Wondering if You Should Adopt a Dog in NYC? Read This!

Should I get a dog in NYC?

“I would never have a dog in New York City.”

I hear these ten words about three times a week as I walk with my small groups of furry customers. Sometimes people will whisper it as I walk by and some will come right up and say it to my face. “How can people keep their dogs cooped up in tiny apartments all day?” these dog loving tourists will exclaim, “It’s SO mean!”

It’s at about this point in the “conversation” that I feel like my head is about to explode. Yes, these poor, poor dogs. Romping around this big beautiful park with their pack mates, enjoying the sun and getting exercise! What a horrible life! (Are you picking up on that New York sarcasm?)

Long ago, when I was in the early stages of my career as a dog walker and NYC resident, I might have turned to these tourists and said “I know, right?? What are people in this city thinking??”. But after being in the pet care field for over 18 years, I can now respond with absolute confidence that..

NYC is the PERFECT place to have a dog! 

How could I possibly think that, you ask? Very easily, and here's why..

NYC dogs and their people are HEALTHY!

We are a city of walkers and our dogs are no different. The vast majority of us don’t have backyards or cars so when Fido has to do his business, its out for a walk we go! If we need to pick up dog food, get a summer puppy cut or go in for our yearly check ups, you can bet that most of us are walking there. On average, NYC dogs are walked three times a day. That not only means more exercise but also more interaction with their people and OTHER DOGS! Which leads me to my next point…

NYC dogs are friendlier and better socialized!

Dog Walking in NYC  Photo by  Matt Nelson

On a daily basis, our city dogs come in contact with more people and fellow canines than in the whole lifespan of some suburban and rural pups. Whether its on the street, in one of our many dog parks (there are over 35 in Manhattan alone!) or out for a morning romp in Central Park, NYC pups are very well versed in sharing space and resources. And it’s great for us humans too! Being a dog parent here is a social experience and depending on your neighborhood and daily routine fabulous friendships can be born just through your daily morning dog walks. Now, Because of all this outside stimulus, leash and behavior training for both human and canine is a must when having a dog in the city. And that brings me to my third reason why having a dog here is the bees knees…

RESOURCES!

Besides dog parks, pet friendly outdoor restaurants and cafes, and the cute “watering stations” outside many storefronts, NYC is also filled with some of the country’s best veterinarians, groomers and pet care professionals. With options such as boutique and on demand dog walking, to puppy play groups and dog spas, there is no shortage of businesses and organizations available to help you make your dog’s life happy and healthy.  After all, NYC is where the dog walking profession began!

Now don’t get me wrong - having a dog in this concrete jungle can be difficult at times too and therefore our commitment as dog guardians extends a bit further than it does an average pet owner living outside of a city: our daily grind is longer, the stress is more extreme, and it all happens at a very FAST pace. But hey, we’re New Yorkers! We are used to things being a bit “harder”. We work harder, play harder and in some cases care for our pets harder than most.

But as New Yorkers we know that the secret to balancing all of this and being the best possible pet guardians is having an unstoppable TRIBE: A team of people who have our backs while we give our pets the very best life possible. This team of helpers can be anyone from spouses, kids and friends to pet care pros like us. As Dog Walkers and Pet Sitters my team and I love helping New Yorkers create meaningful bonds with their dogs and cats and being part of this ever growing family of “pet people”.

So the next time you hear someone bad mouth a NYC pet parent and you doubt your own ability to have a furry companion in this amazing and complex city, just remember why city pet people rule. And then tell them where to shove it.. Because, after all, you’re a New Yorker!