Thinking of having a dog in London? People will tell you that London is not a place for that; it’s too crowded, too dirty, too hectic, too… There are a lot of ways to describe London. One thing is for sure, though – if you love your pet, London can absolutely be the perfect place for it. After all, if it’s good enough for you, it will be good enough for your furry friend, too.
This post, however, is not to convince you to get a dog if you live in London. You have to be ready for this – it’s a commitment for life. The purpose of this article is to warn you of some essential things you need to know about taking care of a dog in London. We don’t claim to know everything, so if you have a useful tip, please drop it in the comments below.
Finding a flat in London when you have a dog
Yes, landlords in London are not famous for their love for pets, and that’s undeniable. But don’t give up just yet. Finding a flat for you and your 4-legged friend is possible! Some people will recommend that you don’t disclose having a pet and I have to admit that it may be a sensible solution at times. I personally choose to be honest; life has taught me that honesty is indeed the best policy. The final decision is yours.
Yes or no to the pet insurance?
Like most people, I have mixed feelings when it comes to insurances. Bleeding my hard-earned money into the pockets of people who will help me (under a million conditions) IF I ever need help feels like a wrong decision. Nonetheless, if you have a pet and live in London, you may want to consider it.
Recently Daisy and I took a walk in the park; an activity we perform twice a day. After returning back from that particular walk, however, I noticed she held her head somewhat to the side and shook it quite often. It took me a couple of days to realise that we need to see a vet. Turned out she had a grass seed stuck deep inside one of her ears. The bill was as follows:
- £40 for the initial consultation;
- £470 to have the grass seed removed under anaesthesia;
- £30 for the medicines we needed to apply after the procedure.
Few days after she recovered, I decided to give her her regular haircut. As usual, on the day of the haircut, she started dragging her bum. Apparently, little pieces of hair stick around her bottom and annoy her. It wouldn’t have been a problem if it didn’t result in irritated anal glands and a scratch on her besides. The damage? Additional £100 (consultation, anal glands cleaning, and a cream for the wound).
So, as you understand, within a single month, I was suddenly -£650. Although some may think it’s not much, when you’re still settling down, it’s not the nicest of experiences. As a result, I did a search on Compare the Market, read a million articles and ended up paying £60 a month in pet insurance. It sounds like a lot, but until I can save £6k – £7k to set aside just for that, I’m sticking to the insurance.
Help with treatment through a pet charity
When our vet saw my face during the grass seed consultation, they probably realised that we can barely afford the treatment. To our surprise, they suggested referring us to a charity nearby that would be able to perform the procedure at no cost. The only downside was that we had to wait a few days for the charity to have an opening (charities are incredibly busy). Worrying about the problem becoming worse, I didn’t want to wait, but you should be aware that this is an option if you can’t afford the treatment.
Pet walks and other dogs
We live in Central London (Shoreditch) and are lucky enough to have a few parks around which are absolutely perfect. I honestly believe that you’re going to have a park nearby regardless of which part of London you choose. If you’re lucky the park will have dog stations like this one:
Beware of some large dogs!
Daisy is a 10-year old, amiable Shih Tzu. She’s calm and quiet, and would rarely get excited. During one of our first walks, Daisy saw another dog and went over to say hi. Out of the blue, for no apparent reason, the dog attacked her. After we pulled her away from it, the owner of the doggo had almost no reaction. To our surprise, he wasn’t even a little remorseful. We later found out that this isn’t the first incident with that particular dog.
Over time we discovered that plenty of people around here have larger dogs and no clue how to take care of them and properly train them. Without the owners even meaning to, they create dogs that are anxious, anti-social, and in some cases, even aggressive.
As a result, we’ve become cautious around larger dogs and take time to observe their behaviour carefully. I’d strongly advise you do the same.
Dog-friendly cafes & restaurants
This is one thing I absolutely LOVE about London. There are a ton of dog-friendly places, and even the ones not advertised as such will be surprisingly welcoming to your furry friend. I’ve tried finding an up-to-date map of coffee shops and restaurants where you can wine and dine with your doggo, but with London being London, businesses open and close too often which makes such map impossible to maintain. That shouldn’t stop you, though. If you’re willing to visit a specific place, just ring them up and ask; they’d gladly answer.
Moving around London with your dog
Unlike the NY subway, which became notorious for allowing pet owners to enter only if their dog fits in a bag, London’s transport is open for you and your friend. Tube (subway), busses, trains – you’re free to travel as you wish. Naturally, you ought to make sure that you don’t create problems. And if you’re as lucky as we are and your dog fits in the baskets of the Jump bicycles, then this will also be an option for you.
Find a dog sitter on Rover
Last, but not least, I need to introduce you to Rover. Rover is a website/app with hundreds of registered users ready and eager to take care of your dog. Yes, it will cost you, but you can find some lovely people, usually just around the corner. Dog walkers, dog sitters, dog boarding, or only drop-in visits; the vast range of services they offer is guaranteed to cover your needs.