By Ann Hohenhaus, DVM
One of my most favorite things to do here in New York City is to walk in Central Park.
Filled with beautiful trees, twittering birds, and, of course, dogs, Central Park provides a shady, calm respite from the hustle and bustle of city life. As of late, I have been noticing more dogs being rolled about the park and wheeled to The Animal Medical Center in special dog strollers. Then last week, one of my friends called and asked my opinion about these devices, which he had also noticed were growing in popularity with city dog owners.
Just following doctor’s orders
All I said was, “Your dog needs six weeks of cage rest,” and I could see the pet family slumping in their chairs. They had plans for attending their children’s soccer match and picking pumpkins on the weekend. The thought of excluding their dog from these important events was dreadful. To follow my no-dog-exercise rule, they zipped Rover into a dog stroller and everyone got out of the house for some fresh air while still following doctor’s orders.
Getting there is half the battle
Many of the dogs I have seen in the park have been taken out of their strollers to enjoy the grassy park lawns. Often I notice these dogs are recovering from orthopedic or neurologic disorders and are a bit unsteady on their feet. The stroller allows them to come to the park, walk on the grass, and get stronger. Falling while walking to the park on the hard asphalt and concrete of the city would be dangerous, but a tumble on the grass is much safer until they completely recover.
Tired, small dogs
Small dogs are popular with city apartment dwellers. A Sunday afternoon walk to see the leaves changing color sounds just right for a fall afternoon, but halfway through the walk, your pooch poops out and refuses to walk another step. Either you drag your dog by its leash all the way home or you carry it. Dragging is not appropriate and carrying even a tired 10 pound dog for more than a block or so is hard work; a stroller lets you continue on the walk without breaking your back carrying a tired dog.
A crate on wheels
Many people are proponents of crate training for dogs. Think of a dog stroller as a crate on wheels. You can give your dog a safe place of her own while still being part of the family. The upcoming Thanksgiving holiday represents a perfect time to use the dog stroller. Your dog doesn’t like strangers or children or Uncle Mortimer. Prevent a holiday mishap by keeping your dog zipped in the dog stroller and Uncle Mortimer safe during dinner.
A do or don’t
Doctor’s orders, dog safety, and your back – all good reasons for dog strollers to be on your “Doggie Do” list. A stroller is a don’t for healthy dogs who need regular exercise to maintain themselves in option body condition.