Having a Dog in London: Your Complete Guide

London is, no doubt, a great place to live. The city is bustling with life, and there is so much to do. But, if you’re thinking of moving to London with your dog or getting a dog while you’re living there, it’s important to know what you’re getting into.

Consider whether or not you have enough space for a dog. Think about London’s weather and whether your dog will manage the cold winters and hot summers. Some areas of London require dogs to be on a leash at all times, so be sure to check the local laws before bringing your dog out in public.

It’s one of the friendliest cities in the world for dogs and their owners, but there are still some things you should take into consideration. This complete guide to having a dog in London shows what it takes to be among the 251 thousand households with a pet dog in the metropolitan city. From tips on renting one to the annual cost of owning and maintaining your furry friend, here is all you need to know.

Once you overcome the little hurdles, your tail-wagger will be content in a city with more than 300 thousand dogs. London is also full of dog lovers making it easy to find dependable walkers and sitters when busy doing other things. 

Owning a dog in London: What should pet owners know?

London is one of the most dog-friendly cities globally, thanks to the beautiful green parks and free public transportation for dogs. You will love the amazing pet shops and restaurants where your dog can have treats and feel at home. 

Generally, dogs are welcome in most public places in London, including parks, green spaces, and even some pubs and restaurants. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when taking your dog out in public. 

Find dog-friendly places in London

For a smoother time locating the best places you can live with a dog, work with a pet relocation agency specializing in finding pet-friendly neighborhoods. Additionally, look for build-to-rent developments that mostly dedicate facilities for caring for pets, besides allocating special floors to pet owners. 

Once you relocate, live in harmony with others by ensuring that your canine does not disturb the area’s serenity. If you want to be a tenant, read the pet clause in your tenancy agreement to determine if the homeowner allows tenants with pets in his house. 

Start living on a good note by ensuring that you have permission to live with yours in their apartment.

Take care of your dog

The legal age to own a pet in London is 16 and comes with the obligation to cater to your dog’s needs, including providing clean water and enough food. You are also responsible for its health, from vaccinations to treatments when it becomes sick and ensuring its house is clean. Failure to adhere to these will put you on the wrong side of the law.

While you are in public, you are expected to control your dog and are liable for any injuries or harm caused by it to other people or animals. It should always be on a leash if there is a chance that it may attack someone.

Vaccination and microchipping

It is mandatory to take your dog for all vaccination to prevent it from life-threatening diseases such as parvovirus, rabies, and canine distemper. Unchecked, rabies can spread to humans; hence, it’s crucial to ensure that your dog stays healthy.

Similarly, the law requires all dogs older than eight weeks to be microchipped, and the microchip taken for registration in a government-approved database. Microchipping ensures authorities have all your dog’s information, which you must update as needed, e.g., when you relocate or change your contacts.

The information in the microchip helps when your dog gets lost or stolen. Besides, your dog must have a tag and collar with your contact details when out in public.

Dogs on public transport

You can travel with your dog in buses, trains, trams, and the tube in London. They can travel for free as long as they are on a lead or in a carrier. In fact, on a train, you can travel with up to two dogs at no extra fee. You only pay when you have more than two dogs.

However, dogs are not allowed on the seats or in restaurant cars. In case yours causes inconvenience to other passengers, the railway staff are in their right to remove you from the train. Canines are also not allowed on the elevators as a safety measure unless you carry them.

When you want to travel on a cab, check with the company if they allow dogs, but the majority have no qualms with dogs boarding their cabs. It is polite to check whether the cab driver will be comfortable carrying yours.

Parks and dog-friendly public places

As a pet owner in London, you have access to many dog-friendly gardens, parks, and commissions. You can bond with yours while letting it play, exercise, socialize, walk, run, sniff around, and do what dogs love doing.

You can also join local walking groups so that your dogs can intermingle while you make new friends. Some of the best places to check out include:

  • Richmond Park
  • Mile end Park
  • Hyde Park
  • Wimbledon Common
  • South Bank
  • Primrose hill
  • Brockwell Park

Renting with the dog in London

It might take a while before finding a suitable accommodation that also allows pets in the building. When searching online for accommodation in London, filter the search by adding ‘pets allowed.’ This will narrow down to rentals whose owners have no qualms about the presence of pets in their vicinity.  

You can also save yourself some headaches by following these tips when you want to rent with a dog in London: 

Avoid the zone 1 flats

The London flats in zone 1 are always in demand, and finding a rental is super competitive. Flats listed in the market get offers within hours. For this reason, it is difficult to rent with a pet in such a cutthroat demand for space. The homeowners will always give priority to the more flexible, non-pet-owning tenants.

