Professional dog walking has come under scrutiny following reports in the national press that five dogs under the care of a dog walker in Staffordshire allegedly ran off after being spooked by gunshots.
The whereabouts of the dogs is not known, and West Midlands Police are investigating the incident.
A spokesman for the Pet Industry Federation said: “Professional dog walking is an unregulated activity, meaning that little or no official checks and balances are in place, as they are for some other animal activities.
“In the absence of legislation therefore, the Pet Industry Federation (PIF) published guidelines for professional dog walkers earlier in 2019 with the RSPCA and the Dogs Trust, as well as online dog walking service, Tailster.
“PIF recommends that dog owners refer to these guidelines when seeking a dog walker; and that those offering dog walking use them as a benchmark for the quality of service they provide. They can be downloaded from www.petfederation.co.uk
“Unfortunately, no amount of legislation or guidelines will eliminate the possibility of tragedies occurring, but by raising standards across the industry with these guidelines, the Pet Industry Federation hopes to reduce the chances of such incidents happening.”