Having a dog as a companion is one of life’s most rewarding gifts. The friendship, comfort, laughter and joy that happens when a dog is running around the place, far outweighs that  any human brings with them. Dogs don’t judge, they don’t hold grudges or sulk – they love us for who and what we are – warts and all. Unconditional love of the doggy kind should be available on prescription – because it is so good for our health.

Did you know dog owners have a better chance of combating depression and high blood pressure? A poochy pal can even boost your immunity as well as improve your social life and in turn, prevent loneliness.

Of course, this won’t come as news to any dog fans. They know only too well how precious their canine companions are.

So, it’s official, dogs rule. Committed cat people may wish to take issue with this (they usually do)  – but for the purpose of this article, dogs rock. And cat lovers are just going to have to withdraw their claws and deal with that, okay?

A pet dog in the country is great fun, with plenty of outdoor life and long walks to be enjoyed. But what happens if you are a dog living in London? How does life differ for Metro-canines?

Well, not that much really. There’s a whole lot more going on in a city like London, so getting a dog acclimatised early on to things like crowds and public transport is a good idea. One of the brilliant things about London is all the glorious green spaces where dogs can safely run and roam. For daily exercise and walks London’s parks are hard to beat and south Londoners especially are spoiled for choice. For dog walking Battersea Reach near  Battersea Park, Clapham Common, Richmond Park and Wimbledon and Wandsworth Commons all tick the boxes for dog walking perfection. For dog walking Battersea Reach is a good place to live for riverside walks and also the huge open space of nearby Battersea Park.

London dwellers need to make sure their pooches are well behaved – when there’s so much going on, it can over stimulate them or make them feel anxious. Obviously, picking up poop during walkies is essential – or face a fine. Don’t allow your dog to jump up at people or other dogs on the street.

London streets are unfortunately littered with items dogs find interesting – not all of them particularly nice. Practice the ‘drop’ command with your dog, so you don’t have any nasty incidents. Have the telephone number of the local vet stored on your mobile phone just in case.

Leaving a dog at home during the day whilst you are at work can be hard for them to deal with. Some dogs experience separation anxiety and may howl all day long – (which won’t go down well with the neighbours), or chew stuff up and even leave yucky presents for you to find when you return. Before leaving a dog for any length of time it’s good to get them used to it, by gradually building up the time you stay away. Many dog owners in London make use of brilliant services that collect their dogs for daily exercise jaunts with other dogs in the park. A well exercised dog is far less likely to develop the stress problems associated with being left at home alone. In addition to this, running with the local gang regularly is a good way of socialising him with other dogs – and he will love it.

Londoners are keen dog lovers and you will find plenty of pooch friendly establishments where well behaved dogs are welcome. Evening walks along the many London canal  paths are good fun, stopping off at attractive pubs along the way.

London’s parks often host lively dog-friendly cafés, where regulars stop off to chat and compare notes on walking routes.

If you need to stay in a London hotel with your dog, equally there are plenty of establishments willing to offer hospitality to Fido and yourself.

Owning a dog in London is no harder than in any other part of the country. If anything, there are far more support services in place to help your dog live a happy and healthy life – you could argue London living is easier for our four legged friends. Don’t assume a London life for your dog is a bad idea – with the right preparation and support services,  your canine chum can truly thrive in the big city…

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