create dog walking app like wag

In a world where convenience meets companionship, the demand for pet care services has soared to new heights. Among the many facets of pet care, dog walking stands out as a vital service for busy pet owners seeking reliable care and exercise for their adorable pets. Applications like Wag have changed the way pet owners connect with professional dog walkers, providing a seamless platform for scheduling walks, tracking routes, and ensuring the well-being of beloved pets.

If you’re intrigued by the prospect of diving into the lucrative world of pet care technology, this guide will navigate you through the essential steps of developing your own dog-walking app, drawing inspiration from the success of Wag while infusing your unique vision and innovations. From conceptualization to launch, embark on this journey to create a user-friendly, trustworthy, and indispensable tool for pet owners and dog walkers alike.

What is the Dog Walking App Wag? 

Wag is a dog-walking app that has transformed the way pet owners manage their furry companions’ exercise routines. Founded in 2015, Wag offers a convenient platform for pet owners to schedule on-demand or recurring dog walks with vetted and experienced dog walkers in their local area. The app boasts features such as real-time GPS tracking of walks, photo updates, and in-app messaging to ensure pet owners stay connected and informed about their pet’s well-being while they’re away.

Additionally, Wag provides comprehensive safety measures, including background checks for all walkers and 24/7 customer support, giving pet owners peace of mind knowing their pets are in reliable hands. With its user-friendly interface and commitment to pet safety and happiness, Wag has become a trusted companion for countless pet owners seeking professional care for their beloved dogs.

Key Market Takeaways For the Pet Sitting Industry

According to Grand View Research, the overall pet care industry is booming, with the global pet-sitting market projected to reach a staggering USD 6.4 billion by 2032. 

Key Market Takeaways For Pet Sitting Industry

Source: Grand View Research

This can be due to a variety of factors, including increasing pet ownership and higher disposable income dedicated to pet well-being. As more pet owners view their furry friends as family members, they are willing to spend extra on services that enhance their pets’ lives. This trend is driving the growth of the dog walking app market as busy pet owners seek convenient and reliable solutions for their dogs’ exercise needs.

Moreover, there is a growing trend of pet owners embracing subscription-based services. This trend presents a significant opportunity for dog walking apps to develop recurring revenue streams by offering subscription plans with features like discounted walk rates or priority booking. This strategy not only fosters customer loyalty but also provides a predictable revenue stream for business growth.

Strategic partnerships between pet care apps and other businesses have emerged as a successful growth strategy. One such example is the partnership between Kimpton Hotels and Wag!, offering dog walking services to their guests. This highlights the potential of partnering with complementary businesses. By doing so, pet-sitting apps can gain access to diverse customer segments and expand their market reach. This collaborative approach can be mutually beneficial, creating value for both companies and pet owners.

What is the Business Model of Wag?

Wag Dog Walking App

Wag!, established in 2014, has become a household name in the pet care industry with its on-demand dog walking and pet sitting services. While the estimated annual revenue of $2.5 million might seem modest, Wag!’s true success lies in its innovative business model that has disrupted the traditional pet care landscape. The company boasts a loyal user base, with over 10 million pets registered on the platform and millions of walks completed each year.

Wag! has also secured substantial funding, with a Series E investment round of $325 million in 2021, indicating strong investor confidence in the company’s growth potential. 

Wag!’s core business model operates similarly to ride-hailing apps like Uber. Here’s how it works:

1. On-Demand Dog Walking

When a pet owner needs a walk for their furry friend, they submit a request through the Wag! app. This request is then broadcasted to nearby dog walkers available on the platform.

2. First-Come, First-Served System

Dog walkers have the opportunity to accept the walk, with the fastest responder securing the job. This system incentivizes walkers to be active on the app, ensuring a quick response time for pet owners.

