Commercial dog walkers in San Francisco walking four or more dogs, limited to eight dogs total, are required to carry a valid annually renewed commercial dog walking permit issued by the San Francisco Department of Animal Care & Control. Enforcement of this law will take place on all City property under the Department of Recreation and Parks, SF Port, the Public Utilities Commission, and Yerba Buena Gardens property.

How to Obtain a Commercial Dog Walker Permit

Commercial dog walkers must follow these steps to obtain a permit.

1)  Meet ONE of three requirements:

  • Have a San Francisco registered business license as a dog walker with proof that you have registered your business in San Francisco for the last three or more consecutive years.
  • Be employed as a dog walker at a registered dog walking business with proof of employment for 3 or more years (W-2 or end-of-year pay stubs)
  • Have completed training that meets the requirement detailed in Sec. 3906. (See Required Classes and Training) and have a valid San Francisco business license. See information about obtaining a San Francisco business license. (External Link)

2) Have proof of $1 million general liability insurance. If you are an employee, your employer must meet the requirements and have you insured under the business.  See information about obtaining insurance. (External Link)

3) Have vehicles used to transport dogs inspected and approved by SFACC. Inspections are held on the first Thursday of every month at 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon at Animal Care & Control, 1200 15th Street San Francisco, CA 94103.

4) Comply with CCSF Health and Safety rules and regulations for dog walkers:

  • The limit is eight dogs at one time per person.
  • Leashes used must be less than eight feet in length for each dog.
  • Dog walker must clean up after any dogs he or she is walking and properly dispose of canine waste.
  • Appropriate safety equipment must be readily available, either with the walker or at a nearby location, i.e. in vehicle. (See a list of Required Safety Equipment.) (PDF)
    (Get Viewer (External Link))
  • Sufficient drinking water for dogs must be readily available, either provided by the walker or at a nearby location, i.e. in vehicle.
  • Licensing for dogs in the custody of a commercial dog walker is particularly important. If a dog bites–or is bitten–without a license as evidence of current rabies vaccination, your dog may be impounded at the animal shelter and/or the SF Health Department may order your dog quarantined for up to 6 months.

Read entire text of the San Francisco Health Code, Article 39, Commercial Dog Walking (External Link).

5) Ready to apply? (Get Viewer) Download the Commercial Dog Walker Application. (PDF)

Permit Fees

  • $285.00 initial Commercial Dog Walker permit fee with an expiration date of March 31st annually.
  • $114.00 Commercial Dog Walker permit fee renewal on or before March 31st annually.
  • Lost Commercial Dog Walker permits are subject to a replacement fee of $50.00.

Required Classes and Training

Training is required for some commercial dog walkers in order to obtain a permit. If either of the following situations is true, you must complete 20 hours of classroom training or an apprenticeship program of at least 40 hours of practical experience at one of the SF Animal Care & Control approved schools listed.

  • You do not have a registered business license as a dog walker with proof that you have been doing business for 3 or more consecutive years.
  • You have not been employed as a dog walker at a registered dog walking business with proof of employment for 3 or more years.

Links to printable forms (Get Viewer (External Link)):

If your situation requires training, you must complete it at one of the following SFACC-approved schools:

  • dog*tec (External Link) offers 20 hours of classroom training.
  • Top Dog SF (External Link) offers both 20 hours of classroom training and 40 hours of mentoring and classroom training.
  • Dog Tales (External Link) offers 40 hours of mentoring & classroom training.
  • Diggity Dog (External Link) offers 20 hours of classroom training.
  • Mighty Wolf School for Dog Walkers (External Link) offers 20 hours of classroom training.
  • Prosh Pets (External Link) offers 20 hours of classroom training.
  • Who Let The Dogs Out (External Link) offers 40 hours of mentoring and classroom training.
  • Four Legged Fitness (External Link) offers 40 hours of mentoring and classroom training.
  • ABC Dogs (External Link) offers 20 hours of classroom training.
  • Adventures in Dog Walking  (External Link) offers 40 hours of mentoring and classroom training.
  • Citizen Hound & SuperDog City  (External Link) offer 40 hours of mentoring and classroom training.
  • Dogwalks  (External Link) offers both 20 hours of classroom training and 40 hours of mentoring and classroom training.
  • Canine Behavior Associates  (External Link) offers 40 hours of mentoring and classroom training.

Commercial Dog Walker FAQs

Where do I turn in my permit application?
What type of business license is required?
What if I walk fewer than 4 dogs?
What if I own my dog walking business but I have paid contractors (not employees) working for me to walk dogs?
What if I am transporting dogs for a daycare or boarding business?
How will the law be enforced?
If I live outside of San Francisco, but I work in San Francisco, do I need a business registration certificate?
Can I complete my business registration application online?
Can a business license cover a couple?
What if dogs are not crate trained?
Do we need to have at least one crate?
Can SFACC list suggested insurance companies online?
If a vehicle is owned by one dog walker–and sold to another–can the placard transfer to the new owner?
Can employees use an employer’s insurance?
What are the penalties for not complying with the new laws?
Do the dogs I walk need dog licenses?

 

Related Topics:
Approved SF Commercial Dog Walkers
Licensing Your Pet
San Francisco Off Leash Dog Areas (External Link)