Dogs in NYC

So, for the pet-lovers among you - what's it like having dogs in NYC? Is it difficult to manage vet bills, apartment rules (no-dog rentals, snobby co-op boards that complain about the odd barking, no place to run and play for the dogs), and other issues, or do you find that NYC is a good place to have a dog, given its parks and other perks - doggie gift stores, top-notch vets, etc?

What do you like to do with your dogs?
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BroadwayBK 2yrs+
I've never had a dog, but one of my former roommates had an aging Yorkshire terrier who needed a lot of pet care. My mom had a little dog that needed similar care, and I have to say I don't think the vet/care bills are much different in the city than they are anywhere else.

That said, I think the best thing about having a dog in the city (besides the pure enjoyment of having a pet) is the fact that when you are walking around with your dog, people are more inclined to be friendly and talk to you. The difference in walking with or without a dog is pretty astounding.
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hhusted 2yrs+
I do not have a dog. I do have two cats. Taking care of my two cats is not that difficult. I just feed them, give them water, and they are happy. I do need to take the cats to the vet now and then for shots and health maintenance.
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Uraniumfish 2yrs+
I always find it a bit sad for the big dogs that people keep here. I've seen some beautiful animals that were obviously not made for living in a cramped apartment. It almost seemed irresponsible or somehow unkind of the owners to insist on keeping them.
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BroadwayBK 2yrs+
Me, too, Uraniumfish. And it seems like people only have really small dogs or huge ones. My previous downstairs neighbors had a Great Dane, and this building is not even close to being something similar to spacious. He always looked like a sad horse staring out the window.
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uptowngirl 2yrs+
I agree BroadwayBK and Uraniumfish its criminal to keep a dog cooped up in a small apartment. However that doesnt seem to deter dog lovers in this city and sometimes I feel almost everyone has a dog in the city. I love dogs myself and If I were to keep one I would probably chose a pug. They are quite small and don't shed much hair. My husband on the other hand is sold on the idea of an English bull dog but I dont think we are getting a dog anytime soon.
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uptowngirl 2yrs+
I Iive in close proximity to an outlet of Biscuits and Bath(-http://www.biscuitsandbath.com/) . The popular NYC based doggie day care and gym and I almost always stop and watch the dogs frolicking and playing for a bit its such a great stress-reliever.
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uptowngirl 2yrs+
Actually some dogs in NYC are quite the pampered lot. Some of them even sport designer togs and enjoy elite grooming services. There seem to be a ton of stores and online boutiques that cater exclusively to dogs in NYC like the http://store.thenewyorkdogshop.com/ and http://www.bitchnewyork.com/. In fact one dog lover who lives in my building also buys health insurance for her gaggle of small dogs. Pretty amazing considering many human New Yorkers currently dont have /can't afford health insurance.
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hhusted 2yrs+
I seem to notice that dogs do have a life of luxury in NYC, both by their owners, and by the pet stores themselves.