3. Freemium Model with In-App Transactions

 Wag operates on a freemium model. Downloading and creating a profile on the app is free. However, pet owners pay a service fee for each walk, sitting, boarding, or daycare booking. The rates start at $20 for a walk, $39 for sitting or boarding, and daycare services also begin at $39. A portion of this fee is retained by Wag! as revenue, while the remaining amount goes to the dog walker or pet care provider.

Must-Have Features for a Dog Walking App

FeatureBenefitUser GroupBusiness Impact
User-friendly interface, profile creation, search/filter dog walkers with location, availability, and ratingsStreamlined booking process, reduces time spent searching for suitable walkersPet OwnersIncreases user engagement and booking frequency
Detailed walker profiles with bios, pictures, certifications, and reviewsIt builds trust and transparency, allows pet owners to make informed decisionsPet OwnersEncourages repeat business and reduces customer churn
Push notifications for walk start/end times, live streaming (optional)It provides peace of mind and allows pet owners to check in on their dogs virtuallyPet OwnersEnhances customer satisfaction and brand loyalty
Schedule/cancel appointments, track dog walk (distance, duration), in-app paymentsConvenience and control offer transparency into walk detailsPet OwnersImproves user experience and reduces customer support inquiries
A referral program with incentives for both partiesBuilds user base through organic growthPet OwnersLowers customer acquisition costs and expands market reach
Community feature with pet owner forums and doggy playdate functionalitiesFosters connections and builds a sense of communityPet OwnersIncreases user engagement and app retention
Curated professional advice section with vet tips and training guidesProvides valuable pet care information directly within the appPet OwnersPositions the app as a trusted resource and differentiates it from competitors
Historical data and trends on walks (duration, distance, walker performance)Data-driven decision-making for pet owners regarding walk schedules and walker selectionPet OwnersEmpowers pet owners to personalize their dog’s walking experience
Real-time booking requests, customer information readily available, navigation tools to optimize travel timeManages schedules efficiently, maximizes earning potentialDog WalkersImproves job satisfaction and increases walker retention rates
Earnings summary with detailed appointment breakdowns and in-app payment processingSimplifies financial management and ensures timely paymentsDog WalkersCreates a transparent and reliable work environment for dog walkers
Booking management, customer/dog walker database, targeted push notifications for promotions or updatesManages operations effectively, facilitates communication with usersAdmin PanelStreamlines operational processes and improves marketing ROI
Advanced analytics (user behavior, booking trends, walker performance)Data-driven business decisions regarding app features, marketing strategies, and walker managementAdmin PanelEnables data-driven decision-making for continuous improvement
Real-time dog walker tracking (optional for pet owners)Added security and peace of mind for both pet owners and the businessAdmin Panel, Pet Owners (optional)Enhances brand reputation and fosters trust within the pet owner community
Secure payment system with fraud prevention measuresFacilitates secure transactions between all partiesAll UsersProtects user financial information and builds trust in the platform

In the above table, we have discussed some of the basic features. But, to truly stand out in the market, pet care businesses also need to incorporate some advanced features as well in their dog-walking app,

1. Enhanced User Onboarding

Streamline the sign-up process through social media logins. This reduces friction and encourages more pet owners to complete registration. Additionally, with user consent, data extraction from social media profiles can pre-populate user information and personalize the app experience.

2. Advanced Filtering

Go beyond basic filters. Implement features that allow pet owners to search for dog walkers with specific breed experience or certifications. Dog walkers, in turn, can filter pet requests based on factors like special needs or the size of the dog. This granular search capability ensures a better match between users, leading to higher satisfaction and repeat business.

3. AI-Powered Matching

Take matching one step further. Leverage artificial intelligence to recommend walkers based on a dog’s breed, personality, and past walk data. This can create a more personalized experience for pet owners and ensure dogs are paired with compatible walkers, fostering long-term relationships.

4. Telehealth Integration

Provide value-added services within the app. Integrate telehealth consultations with vets and trainers. This allows pet owners to access professional advice directly, differentiating the app from competitors and increasing its perceived value.

