Urban Dog Walking

The urban lifestyle provides a lot of opportunities for dogs to get exercise, enjoy new experiences, and make friends.  But in the dog-eat-dog world of the big city, your pooch needs a little extra protection.
Here are some precautions to consider while out on the town with your dog.


Vital Vaccinations
The city's bustling atmosphere gives dogs the opportunity to meet new people and animals, but they may also be introduced to viruses and bacteria. 
To protect your dog from diseases and infections, pet owners should speak to their veterinarian about which vaccines are recommended based on the dog's environment and lifestyle.

  •  Parvovirus - is a common and extremely dangerous virus that is passed through infected stool.  All dogs should be vaccinated against parvovirus.  In the city, the chance of your dog coming into contact with another dogs stool is incredibly high.

  • Giardia - is a parasitic infection common in areas with large numbers of dogs.  If your dog frequents such places as dog parks or doggy day care, we recommend you have a fecal exam every 6 months to check for internal parasites.

  • Heartworm and tick preventatives - are a year-round necessity even if your pet spends of their time outdoors in your arms or rarely leaves the apartment.  Fortunately, many heartworm preventatives also protect pets against other intestinal parasites.

  • Distemper and kennel cough (Bordatella) - These vaccinations are important for all city dogs.

Social Skills
Before taking a stroll through the park or a walk along the lake, ensure that your dog can handle the unpredictable city life.  All dogs require proper socialization, ideally while they are young, so city folks should expose their dog to as many different sights, sounds, smells, textures and people when possible.

When hitting the city streets with a new dog, its best to start out slow.  Start on quiet side streets or in a park rather than parading down a main street.  Make it easy to succeed, and try to always end on a good note.  This process should be done slowly, with frequent praise and food rewards.     

While most other dogs are friendly towards people and other animals, there is sometimes a bully in the bunch.  To protect you and your dog against aggressive animals, always ask permission before approaching another dog.

Street Smarts
Once your dog is sufficiently vaccinated and properly socialized, you are ready to enjoy the bright lights of the big city.  To ensure safety while out on the streets, some simple basic training commands and skills should be learned.

  • Come, stay, leave it - If your dog gets away from you on a busy street, or is otherwise in harm's way, you can save a life by using these commands.
    Walking on a leash - Even the most well trained dog must be kept on a leash.  The city is full of unpredictable sudden noises and distractions that could send a dog running.    No dog is immune to being suddenly attracted to or frightened by something, and just one second in the street is long enough for your dog to be hit by a car.  In the city, there is no room for error.

Collars and Chips
All dogs should have proper identification in the form of ID tags and a type of permanent identification, such as a microchip.   This is especially important for city dogs.  If your dog gets loose in the city, there is a good likelihood that somebody is going to find him.  If your dog is microchipped, the chances that you'll get your pet back are maximized greatly.

Legal Beagles
Each city has its own laws governing dog ownership.  Make sure you are familiar with the local laws so you don't find yourself in the doghouse.  Most city dog laws require that you have a dog license, dog park tag, to vaccinate for rabies and to scoop the poop.

Click here for more information on what you need to know before you go to a Chicago dog park.

As a general rule, it's important to use common sense and practice good etiquette while taking on the town with your dog.  Realize you and your dog are ambassadors for the world of dogs.  The more bad experiences that people have with dogs, whether it's a dog jumping up on them, or waste that they step in...the more apartment buildings, parks and stores that are going to have a ‘no dogs allowed' policy. 
Keeping your dog healthy and properly trained is the key to making city living safe and enjoyable for you, your dog and the people you meet on the street.