You know that your dog needs regular walks, but unfortunately, sometimes your life just doesn’t cooperate. That’s why a service like Wag! is so useful — it lets you choose from a variety of professional dog walkers and pet sitters in your area every time your pooch has a need that you can’t fill.
It’s perfect for busy owners who love having a dog in their lives but can’t always provide them with the attention they deserve. You can still keep your best friend, and they don’t have to sacrifice their daily exercise. Some service providers will even train your dog along the way.
While Wag! is one of the best-known pet sitting and dog walking services, it’s far from the only one. What sets it apart is its deep user base, an emphasis on security, and easy-to-use mobile apps. It’s not perfect, however, as it limits your ability to customize your service.
Wag! Dog Walking App— A Quick Look
Wag! Provides Personalized Report Cards After Every Interaction
After each walk or other interaction that your dog has with one of Wag’s caregivers, you’ll receive a report card informing you of all the pertinent details of the service.
This lets you feel like you’re still a part of your dog’s life, even if you can’t be there in person.
You Can Track Your Dog During Their Walk Using the App’s GPS Service
You’ll be notified when your dog begins their walk, and you can track your pooch using the app’s GPS feature. This keeps you abreast of where your dog is at all times, while also giving you peace of mind that the walker isn’t taking them somewhere they shouldn’t be.
You can even communicate with the walker using the app’s instant messaging service. This can be an invaluable way to exchange information back and forth, ensuring that your dog has the best time possible and allowing you to help keep them safe.
Every Caregiver Must Pass a Criminal Background Check
In order to keep you and your pet as safe as possible, Wag! requires that every new hire undergo a criminal background check, as well as a pet care knowledge test.
It’s not clear what the background check covers or what would be a disqualifying factor; however, we do know that convicted felons will not be hired.
While this should give you some peace of mind, it’s far from a guarantee of safety. After all, many law-abiding citizens have no idea how to take care of dogs. Still, it’s nice to know that at least a few of the bad apples will be screened out ahead of time.
You Can’t Always Choose Your Caregiver
The ability to choose your preferred service provider is a key element of any pet care service. After all, this is your best friend we’re talking about — you wouldn’t trust their life to just anyone.
However, you don’t always have the option of picking your caregiver with Wag!. This is especially true for on-demand walks. We understand that it can be difficult to find someone on short notice, but you might not want to entrust your dog to a random person just because you’re pressed for time.
Wag! Is Much Better for Urban Areas Than Rural Ones
If you live in a medium-to-large city, you should have quite a few caregivers to choose from. Not only will this help you find someone trustworthy, but it also ensures you’ll almost certainly be covered when you need someone else to watch your pooch.
However, users who live in smaller towns will find their options much more limited, and that’s if the service is even available at all. You may not be able to find someone when you need them, and you may have no choice as to who your provider is — there may only be one, after all.
As a result, pet owners in small towns may be better off asking a friend or hiring a neighbor to walk their dog than looking to an app like Wag!.
Can I schedule walks in advance?
Yes, Wag! offers both on-demand and prescheduled bookings. You can also set up regular walks if you know that your pup needs to be taken out at a certain time every day.
Will I need to be home to give the walker access to my dog?
No. Wag! provides a lockbox that you can keep your housekeys in. When a walker is assigned to your dog, they’ll be given the code to the lockbox. Wag! will have records of everyone who had access to your lockbox, so if there’s ever an issue, it can talk to the relevant parties.
What services does Wag! offer besides walks?
While walks are the most commonly-purchased service, Wag! also offers pet sitting, boarding, training, and drop-ins. You can also talk to one of its licensed veterinarians using the Wag! Health service.
How does Wag! Health work?
There are two tiers: regular and Wag! Premium. Wag! Premium subscribers can ask the vets as many one-time questions as they like, free of additional charge. The vets usually respond within 24 hours.
You can also set up a live teleconference with the vets. This costs $27 for Wag! Premium subscribers and $30 for non-subscribers.
How does Wag!’s pet sitting service work?
It works in much the same way that its dog walking services work. You pick your preferred provider from a list of options, and then you meet with them to discuss your dog’s needs. Then, while you’re gone, they’ll stay in your house and interact with your dog as per your request; this can include walks and training, in addition to providing meals and medication.
It also offers boarding services where your dog lives with a provider at the provider’s home. This is less expensive, but it may not be as comfortable for your dog.
How does Wag!’s training service work?
You have two options: in-home or digital.
With a digital training session, you’ll interact with one of their trainers via the app on your phone. Each session lasts 30 minutes and can cover whatever issues you’re struggling with. These training services are available everywhere, even if Wag! doesn’t have service providers in that location.
An in-home session is similar, except a trainer will show up at your home. These sessions are an hour long and currently only available in select markets.
What are drop-ins?
A drop-in is a short visit wherein the caregiver checks up on your dog. The dog won’t leave your home, but the caregiver might let them out to use the bathroom, play with them, or check to make sure they haven’t destroyed all your furniture.
What if my dog has special needs?
Wag! claims to be able to accommodate any needs that your dog may have (within reason, of course). For example, if your dog needs constant supervision, you’d note that in your application. Wag! would then try to match you with a provider capable of meeting that need.
What the Users Say
As you might expect with any service where people’s beloved pets are involved, reviews of Wag! run the gamut from glowing praise to angry condemnation. It’s hard to tell how many of the negative criticisms are Wag’s fault versus the fault of subpar pet parents, however.
The on-demand walk feature is one of the most popular services on the app, and most people speak highly of it. Being able to get someone to go to your house and walk your dog with zero advance notice is extremely convenient; however, many users wish that they had more say over who showed up to walk their pups.
Another feature that gets rave reviews is the ability to track your dog on their walk and interact with the caregiver during the excursion. This makes owners feel involved, while also giving them peace of mind that their best friend is safe and in good hands.
Wag! is a huge service with a broad user base, so it’s inevitable that the worst-case scenario will sometimes come to pass. Dogs have bitten people while on walks, caregivers have taken liberties in customers’ houses, and some animals have even gotten lost or killed while in the care of a Wag! walker. These incidents seem to be rare but the risk isn’t nonexistent.
At the end of the day, Wag! is still an app that asks you to entrust your dog’s life into a stranger’s care. For the most part, these interactions go smoothly, provided that you’re honest about your pet’s needs and behavior.
Still, you might be better off leaving your dog with someone you actually know and trust rather than a random person from an app.
Busy pet owners will undoubtedly be happy to learn about the existence of services like Wag! This popular app matches dogs with available walkers or sitters, and it does everything possible to reassure owners that their pooch is in good hands.
It’s not perfect, though. You can’t always pick your service provider, and it’s not a good option for users in small towns. Also, while this is not something anyone wants to think about, there’s always the possibility that disaster can strike.
Ultimately, it’s hard to blame Wag! too much for the limitations to its service; most of them are built into any service provider app. That doesn’t mean that the limitations don’t exist, though, and it’s up to you to decide whether the rewards Wag! offers are worth the risks.
Feature Image Credit: wagwalking.com