5. Doggy Playdate Matching Algorithm

Facilitate dog socialization by creating a sophisticated playdate matching system. Go beyond just location by considering factors like temperament, size, and play style of the dogs. This ensures safe and enjoyable playdates, leading to increased user engagement.

6. Geo-Targeted Sales & Events Notifications

Deliver relevant information to users. Implement location-based services to send alerts about nearby dog-related events and deals. This can drive partnerships with local businesses and encourage in-app purchases of pet products or services.

7. Community Feature with Interest Groups

Foster a strong community within the app. Create interest groups based on shared interests like puppy training or hiking. This allows dog owners and walkers to connect and share experiences, leading to a more engaging and sticky app.

8. Augmented Reality Live Tracking

Take live dog tracking to the next level. Integrate augmented reality (AR) to provide pet owners with a virtual view of their dog’s walk route, overlaid with real-time location and even vital signs (optional). This offers unparalleled peace of mind and a truly unique user experience.

9. Customizable Push Notifications

Empower users with control over their in-app notifications. Allow them to choose the types of alerts they receive, such as walker approaching, upcoming appointments, or special offers. This personalization enhances user experience and reduces notification fatigue.

10. Walk-in-Progress Communication Features

Facilitate seamless communication during walks. Integrate secure in-app calling and chat functionalities with the ability to share photos and videos. This empowers real-time updates, allowing pet owners to check in and dog walkers to share highlights of the walk.

11. Advanced Performance Analytics

Provide dog walkers with data-driven insights. Go beyond basic earnings tracking by offering a real-time analytics dashboard. This allows walkers to analyze performance metrics like distance covered, average walk duration, and customer ratings. By identifying areas for improvement, walkers can optimize their work and maximize earnings.

12. Integrated Loyalty Program

Reward users for their engagement. Integrate a loyalty program within the mobile wallet, allowing users to earn points for using the app. Users can accumulate points to get discounts on walks, vet consultations, and pet supplies. This incentivizes repeat business and fosters user loyalty.

13. Wearable Integration 

Offer a holistic view of a dog’s well-being. Integrate with wearable devices to track a dog’s activity levels during walks and provide insights into overall health. This can greatly help pet owners to make informed decisions about their dog’s care and promote preventative healthcare.

14. Smart Home Integration

Provide an extra layer of convenience. Integrate with smart home devices like lights and thermostats. This allows pet owners to set up automated routines, such as turning on lights upon walker arrival or adjusting the thermostat for the dog’s comfort while they’re out.

How to Develop a Dog Walking App like Wag? 

The booming on-demand pet care industry is driven by busy pet owners seeking convenient solutions for their furry friends. This presents a lucrative opportunity for pet care businesses to develop dog walking apps. However, to compete with established players like Wag, new entrants need a well-defined strategy. So, let’s explore the key steps involved in building a successful dog-walking app.

1. Market Research and Competitive Analysis

A robust market research strategy goes beyond understanding target demographics and pet owner needs. In the context of app development, technical considerations are equally important. This includes researching existing on-demand dog-walking apps and dissecting their tech stacks. What programming languages (e.g., Swift, Kotlin) and frameworks (e.g., React Native, Flutter) do they utilize? Are they native apps (built specifically for iOS or Android) or cross-platform? 

2. Feature Definition

Following market research, prioritize feature definition with a focus on both immediate needs and future scalability. Core functionalities for pet owners should include secure user logins, pet profile creation with detailed information, scheduling, and managing dog walks with flexible options (e.g., one-time walks, recurring schedules), real-time GPS tracking with dog walker location updates, secure in-app payment processing, and a robust communication system for exchanging messages with dog walkers. 

3. Development and Design

Choosing a development team with expertise in building secure and scalable mobile apps is paramount. They will translate your feature list into a user-friendly and intuitive app design. Prioritize a clean and uncluttered interface for both pet owners and dog walkers. Utilize industry best practices for secure user authentication and data encryption. 

