3 things urban dog parents need to know


Adam Cecil

Adam Cecil

Former Staff Writer

Adam Cecil is a former staff writer for Policygenius, a digital insurance brokerage trying to make sense of insurance for consumers. He is a podcast producer, writer, and video maker based in Brooklyn, NY.

Published August 5, 2014|3 min read

Policygenius content follows strict guidelines for editorial accuracy and integrity. Learn about our

editorial standards

and how we make money.

News article image

In this post we help you: Reduce the risk of misunderstand your urban pup

It’s tough to be a dog in the city. In the country or in suburbia, you might get an entire backyard to call your own. In the city you have to share 500 square feet with your human, can’t take a walk without running into another dog, and can’t poop without someone watching. The humans at PolicyGenius talked to Dr. Stephanie Liff, a veterinarian at Brooklyn Cares Veterinary Clinic, about being an urban dog and what pet parents need to do to make their canines comfortable.

1) You probably know a lot about your dog. That’s good! Urban dogs benefit from health vigilance.

"They know every bowel movement, every morsel of food that goes into their mouths." That might sound like a quote from 1984, but it’s actually about pet parents. When asked how being a pet parent is different in the city compared to rural environments, Dr. Liff told us that city pet parents are "probably more interactive" guardians. " clients may not see their dogs every day, whereas my clients share 500 square feet with their dogs." Dr. Liff stressed that this level of closeness is not a bad thing. "For a veterinarian, that’s very beneficial."

Of course, it might be that city pet parents are more active in their dog’s life because it’s a lot riskier to be a dog in the city. "I see my patients and clients more often, compared to my classmates in suburban environments. pets are more social. More things happen to them." Infectious diseases can be spread through trash on the sidewalk or an improperly cleaned pile of dog doo. Dogs also interact with each other more frequently at dog parks and daycares, increasing the risk of a dog scuffle or contagious illness (like kennel cough).

2) Anxious puppies aren’t going to just grow out of it. Take your pup to a socialization class and help them conquer their fears.

"Dogs here for the most part are very well socialized and interact better with other dogs suburban dogs that may never see another dog." But for dogs that have anxiety issues, constantly seeing other dogs is nerve wracking. What should pet parents do with an anxious puppy? See a vet that offers behavioral therapy. "We’re working closely with a trainer in our practice to get these puppies in socialization classes early so that they’re confident and obedient. We also work with our clients on things like environmental enrichment that just makes the pet’s life a little bit interesting and less anxiety ridden."

3) Watch out for any changes in behavior after your dog has been out of your care. It could be a sign of illness brewing under the fur.

"Most of my patients have dog walkers or daycare at least a couple days a week," Dr. Liff said. And luckily for our canine friends, "the daycare facilities are phenomenal." That doesn’t mean that things can’t go wrong while pet parents are away. "We had this one puppy that came in with a bump on her head and a fever. We couldn’t figure out what was wrong with her and she ended up having extensive diagnostics - CAT scan, bone biopsies - but most likely what happened with this puppy is that she hit her head at daycare, just playing around, and ended up having a bone infection in her skull from just a little bit of roughhousing trauma at daycare." Don’t worry, though - the puppy made a full recovery after Dr. Liff and her team diagnosed her.

If you’re a New York City dog looking for care, you can find Dr. Stephanie Liff at Brooklyn Cares Veterinary Clinic in Clinton Hill. She’s a fantastic veterinarian, and you don’t have to take our word for it - she was nominated for the America’s Favorite Veterinarian contest.