ClickCease Dog Walkers and Dog Bite Liability | What You Should Know

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Dog Walkers and Dog Bite Liability

Dog Walkers and Dog Bite Liability

Dogs require lots of love and care, which include going out for daily walks. However, the life of a dog owner can get so busy that sometimes, they might have to hire someone else to do their dog walking for them. They might ask their neighbor, a pet sitter, or even request a walker from the popular dog walking apps Wag! and Rover. Sometimes, while in the care of others, a dog bite incident might occur, and someone can get hurt. Who’s responsible for the injuries in this instance - the dog owner, the dog walker, or both? What if the dog walker themself becomes injured? Below, our expert team of dog bite injury attorneys from West Coast Trial Lawyers lay out the legal implications of dog bites and injuries that occur while the dog is under the care of a dog walker or other caretaker. 

Owner’s Liability for Dog Bites

California is a strict liability state when it comes to dog bites, and owners are commonly held liable for the injuries caused by their dogs to others whether the injury occurs on their property or on public property. One exception might be if a dog was provoked by the person that they bit. However, in most cases, a dog owner will be held responsible, even if the dog was in the care of someone else, including dog walkers. 

An aggrieved individual can file a claim against the dog owner for their injuries. The following are sources of that monies for the injuries can come from: 

  • The dog owner’s home owner insurance
  • The private or commercial property owner’s insurance

Dog Walker’s Liability for Dog Bites

California is also a comparative liability state though, meaning that more than one person can be held liable for the causing of injuries sustained in an accident. This means that dog walkers might also be held liable for the injuries a dog under their care caused someone else. This is dependent on the level of negligence that a dog walker commits that allows the accident and injuries to happen.

Consider the following example: a dog owner leaves the dog under the care of the dog walker and instructs them to place a muzzle on the dog while they are out for a walk. However, the dog walker neglects to put the muzzle on the dog and while they are on the walk, the dog bites and attacks someone. In this instance, the dog walker can also be found liable for causing the accident due to their negligence.

Dog Walking Apps’ Liability for Dog Bites

Dog walking apps like Wag! and Rover might employ dog walkers, however each company has their own set of rules concerning liability and providing coverage for accidents and injuries caused while working with the pet unde the app. 

Rover offers the Rover Guarantee, which provides coverage for up to $1,000,000 for damages caused to third party individuals injured by a pet while under the care of a Rover employee, with some exclusions. 

Wag!’s Terms of Services, on the other hand, discloses their voidance of responsibility for any personal injury caused by a pet while under the care of a Wag! employee.

What Happens if a Dog Walker is Bit?

According to California’s Veterinarian Rule A dog walker, such as any other pet caretaker, makes an assumption of risk when taking care of pets. This means that a pet owner might not be held liable for injuries caused to a dog walker. However, in some cases, if a pet owner doesn’t disclose that their animal might be dangerous or has a history of biting and a dog walker is bit, a pet owner could be held responsible. This is especially true upon a new dog walker's first contact with the pet.

What to Do If a Dog Bite Happens

If a dog bite happens while animal is under the care of a dog walker, there are a couple of steps you should take: 

  • Call for emergency services. Call the police so that they can make an official report of the incident and an ambulance for emergency medical attention, if needed. While the officer should make an official report, you should be sure to make one of your own as well and also document the information of the officer who comes on site. 
  • Document the incident and the injuries. Take photos of the dog and their dog tags, the walker, the scene of the incident, and all injuries sustained from the accident. Be sure to gather witness testimony and contact information as well, if available. 
  • Exchange contact information with the sitter and ask for the contact information of the owner. Request that the owner is immediately notified and that you need their insurance information as well. 
  • Get immediate medical attention. Be sure to get medical attention as soon as possible and to document all visits, diagnosis, and treatments. This is essential to obtaining evidence to build your case. Don’t worry about the medical bills, a resourceful and successful dog bite attorney will ensure that all of your medical bills are covered so that you can get the treatment that you need to get well. 
  • Get an experienced dog bite attorney to help you navigate the filing of a personal injury claim. They will use all the available evidence to build your case to file the claim, negotiate with insurance companies to ensure you receive maximum compensation, and represent you in a lawsuit, if necessary. 

Need a Dog Bite Injury Attorney? West Coast Trial Lawyers Can Help

Get the compensation that you deserve! Our experienced team of dog bite injury attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers can help you cover medical bills as they come in and ensure that you receive compensation for all of your losses by negotiating with the insurance companies and/or filing a lawsuit if needed. Call us today at 888 341 9802 or email [email protected] to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring, and compassionate expert personal injury legal team.


If you have been injured in an accident, you can count on the legal team at West Coast Trial Lawyers to fight for your rights every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation with a personal injury attorney.
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