Love your dog, but have a job? Professionals with pets often turn to dog walkers to give their pooches daily exercise and a midday dose of attention.

“Exercise not only ensures greater mental and psychological health for the pets, but also reduces the likelihood of them causing damage to the home from nervous energy,” said Paul Mann, CEO and founder of Fetch! Pet Care, which has locations in D.C. and Maryland.

Many reputable walkers advertise at vets’ offices or pet-friendly shops around town. An Internet search will turn up an abundance of good leads.

Look for sitters who are bonded, licensed and insured. “Ask what their safety protocols are,” says Josh Smiroldo, a co-owner of Waggy Walkys, which offers walking services in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Smiroldo also recommends asking prospective walkers for references and finding out how long they have been in business to avoid “fly-by-nighters.”

Many walking services start off with an in-home consultation, so the walker can meet the pet and learn about his or her routine.

Most pet owners give the dog walker a spare key to get in during the day or leave a key with the doorman if they have one, Mann said.