Here’s How Much You Can Make as a Dog Walker in Every State

by | 03/15/2023

As dog adoption surged significantly from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Americans are in need of additional pet care services. One of the most popular services is hiring a dog walker to ensure your pup is adequately exercised during busy work and school days.

Dog walking is a popular job or side hustle, but just how well does it pay, and where in the United States do dog walkers earn the most? We analyzed data by zip code from ZipRecruiter in order to map out where dog walkers have the highest salary, by state and by city, across the country.

Why Does 365 Pet Insurance Care?

Our team of pet professionals cares more about just pet insurance. We’re heavily invested in the welfare of pets throughout the country, and we love that pet owners who might be too busy still manage to get their dogs exercise by hiring dog walkers. Not only that, but providing information about where dog walkers can earn a real living salary ensures that there will be no shortage of people dedicated to keeping our dogs healthy, happy, and stimulated.

Our Methodology

To determine the best pet insurance providers, we conduct a detailed analysis of 38 different pet insurance companies operating in the United States and Canada. We put data from each provider through the same rigorous test, examining how each company performs in key areas that are relevant to pet owners. Our seven criteria are then weighted to produce a total score.

  • Price: 20%
  • Coverage: 20%
  • Customer service: 15%
  • Reliability: 15%
  • Choice: 10%
  • Plan features: 10%
  • Transparency: 10% 

The best pet insurance providers offer coverage for a wide range of conditions at an affordable price. They also feature flexible customer service, a long reputation of excellence, transparent policies and the ability to customize your pet insurance plan to your individual needs. You can read more details about our ratings and review methodology here.

The States Where Dog Walkers Are Paid the Most

Our first goal was to determine which states paid dog walkers the most, on average.

Dog walkers in Massachusetts earn more than those in any other state, averaging $31,656 per year. With an average statewide income of $70,010, dog walkers earn around 45% of other Massachusetts residents.

Following closely behind dog walkers in Massachusetts are those in Hawaii and Connecticut, earning an average of $31,203 and $30,887, respectively. Compared to the average statewide incomes in these states — $58,190 and $65,450 — dog walkers in Hawaii and Connecticut earn 54% and 47% of the average income, respectively.

The average dog walker’s income tops $30,000 in only eight states:

  • Massachusetts, with $31,656
  • Hawaii, with $31,203
  • Connecticut, with $30,887
  • Wisconsin, with $30,409
  • Tennessee, with $30,211
  • Washington, with $30,103
  • Minnesota, with $30,095
  • Rhode Island, with $30,028

If you’re looking to become a dog walker, chances are you’re looking for the highest relative income to the area and not just the highest possible income. In terms of the percentage of the average salary by state, South Dakota is the best state to become a dog walker. South Dakota dog walkers earn an average of $28,668, which is 64% of the average salary overall.

The average dog walker salary is above 60% of the statewide average in only four states:

  • South Dakota, with 64% of the state average
  • Tennessee, with 64% of the state average
  • Mississippi, with 63% of the state average
  • Louisiana, with 63% of the state average

The average dog walker in America earns around 52% of their local average salary, making these four states fairly impressive in terms of the relative wage.

The States Where Dog Walkers Are Paid the Least

Using the same metrics, we wanted to see in which states dog walkers were paid the least as well, providing some insight into areas you might want to avoid if you’re looking to become a dog walker.

The lowest dog walker salary overall is in Florida, where they earn an average of $22,915. This is about 46% of the average salary in the state of $50,020. Following Florida in terms of lowest incomes for dog walkers are North Carolina with $23,078 and Alabama with $23,745. These are the only three states where dog walkers average less than $24,000.

Two other states — Georgia with $24,313 and Texas with $24,649 — find dog walkers earning less than $25,000.

Some states dog walkers might consider avoiding due to earning the lowest percentage of the average overall salary are New Jersey, California, Illinois, New York, and Colorado. These are the only states where dog walkers earn less than 45% of the average local income, with 40.42%, 41.43%, 43.58%, 43.99%, and 44.44%, respectively.

The Top 25 Cities Where Dog Walkers Are Paid the Most

Since salaries vary quite a bit even within state lines, we decided to pull more local information for dog walker salaries in specific U.S. cities.

 We found that the highest average salary for dog walkers was in San Francisco, California, with an average of $35,226. This is around 54% of the statewide average salary of $65,740. San Francisco is the only individual city where dog walkers earn more than $35,000 per year.

Two other cities came in at over $34,000 annually: Fremont, CA and Fresno, CA, each with dog walkers earning an average of $34,089.

Interestingly, the top five cities for dog walker incomes in America were all located in California:

  • San Francisco, with $35,226 (53.58% of the state average)
  • Fresno, with $34,089 (51.85% of the state average)
  • Fremont, with $34,089 (51.85% of the state average)
  • San Jose, with $33,981 (51.68% of the state average)
  • Oakland, with $33,656 (51.19% of the state average)

Bringing up the bottom of the list of top 25 cities for dog walker income is Atlanta, GA, with an average of $30,153. Compared to the income of all professions in Georgia, this is still an impressive 58.05% of the average.

Wrapping Up: Major Insights & Conclusions

The average dog walker salary in America is $27,465, and the best states for landing the highest income in the profession are Massachusetts, with an average of $31,656, Hawaii, with an average of $31,203, and Connecticut, with $30,887. Florida, North Carolina, and Alabama offer dog walkers the lowest salaries, with averages of $22,915, $23,078, and $23,745, respectively.

California has the most cities in the top 25 in the nation for dog walker salaries. Although the average in the state is below the national average at just $27,240, 12 cities within state lines land in the top 25 in the country.

If you care more about relative salary than overall income, South Dakota is probably your best bet if you’re considering moving. Dog walkers in the state earn around 64% of the statewide income, which is the highest percentage in the country.