Leverage features like real-time push notifications to keep users informed and engaged. For location-based services like dog walker tracking, ensure compliance with relevant data privacy regulations. By focusing on seamless UX and robust security measures, you can foster trust and encourage user retention, which is critical for business growth in the competitive on-demand pet care market.

4. Monetization Strategy

Determining how your app will generate revenue requires a careful balancing act. While establishing a sustainable business model is crucial, prioritizing user value is equally important. Many on-demand dog-walking apps, like Wag, employ a commission-based model. This means the company takes a percentage (typically between 15-25%) of each transaction between pet owners and dog walkers. 

While this is a common approach, consider offering tiered subscription plans for pet owners. These plans could provide benefits like discounted walk rates, priority booking options, or loyalty programs. Subscription plans can generate recurring revenue and incentivize pet owners to become regular users of your platform.

5. Security and Trust

Building trust with pet owners is paramount in the on-demand dog walking industry. Pet parents entrust you with their furry companions, so robust security measures are essential. Implement secure login protocols with multi-factor authentication. Store all user data, including pet information, payment details, and dog walker background checks, using industry-standard encryption methods. 

6. Marketing and User Acquisition

It’s also important to have a robust marketing strategy that leverages multiple channels to attract users after launching your app. Consider using some well-known social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to target pet owners in your geographic area. Consider influencer marketing partnerships with pet-related content creators. 

Tech Stacks Requick to Develop a Dog Walking App like Wag

The success of any app hinges not only on its innovative features but also on the underlying technology that powers it. So, let’s discuss some important tech stacks you will need to develop a dog-walking app like Wag,

Platform Powerhouse: Choosing Your App’s Home

The first step is deciding where your app will reside. Here’s a breakdown of the most common options:

1. Mobile App Development (Native)

Developing separate apps for iOS (Objective-C or Swift) and Android (Java or Kotlin) offers the best performance, user experience, and access to native device features. However, both platforms require a larger development budget and ongoing maintenance.

2. Cross-Platform App Development

Frameworks like React Native or Flutter allow you to build a single codebase that runs on both iOS and Android. This is a cost-effective option, but performance and access to some device features might be slightly compromised compared to native apps.

4. Web App Development

A web app is a browser-based solution accessible from any device with an internet connection. While convenient for some users, it might lack the functionality and offline capabilities of a native mobile app.

The Tech Stack: Building Blocks for Success

Once you’ve chosen your platform, it’s time to finalize the tech stack, the collection of technologies that power your app. Here are some key elements:

1. Front-End Development

This refers to the user interface (UI) that users interact with. Popular frameworks include React, React Native, and Flutter, which allow for the building of visually appealing and user-friendly interfaces.

2. Back-End Development

The back-end handles data storage, processing, and server-side logic. Technologies like Node.js, Python (Django/Flask), or Java (Spring) provide robust solutions for building scalable and secure back-end infrastructure.

3. Database

This stores all your app’s data, including user information, booking details, and dog walker profiles. Popular choices include MySQL, PostgreSQL, and MongoDB.

4. Cloud Services

Cloud platforms like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), or Microsoft Azure offer scalable and reliable hosting solutions for your app’s infrastructure.

