You might think that having a dog in a big, fast pace city like London is unrealistic; are there enough green places to walk them in? What about hiring a dog walker and/or doggy daycare? Will you be allowed to bring them with you to work, out for lunch/dinner, on holiday? Is it worth relocating your beloved pet with you or it will be just be too stressful for everyone involved?

Well, it’s a simple answer NO it is not at all unrealistic and YES to everything else:

The UK is a country that adores animals. Brits take care of their pets as if they were a member of the family, sometimes even better – my dog goes to the groomers more often than I go to the hairdresser, and quite possibly has better social life than I do too!

London, in particular, is a very dog-friendly city. Let’s start with the transport system and you’ll see what I mean:

TFL (www.tfl.gov.uk) allows dogs in every single type of transport in their remit. You can take dogs with you on the Tube or Bus, in Taxis, etc. I am not saying the experience will necessarily be an enjoyable one, as with more than 2 million people commuting every day in the city public transport can get a bit busy, but it’s fine if you travel outside peak times. You might need to a do a few trials at different times of day before embarking on the adventure with your furry little friend in tow.

Some top tips:

  • Choose a quiet time of the day and a Tube/Bus/Train line you know very well
  • Pack your bag with dog treats, water and tons of loving words of reassurance
  • Let your furry friend explore, sniff, stop, check and start all over again. Don’t rush
  • Pets will need to be carried on escalators – something to bear in mind if you have a heavy dog and want to travel on the tube
  • If you think your dog might eat or chew anything they find, a muzzle might be the best way to avoid a future upset stomach

When it comes to walking your dog or letting them roam in the green spaces London has to offer, this is one of the unwritten rules:

If it has the word ‘Garden’ included in the name (Kensington Gardens, Wisley Gardens, Kew Gardens) they do not allow dogs off lead or even sometimes do not allow dogs at all! Always check prior going.

Places with the words ‘Park’ ‘Heath” or ‘Common’ will generally allow the dogs to run free, play with other dogs and properly explore, although always bear in mind that there are other people who would also like to enjoy the space (picnic makers, runners, cyclists, children, etc.).   Keep a close eye on your dog’s soiling activities, pick after them, and never ever leave those poo-bags anywhere other than in the bins provided, no matter how biodegradable they might be!

Dog walkers and day care options are available all over London. You can pay someone to look after or take your dog for a walk on a regular basis, or connect with a dog friendly person who will carry out these duties for free just because they like the company of a four legged friend but can’t have one themselves: https://www.borrowmydoggy.com.

Regarding shops and places to dine out, the law says, “ dogs are allowed anywhere but places where food is prepared… and it will be at the discretion of the owner of the establishment”. This basically means that your pooch may or may not be allowed in cafes, shops or pubs. If in doubt always ask prior entry – you will be surprised at how many places actually welcome them with a water bowl outside their doors and/or even a jar of dog biscuits inside.

For an up to date list of places around the UK where your dogs is welcome please visit http://www.dogfriendly.co.uk if you want to explore London to the full with them then ‘London for Dogs’ is your book.

If you want to know more about how to successfully relocate with your loyal friend then just contact us and we will delighted to advise you about how to make the move with your dog as stress free as possible

This article has been written by Beatriz Garcia-Martinez from http://www.securelybe.com/, the best settling-in specialist in London. What B doesn’t know about living in London probably isn’t worth knowing anyway.