I love having dogs in the city. I love city dogs so much, I dedicated this website to them. Having a dog in the city is sometimes HARD and is not for the faint hearted. However, most of the times we make sacrifices as city pet owners that are totally worth it for the pleasure (and honor) of owning a dog.
Before you decide on getting a dog (especially a dog in the city), its important that you think long and hard about why you want a dog and also the pros and cons of having a dog in an urban environment.
As many of your long time readers may know, my city dogs have lived in Scotland, America (NYC and Orlando) and are currently residing with me in London, UK. We have many unique tales of the joys of having a city dog but also the miseries of city dog ownership. This isn’t going to be a sugar coated view on city life with city dogs but serves as a guide written by some of the most famous and adorable dogs on social media. Our expertise range from big dogs, to small dogs. From herding dogs to lap dogs. Every city dog and every city dog owner is unique with a unique set of circumstances and locations.
The best and worst things about having a city dog are two sides of the same coin. This is specific to London as that’s where I live. The city centre is not the ideal place for a dog; too much noise and stress. But people love to see them, it brightens everyone’s day. And dogs are so very welcome, especially in a local community. Pubs? Sure. Bars? Often. Restaurants? More than you would think. Corner shop? Hairdresser? Hardware store? Ladies boutique? Sure! Come on in! Who is this? What’s her name? Isn’t she beautiful! A dog on the tube makes everyone smile; even more so on the way home after a long day out where she’ll fall asleep on anyone’s lap if they welcome her.
But. Buses. Oh dear buses. A quick read of the conditions of carriage confirm that dogs ARE allowed. So many drivers refuse. And bus journeys are often the only way to link two non central parts of the city. For example, the lovely long canal walk and where you actually live. And these long walks are essential for any dog. But getting to them can be an absolute nightmare. Or getting home from a friends house late at night. And being stranded in the rain when the driver refused to take my dog on an empty bus.
We can vouch that London is a city of dog lovers. It is super easy in the UK to take your dog to the pub, restaurant, etc and we often do. Having transitioned from having dogs in NYC, it was very weird to be allowed and even welcomed to places I was’t used to going into because I had the dogs. Hoping that one day all cities around the world will be this dog friendly
Yes, cities are perfect for having dog events. Online FB groups and meetup groups exist for socialization and healthy and safe interactions between dogs.
Rush hour in the city is never fun so like Burno’s owners, we plan all our journeys at calm times to try and make it easier for the dogs. In NYC, all dogs must be kept in a dog bag. In London, this isn’t necessary which is great but also presents another hazard if you have small dogs…the hazard of other people’s feet.
The best thing about having a city dog is the company. I always know Caleb’s there and it does make me feel safe, even though he is little.
The worst thing about having a city dog is the fact that you have to go find dog friendly places to walk them. You can’t just open your door and find yourself in a forest or fields.
The added security of having a dog is often underrated but is of equal value to all others pro’s. Many insurance policies can lower your premiums if you have a dog at home as statistically, dogs owners are victims of crimes less often than those who don’t have dogs. This also applies when outside walking your dogs. The security of having a dog is sometimes invaluable when walking on the streets.
Coming home to a dog that loves you unconditionally is sometimes exactly what you need after a busy day in the City and is the best feeling in the world (no matter where you live).
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I couldn’t agree with you more. There are tons of great reasons to have a city dog, but it sure sounds like London is more dog friendly than where I live in England. The local pubs don’t allow dogs and even some shops wouldn’t allow me to carry my little 9lb dog Red. You can feel quite anonymous in a big city, and having a dog is a great way to meet people you would not have otherwise met. Great post!!
Dogs are not allowed in the Wellington CBD during the working week and owners may be fined for negligent soiling of the payment by their pets.
Welington is a small city and, at the moment, not residentially based so this is not an issue. London (where we lived for 25 years) is much more mixed, lots of adventures for a dog to have.
I would have a dog no matter where I lived. My brother had two in New York City and they were very happy. As long as you can get out to exercise them, I say go for it!
I would certainly have a dog (and cat) in the city rather than not have pets any day. But a few years ago, I moved out of the city and never regretted it. Then almost by accident I got a dog (only had cats until then – can’t imagine not having both now) and being in a town and quasi rural area has made dog ownership much easier – easier than a condo.
Dogs are very adaptable aren’t they. As long as they’re loved and fed. Dogs are the best.
Pets are usually adaptable as long as their basic needs are meet – food, shelter and love. I’ve had cats in an apartment and house, although I’ve only ever had a dog when I lived in a house in the suburbs with a backyard. It’s often hard to find a city apartment here, where the body corporate allows dogs.
I’m amazed at how many places are dog friendly in Europe, not so in most cities in the US. Some states like Arizona are extremely dog friendly, while places like Long Island, NY are not. Cold weather makes it even harder to bring your dog anywhere – you can’t even sit in an outdoor cafe that allows pets.
Love & Biscuits,
Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them
I think my biggest complaint is that it’s hard to find off-leash areas for dogs in the city. Getting around public transit here can be hard for bigger dogs as dogs are supposed to be in carriers to be on transit.
I have never thought about the pros or cons as I could not see myself living without a dog, I am also blessed living in San Francisco and in my area I have the choice of 4 dog parks to go to so we can always do a different one each day. Layla is small and loves hopping on and off the public transport also but even there I have seen all sizes of dogs
We’re city cats, but that’s so much easier than being a city dog. There are lots of things to think about when you have a dog in the city. Thanks for pointing out these things.
Having a suburban dog, living in a small town here in Pennsylvania in the states, we travel a lot. I taught my dog to pee on a variety of surfaces as a pup. I am so glad for this because when staying in New York City, we see a lot of sidewalk.
I have 3 city dogs and it has definitely socialized them a lot, I am grateful for that!
I live in a small town that isn’t exactly dog-friendly. It is always such fun to go to a city and see dogs everywhere! It does seem that city dogs in general, have much better manners than the dogs we see around here (mine included.) I guess because we have space so it is easy to give reactive dogs the space they need.
I can imagine that it would be difficult to own a dog in the city, especially large cities with little grass. I’ve noticed more dogs in downtown Columbia where I work lately and I think it’s because more condos and apartments were built downtown.
Kilo the Pug is an almost perfect city dog as he would defend the house, and he gets me out for short walks every day. I get really annoyed and scared by vomit, chicken bones, scraps and especially chewing gum in public spaces and on the pavement (we have had all these on our street and in the park recently).
There definitely would be challenges to having a dog in a big city! Keeping them away from all of the litter in the streets would be difficult. I think one benefit that they have is the number of dog lovers in their immediate vicinity. Pet supply stores are plentiful in the city.