Cost of Developing a Dog Walking App Like Wag

PhaseDescriptionEstimated CostDetails
1. Research & PlanningLay the foundation for your app’s success$5,000 – $20,000
Market Research$2,000 – $10,000Analyze competitor apps, target audience, and industry trends (in-depth reports cost more).
Feature Brainstorming & Prioritization$1,000 – $5,000Define core functionalities through workshops or online collaboration tools.
Competitor Analysis$2,000 – $5,000Identify strengths and weaknesses of existing apps through reviews, user feedback, and feature comparisons.
2. DevelopmentTransform your vision into a functional app$75,000 – $400,000+Varies depending on complexity.
Front-End Development$30,000 – $150,000Building the user interface (UI).
Simple Design$30,000 – $60,000
Custom Design$60,000 – $150,000
Framework Selection
Back-End Development$45,000 – $250,000+Creates the server-side logic.
Basic Functionality$45,000 – $80,000
Advanced Functionality$80,000 – $150,000+
Technology Stack Selection
App FeaturesHighly VariableFunctionality directly impacts cost.
Basic features (user profiles, booking, messaging)$10,000 – $30,000
Advanced features (real-time tracking, AI matching, in-app chat, wearables integration)$30,000 – $100,000+
3. Testing & DeploymentEnsure a smooth user experience$15,000 – $30,000Rigorous testing is crucial.
Quality Assurance (QA) testing$10,000 – $20,000Identify and fix bugs across platforms and devices.
Performance testing$5,000 – $10,000Evaluate app responsiveness and scalability under load.
4. Ongoing Maintenance & UpdatesMaintain a successful app$10,000 – $25,000 per monthContinuous investment.
Bug fixes and updates$5,000 – $10,000 per monthAddress issues to maintain stability and security.
New feature development$5,000 – $15,000+ per monthStay competitive, cater to user feedback, and address trends. Complexity significantly impacts cost.
Server maintenance$0 – $10,000 per monthDepends on cloud platform pricing and data storage/processing needs.

Total Estimated Cost Range: $105,000 – $500,000+

While the above cost breakdown provides a basic roadmap, several factors can significantly impact the overall development cost of your dog walking app. Here are three key variables to consider:

1. Integration with Wearables and Smart Devices

Many pet owners leverage wearables and smart collars to track their dog’s activity and health. Integrating with these devices requires additional development effort to ensure secure data transfer and real-time updates within your app. Companies developing dog walking apps should carefully assess the target market and desired level of integration to determine the cost implications.

2. AI-Powered Features

Advanced features like AI-powered dog breed identification or intelligent dog walker matching algorithms can significantly enhance user experience and convenience. However, incorporating these functionalities necessitates expertise in machine learning and artificial intelligence, potentially increasing development costs. Businesses should weigh the return on investment (ROI) carefully before implementing such features.

3. Compliance with Local Regulations

Dog walking regulations vary by city and state. Companies developing dog walking apps need to ensure compliance with local licensing requirements, background check procedures for dog walkers, and pet insurance considerations. These factors can influence development by requiring features to manage compliance or integrate with third-party verification services, impacting the overall cost.

Top 5 Alternatives of Dog Walking Apps like Wag

Wag! has carved a niche in the dog-walking app market, but it’s not the only player in the game. Here are five strong contenders that offer similar functionalities to Wag! While catering to specific needs:

1. Rover

Rover Dog Walking App

A well-established platform, Rover goes beyond dog walking, offering pet sitting, doggy daycare, and house-sitting services. This comprehensive approach can be a good fit for businesses looking to expand their service offerings and cater to a broader range of pet care needs.

The platform boasts over 500,000 pet sitters and dog walkers on its platform, showcasing a vast network of care providers and a significant user base. In 2021, Rover secured $150 million in Series F funding, indicating strong investor confidence in the company’s growth potential.

2. PetBacker

Pet Backer Dog Walking App

Known for its international presence, PetBacker connects pet owners with walkers and sitters worldwide. This global reach can be advantageous for businesses targeting a geographically diverse clientele. Additionally, PetBacker offers features like vet recommendations and in-home consultations, fostering trust and convenience for pet owners.

This global platform caters to over 5 million pet owners worldwide, demonstrating its extensive reach across international markets. PetBacker has also garnered recognition within the industry, winning the 2022 People’s Choice Award from Pet Age for Best Pet Sitting Service.

3. Fetch!

Fetch Dog Walking App

This app focuses on local pet care services, fostering a sense of community between pet owners and walkers. For businesses seeking a more personal touch, Fetch! can be a valuable platform. Its emphasis on local connections can help build a loyal customer base within a specific geographic area.