Furthermore, many flats in the area have a no pets allowed policy. Even if the landlord doesn’t mind, the organization owning the building has the final word on what’s allowed and what’s not in the building.

To make matters worse, most of the flats do not have dog-friendly features and amenities, meaning they were not considering tenants with pets in the first place.

If you venture out to zone 2 and 3, you will find many dog-friendly flats with better spacing since most properties are in converted row homes with either shared or private gardens. The competition for rentals is also less than zone 1, so you are at a better chance of finding a house.

Mention beforehand that you own a dog

Even if it gets hard to find a dog-friendly rental, do not lie or sneak in your dog without the landlord or agent’s knowledge. Things will only get worse when they discover because they’ll take action by allowing you to stay on the condition that you get rid of your dog.

 Alternatively, they will issue an eviction notice which will adversely affect your chances of getting another decent housing afterward. 

Ask for references from previous landlords, trainers, or veterinarians

Having proof that you were previously a great tenant with a dog might help your prospective landlord consider your case. Even if they do their research, it will show you are responsible enough to have the information they need in advance.

Having a reference from your veterinarian showing that your dog has all the latest vaccinations might alleviate fears that it can be a threat to other tenants. 

Write a pet CV

Taking the time to craft a CV for your dog will show you are a responsible owner. It is also a great selling point to show the positive side of your dog; behavior, positive traits, or accomplishments.

Include in the CV your dog’s breed, age, training, vaccinations, and any certifications. Sell your dog to your prospective landlord so that he loves it even before they meet.

Look for a pet clause in the tenancy agreement.

Since you own a dog, ensure that you read the fine print in the tenancy agreement and do not sign if there is no written agreement stating you are free to stay with a dog.

Relying on a verbal assurance can be risky because if your landlord decides to change the terms in the future and says they do not want dogs in their house, you will not have legal protection.

Expect to pay additional fees

Once you get a rental, most landlords will charge a mandatory cleaning fee because of your pet and increase your security deposit on top of what other tenants pay. These charges will depend on the furnishings and flooring of the flat. A higher maintenance fee can also be charged on top of your rent.

Be prepared to offer higher rent in case of stiff competition   

When all fails, and the only property that is appealing to you has multiple offers from non-pet owners, offer to pay more rent to be given an audience. Money might just save the day and afford a favorable tenancy agreement. 

Is it difficult to have a dog in London?

While it may take a little bit of extra effort, it is certainly possible to have a dog in London. With some planning and consideration, you can make sure that both you and your furry friend have a great time in this amazing city.

Some challenges you may face include finding a suitable place to live, dealing with the weather, and following the local laws and regulations. However, London is overall a very dog-friendly city, so plenty of resources are available to help you out.

With some research and preparation, you can make sure that both you and your dog have a wonderful time in this great city.

London is a great place to have a dog when you find suitable accommodation. Apart from the amenities where you can walk and play with your dog and free public transportation, there are also dog-friendly pubs and restaurants where you can treat your furry friend. 

Most people are also dog lovers and don’t mind their presence, meaning you can move about with yours without fearing stares from strangers.  

Cost of owning a dog in London

Owning a dog in London can be expensive. According to research by Statista, the cost in 2022 could amount to 1,875 GBP. You need to factor in the cost of food, vet bills, dog walking, and more.

Some expenses like microchipping are usually taken care of by the breeder before the dog belongs to you or the rescue center in case you are adopting.

You also need to make sure that you have enough money to cover any unexpected costs, such as if your dog gets sick or injured. London is known for being an expensive city, so be sure to budget accordingly. This is especially so if you live in Central London, where prices are generally higher.

Other costs related to services like neutering, microchipping, and vaccinations may also be required by law.  In addition, you’ll need to purchase a dog license from the local council. The cost of this license depends on the area you live in and whether your dog is neutered or not.

While the initial cost of owning a dog in London may be high, the joy and companionship they bring are worth it. Below are other annual cost estimations for owning a dog in London:

ItemCost
Food £300  
Vaccinations  £85
Pet Insurance£330
Flea & tick treatment, wormer, etc.£120
Boarding for two weeks £450
Grooming (6 times annually) £260
Dental cleaning £230
Toys, treats, etc.£100
Source: Statista 

Anna

Anna is an experienced expat and writer. She has been living abroad for over 6 years.

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