coming to a close. Saving Grace is CLOSED for mid-day dog walks on Monday, September 3rd. If you have pet sitting scheduled we will be there to care for your pets while you are enjoying some late summer relaxation. And, if you are still in need of pet care, we have a few cat sitting and boarding spots still available. Contact us about your scheduling needs now and cross one thing off your to-do list!

Enjoy these dog days. The Washington Post says weather bliss is about to descend on DC. Here’s hoping!

Grace

Puppy playing in sand with tennis ball

We know it’s hard to see your favorite dog walker or pet sitter leave.

When a team member lets us know they’ll be leaving, we’re sad. At the same time, we’re excited about their next adventure and glad that we were able to spend time with them. You and your pets are special — we remember all the sloppy kisses, head bunts and paw shakes and they leave a forever impression.

After almost 20 years working with amazing pet sitters and dog walkers, here’s what we’ve found:

Our walkers and pet sitters:

  • Have the biggest hearts, so they’re often the first to offer to take care of family and friends – even when it means upending their own lives.
  • Are adventurous and open to traveling across the globe to explore and try out new opportunities.
  • Love learning. We’ve said good bye to new and returning students going off to study nursing, education, computer programming and more. We’ve had multiple PhDs on board over the years!
  • Are filled with the entrepreneurial spirit. From accounting to photography, writing and painting, our team is quite talented and we’re always so happy when others realize this too!

Our walkers and pet sitters also have families of the two- and four-legged variety. Sometimes they choose to focus on their home life; and sometimes, life just happens and a member of our team needs to take a step back and recharge.

Whether a team member departs after 10 months or 10 years, we miss them greatly and we know that they take away wonderful and life-long memories of their time with your pet. You can trust that your new pet sitter or dog walker has been thoroughly vetted, extensively interviewed and trained before they’re allowed to come into your home. And no matter which team member is taking care of your pet, we’ll always try to love them just like you do!

P.S. If you’re happy with your walker or your petsitter, please let them and us know. And if things aren’t going just right, we want to hear about that too.