Dog walkers available by using your smartphone - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Dog walkers available by using your smartphone

Dog walking apps gaining popularity (Source: WOIO) Dog walking apps gaining popularity (Source: WOIO)

Dog walking, which is already a $900 million a year industry, is getting high tech.

Now "hailing" a dog walker can be done right from your smartphone, almost like a "doggie Uber" service.

When Alexandra kisses her dog Oliver goodbye and leaves for work, she knows if he needs a walk that all she has to do is pick up her smartphone.

"It's really been a life saver for me with my work schedule," Alexandra says.

She just opens the Wag! app and she can either schedule a dog walk in advance, or "hail" a last minute walk, and within an hour a dog walker like Rachel shows up.

"I love receiving requests from Oliver and his mom, Alex," Rachel says.

Once they head out, Oliver's owner gets a notification and a GPS tracking feature allows her to watch his walk from her phone.

The app also allows walkers to send pictures of dogs on the go and "potty reports."

Wag! is part of a new and growing business: high tech dog walking.

"We wanted to build an app that would make it easier to own a dog," said Jason Meltzer with Wag!

Other apps also offer dog walking at the touch of a button, like Zingy and Swifto.

But just who are these people picking up your pets?

All the apps say the walkers are well trained and checked out. Wag! says their employment process is no walk in the park.

"We vet our dog walkers very meticulously, we are screening them to make sure they're registered vet techs, they work at shelters, they volunteer, they've been CPR pet certified, they have training background and then we background check them just for added safety," Meltzer says.

But do you really need a dog walker?

Veterinarian Douglas Aspros says it all depends on your dog's age, health and activity level.

Some need a lot of exercise and many need more frequent bathroom breaks.

"It's always good to have your dog walked, it's always good to give them something to do it makes their life better." Aspros says.

Aspros warns make sure you thoroughly vet any walker or company you hire.

"You're leaving one of the most important things in your life in somebody else's hands. So you need to know that person is trustworthy, dependable has good judgment and cares about dogs,"  Aspros says.

Alexandra says she's met Oliver's regular walker, Rachel, but when she's not available, she trusts Wag! to send over a trained pro.

Plus, she can watch exactly where they go, right from her smartphone. 

"It's really nice even though I'm not there I feel like I was there," Alexandra says.

Experts say you may also want to make sure any walker or company you hire is bonded and insured.

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