Cats also get a certain amount of respect as well.
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Uraniumfish 2yrs+
Wow, uptowngirl! Health insurance for dogs is really...too much.
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I used to have a Maltese in NYC. He was trained to "go" on a special kind of paper, and being a small dog, he didn't seem to mind the small space. We lived near the park and walked him almost every day. Although bizarrely, he never liked other dogs or nature - he wasn't even a big fan of Central Park. Rather, he liked strolling down Madison Avenue, seeing all the people (and being petted and called cute by all the people) and preening and showing off - such an NYC dog! Whenever we'd take him to grass/trees/etc, he'd pout and look annoyed until we brought him back to a more glamorous avenue!
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uptowngirl 2yrs+
@ajadedidealist your Maltese sounds like a proper toffee-nosed gent :)
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Uraniumfish 2yrs+
@ajadeidealist Okay, have to admit that sounds really cute.
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JenMac 2yrs+
I have two 70 pound dogs that I brought with me when I moved here (hence, living in Brooklyn). It wouldn't be that bad at all except for that one of my dogs is really old. That's when things get really tough. He can no longer go to the dog park because he can't walk that far and I don't have a car in the city. Walking to the vet takes an hour and we have to call a car to go to the groomer. I also have to carry him up three flights of stairs every time he goes outside. It's really awful. I love them and obviously had to bring them with me. But, I would never have a dog in New York if I didn't already.
That being said, if I just had the young dog -- the only crappy thing about it is the constant back and forth to walk him and having to go out in a blizzard with the flu because he has to no matter what.
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DBlack 2yrs+
Growing up in the city, I really feel I missed out on having close contact with animals. Not that I'd want to live on a farm, thank you very much, but the one or two times I've ever been on a farm, and watched people interact with animals daily, I was really conscious of being a city person. Even now I'm a little nervous around big dogs, maybe because I didn't spend a lot of time with them when I was young. And I definitely can't imagine having to clean up after the big hairy animals - the hair, the poop, the smells - thank you, but I'm glad it's not my problem on a daily basis.
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uptowngirl 2yrs+
@JenMac out of curiosity what breed are your dogs? I can understand how you feel dogs become a part of the family and as they age the develop problems and complications just like old people do . My aunt who lives in Singapore had a 'mutt' who was the family pet for nearly 16 years. During the early part of his life his vet bills were manageable but towards the end he needed to be hospitalized for all sorts of complications. My aunt always says during the last few months he made up for all the years that he was 'low maintenance'. She loved him dearly though.
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Aw, thanks @uraniumfish. He died in September of 2008 when I was living in Vienna - broke my heart that I couldn't be with him! Strange how much we miss our pets - I still love him so much! I could never replace him, but I am looking forward to a time in my life where having a dog is once more feasible.
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BroadwayBK 2yrs+
@DBlack The reason I don't get even a small animal is because of the mess they leave behind. And the smell of dog food makes me gag, as well. But still, I really want one. If only there was some way to make them stop pooping.
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BroadwayBK 2yrs+
@JenMac Assuming you have a rather regular sized BK apartment (not big), do you feel like it's not fair to your big dogs to have to live in such a small space?
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NeverSleeps 2yrs+
All the dog owners in my neighborhood seem to be such good friends - I think having a dog in NYC, no matter what the hassles, makes you a better neighbor and I think having a pet in general makes you a happier person.

Apparently they help you live longer as well: http://animals.howstuffworks.com/pets/live-longer-with-a-pet.htm
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hhusted 2yrs+
My girlfriend had a dog once, but the dog got so big, she couldn't keep it in the studio apartment. So she gave the dog to her ex-boyfriend's daughter and her family. She was so sad that day. We now have two cats.
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JenMac 2yrs+
I have two chows. On the one hand, yeah, I don't feel like it's fair. I'm actually sending my old beasty to California with my parents so he can have his 11th hour in a yard with grass and cool stuff that dogs like. But, chows are pretty inactive dogs, so they don't need a ton of space. My apartment is pretty big for NY standards so they do alright. I also take them for walks a lot. And, I take the younger one running to McCarren park several times a week. If I had a giant house this breed of dog would pretty much do the same thing. . . which is follow me from room to room and sleep.
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BroadwayBK 2yrs+
@JenMac Awwww... chows are so adorable! That's really sad that you have to carry the older one up the stairs.

Some old roommates of mine had a dog that was on its way out - the vet told them it may need a blood transfusion. I thought it would be kinder to put the poor guy out of his misery than keep him around for that.
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JenMac 2yrs+
I always wonder what decision I would make when the time comes for my old one. On the one hand, I don't want him to suffer. On the other hand, not really into playing God for something I love either . . .
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NeverSleeps 2yrs+
My mom had to put her dog down; it was one of the saddest things I had ever seen. But the vet convinced us that it was really the best thing... she was dying, and suffering audibly. It was painful to see the poor thing like that.
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RoriH 2yrs+
The problems are not the dogs, it's the people. Having been raised in NYC, more years ago than I wish to think of, dogs were welcome. Further, for those that do not really know about dogs, the comments stating that it is cruel to have a dog in an apartment, please become more informed. I have owned dogs and taken in strays my entire life. The truth of the matter is that dogs actually live LONGER lives in city environments than in the country. You simply don't get it and/or don't like dogs.
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