top of page

Are dog walkers in demand?

Which Package Is Right For You.png


min read

Are dog walkers in demand?
Table of Contents

Setting up a dog-walking business is an incredibly exciting time. You get to spend time doing what you love and make some money while hanging out with dogs all day – brilliant!

But, are dog walkers in demand? If you’re serious about pursuing your new venture, you have a big choice to make about where to base yourself to ensure you’ll have enough clients to make it worth it. In the UK, there are approximately 13.5 million pet dogs, with more than a third (36%) of households owning a four-legged friend. The last thing you want to do is set up your business only to find out there aren’t many dog owners in the area. 

In the last five years, the number of dog owners has boomed. During the pandemic, it’s estimated that 3.5 million dogs were purchased. And now, with many employers adopting a post-pandemic mindset, four in ten businesses have asked staff to return to the office full-time. As a result, there will certainly be a demand for dog walkers – so now’s the time to grab your leash, write a business plan, and get started. But where?

To make sure people don’t think you’re barking mad, we’ve taken a look at the biggest towns and cities in the UK to work out the most in-demand areas for dog walkers. We’ve looked at the number of dogs per registered walker and the average price for dog-walking, as well as green spaces, dog-friendly restaurants and pet shops. This should give you a great start and help you with your decision about setting up a dog-walking business close to you and how likely you are to find plenty of eager clients.

Planning for your dog walking business

Starting dog-walking as a business is unfortunately not quite as simple as grabbing a leash, creating a Facebook page and taking the nearest pup for a walk. Just like with starting any other type of business, you need to know how to start a dog-walking business in the UK before you dive in. Enthusiasm is absolutely needed, but without careful planning, you might not have the success you hope for – even if there are plenty of dogs and busier owners close by.

The most effective way to give yourself a solid start on your business journey is by writing a business plan. A dog-walking business plan outlines your goals, what you plan to do to achieve them and when you want to achieve them. You can refer to it as a sort of pseudo-bible to make sure you’re on track to be where you want to be.

There are several key considerations you should consider when putting your business plan together:

  • Is there much local competition? If your local area is saturated with high-quality and affordable dog walkers, it’ll be difficult to stand out from the crowd.

  • Who are your target customers? Is it families, busy professionals, older pet owners or someone else? Different people have different requirements, so think about the type of service you want to offer.

  • Will you offer individual or group walks? There are upsides and downsides to each, including higher risk and greater difficulty for group walks and a smaller income for individual walks.

  • How far are you willing to travel? The further the area you cover, the wider your customer catchment area. But, time spent travelling is time spent not walking dogs.

  • Will you need to transport dogs in your vehicle? If so, the more dogs you transport the more equipment you’ll need to buy.

  • How often do you plan to work per day? Owners often like their dogs to be walked two or three times a day, which means you might have to work from the morning until the evening to ensure your customers receive the service they need.

  • How many clients can you comfortably take on at any one time? This will also depend on where your clients live, how often they want their dog to be walked and how far you walk.

  • Are you looking to grow your business? Think about the maximum number of dogs you can walk and how you may need to hire staff to meet demand if it grows.

The most in-demand areas to become a dog walker

Once you know more about the goals of your business and how you aim to meet them, you’re in a far better position to kick things into motion. But, one of the most important factors in your decision should be whether or not there are enough potential customers in your town or city to ensure your business can be successful.

Think of it this way. You wouldn’t start a business selling kites in a location that doesn't get any wind, so why start a business walking dogs in an area where there aren’t many dogs? One major question to ask is what is the dog population of different areas around the UK?

Based on our research, we’ve identified the top five towns and cities where dog walkers are in demand the most:

  1. Wolverhampton

  2. Leicester

  3. Norwich

  4. Liverpool

  5. Luton

These towns and cities were identified using the ratio of dogs to dog walkers and the average amount a dog walker charges in each area. The number of dogs per registered walker is the number of dogs in an area divided by the number of registered walkers to indicate where there is more demand/more dogs. For example, Wolverhampton, the area with the most demand for dog walkers, has a population of 218k, a dog population of 45k and 1,160 dog walkers who charge an average of £12.20 per walk. This translates to 38.8 dogs per registered dog walker.

In second place is Leicester, with a population of 471k and a dog population of 79k. With 1,250 dog walkers in the city, there are more than 63 dogs per registered walker, who charge an average of £12.50 per walk. That means if you walk eight dogs a day, for example, then there’s a potential turnover of £100 per day.

Norwich is third, followed by Liverpool and Luton, which have 35, 29 and 37 dogs per registered walker respectively.

The most dog-friendly areas to become a dog walker

So, now you know which areas have the most demand for dog walkers’ services, but what about the most dog-friendly areas? This includes towns and cities with the most dogs, green spaces, dog-friendly restaurants and pet shops per 10,000 people.

The higher the number of dogs per 10,000 people, the more opportunities a dog walker may have. An area with more dog-friendly restaurants opens up new places to go with your dog and shows that potential customers value their dog's wellbeing, meaning they’re more likely to hire a dog walker. And, the more pet shops there are in an area, the more likely you are to have easy access to supplies and equipment.

Using this information, we’ve identified the top five most dog-friendly areas:

  1. Gloucester

  2. Bradford

  3. Brighton

  4. Milton Keynes

  5. Cambridge

With 3,000 dogs, 3.8 green spaces, 5 dog-friendly restaurants and 0.6 pet shops per 10,000 people, Gloucester is our number one dog-friendly area – not surprising considering it’s in the heart of the beautiful Cotswolds.

Perhaps a little more surprising is Bradford’s number two position, with 2,250 dogs, 4.9 green spaces, 3.7 dog-friendly restaurants and 0.6 pet shops per 10,000 people.

In third position is Brighton, with plenty of dog-friendly restaurants, and in fourth and fifth are Milton Keynes with 10 green spaces per 10,000 people and Cambridge with 5.7 green spaces.

Experienced dog walker shares tips for growing your business:

Clare Wainwright-Jones is the owner of Black Lab Dog Walking, which she has built into a successful dog-walking business over the past six years. Clare based her business in Cardiff, which doesn’t feature in our list of top in-demand cities, but has used her local knowledge to get the word out about her experienced services.

Join as many local Facebook groups as possible, as from my experience people post on them daily looking for a local dog walker. It’s a quick and easy way to get your business to a wider audience. Some pages allow business posts once a week for advertising too. These pages also highlight any areas to avoid walking or new places to try. I also posted advertising flyers in local dog-friendly shops and cafes.

‘Something else I did early on was use vehicle signage, which is easy advertising while I drive around the area I want to work in. When first starting out, I used logo magnets on my car, but now I’m established I have signage on the van with contact details and social media pages.


With UK homes now owning more dogs than ever before, there’s clearly a growing demand for dog walkers across the country. There’s never been a better time to set up a dog-walking business, so strike while the iron’s hot – it’s just important to remember that, like with any business, a solid plan is still important. 

To give yourself the best chance of success, you might want to consider establishing your business in and around the most in-demand areas, such as Wolverhampton, Leicester or Norwich. Or, one of the top dog-friendly areas, like Gloucester, Bradford, or Brighton. 

If you’re not close to any of these areas, then don’t worry – so long as you have a solid business plan and you’re committed to making it work, you can still find success. So, grab a pen and a leash and start planning your own dog-walking empire. And it couldn’t be easier – If you're now ready to start your dog-walking business, check your business name is available and SUAZ will help you set up the rest.

Recommended Readings

bottom of page