Fetch! has carved a strong niche within local communities. The company’s focus on fostering connections between pet owners and walkers has resulted in positive press coverage, including a 2023 feature in Forbes highlighting Fetch! as a top app for finding local dog walkers.

4. Pawshake

Pawshake Dog Walking App

Another international platform, Pawshake, allows pet owners to connect with a variety of pet care providers, including walkers, sitters, and trainers. This versatility can be a good fit for businesses offering a combination of services. Additionally, Pawshake boasts a strong focus on safety, featuring a rigorous verification process for pet care providers.

Similar to Fetch!, Pawshake’s success lies in its community-driven approach. Positive user reviews on platforms like Trustpilot highlight the app’s ease of use and the quality of care provided by pet walkers. Additionally, Pawshake’s international presence, connecting pet owners with over 300,000 pet care providers globally, signifies its widespread adoption.

5. TrustedHousesitters

TrustedHousesitter Dog Walking App

This app caters to pet owners who prefer in-home care for their furry companions. TrustedHousesitters connects them with vetted individuals who can provide live-in pet sitting, offering a home-away-from-home environment for pets while their owners are away. 

The company also boasts a strong social media presence, with over 1.3 million followers on Facebook, indicating a loyal community of pet owners who rely on the platform.


As pet ownership rises, so does the willingness of owners to spend on their furry companions. This presents a great opportunity for businesses to develop dog-walking apps that cater to this growing market.

Businesses entering this space can build a loyal user base by creating a user-friendly platform with features like secure booking systems, real-time tracking, and integrated payment options. Additionally, offering value-added services like pet sitting, doggy daycare, or training sessions can further enhance customer engagement and generate new revenue streams.

With careful planning, strategic feature development, and a focus on user experience, businesses can create a successful dog-walking app that caters to the ever-evolving needs of pet parents in today’s digital age.

Looking to Develop a Dog Walking App Like Wag?

We can help! Idea Usher, with over 1000 hours of experience crafting pet care solutions, can turn your vision into reality. We’ll guide you through every stage of development, from concept to launch, ensuring your app offers the convenience and reliability of Wag, tailored to your unique market. Let’s bring your dog walking app to life – contact Idea Usher today!

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Q1: What app do wag walkers use?

A1: They primarily utilize the Wag app to access work opportunities, manage bookings, and communicate with pet owners. This app streamlines the entire process, allowing walkers to view available walks in their area, accept bookings based on their preferences, and receive secure payments within the platform. Some independent dog walkers may also leverage other pet care service apps or utilize their own management systems, but Wag! remains a dominant platform within the dog walking industry.

Q2: How to create a dog walking business?

A2: Aspiring dog walkers can turn their passion into a business by following these initial steps: Research local licensing requirements and pet insurance options. Develop a competitive service package outlining rates, walk duration, and areas covered. Develop a website or social media presence to showcase services and attract clients. Prioritize safety by securing pet first-aid certification and creating a thorough client onboarding process that includes vet references and meet-and-greets. By establishing a strong foundation and prioritizing pet safety, dog walking businesses can build a loyal clientele and thrive in the growing pet care industry.

Q3: Who developed the WAG app?

A3: The Wag! app was brought to life by Los Angeles natives Joshua and Jonathan Viner in 2014. Recognizing the growing need for convenient pet care solutions, they envisioned a technology-driven platform that would connect dog owners with reliable walkers. Their vision materialized into the Wag! app, which has since become a popular choice for busy pet parents seeking trustworthy dog-walking services.

Q4: How to create a dog-walking app?

A4: Building a dog-walking app requires a multi-step approach. First, define your app’s core functionalities like booking, walker profiles, and GPS tracking. Then, research local regulations and pet safety measures. Consider features that differentiate you, like AI-powered matching or wearables integration. Partner with an experienced app development company to translate your vision into reality. Finally, prioritize user experience through a user-friendly interface and robust testing before launch.

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