Houston’s Pet Parks
For dogs, there are several dog parks around town and many regular parks allow the enjoyment of walking or jogging with your dog.
Dog parks allow you and your dog to socialize with other owners and their dogs while allowing your dog to exercise. The dog parks do not require your dog to be on a leash and your dog will run and play with other dogs freely. It is advised to make sure your dog is sociable, listens to you and is not aggressive towards other dogs or people. There are no officials watching the animals and it will be at your own responsibility and risk.
Dog parks are often divided into small and large dog pens.
Opening hours are strict and local constables will make sure that the parks are empty at closing time.
These are the most popular dog parks:
- Millie Bush Dog Park -16101 Westheimer Road on west side within Bush Park.
- Congressman Bill Archer Bark Park – new with over 20 acres, 3201 Hwy 6 on west side within Addicks Reservoir
For a comprehensive listing of all available dog parks and their locations as well as other useful information, visit http://www.houstondogpark.org.
There is a huge number of kennels within the Houston area. Most offer a combination of boarding, grooming, training and daycare.
You will be required to show proof of Rabies vaccination and most kennels require additionally the proof of vaccination for DHLPPC (Distemper/Parvo combo) and Bordatella (Kennelcough) for dogs and Distemper for cats.
Some kennels do not take animals requiring special care such as diabetics or ill animals, so check their policies before admitting the pet and consider boarding them at a veterinarian instead.
For a list of kennels and their customers’ ratings, visit http://www.rateitall.com/t-8130-houston-kennels.aspx.
Pet Stores and Grooming Salons
There are two major pet store chains in Houston: Petsmart and Petco. Both offer a great variety of food, toys, bedding, treats and anything you will need for your pet. They also have pets for sale and adoption from local shelters. They can be found all over the city, mostly in larger shopping centers.
Most grocery stores also carry pet items as well as the many smaller pet stores around town.
The popular brand for food is Purina, Iams or Science Diet. You may have to switch your animal’s diet to a locally sold brand but the selection is great at the pet chain stores and many veterinarians also carry specialty food. If you are overwhelmed by the selection of food, it is advised to talk to your veterinarian to determine the proper diet for your pet.
Grooming is also very common in Houston. Many people keep their animal’s coat short due to the heat in the summer or simply for looks or comfort. Grooming can be found at the pet chain stores, at many local grooming salons or you can find a mobile groomer that comes to your house to groom, keeping the stress level of your animal down. For grooming, you will be required to show proof of Rabies vaccination and most groomers require additionally the proof of vaccination for DHLPPC (Distemper/Parvo combo) and Bordatella (Kennelcough) for dogs and Distemper for cats.
The main pet store chains are:
- Petco – http://www.petco.com
Some of the many locations:
12310 FM 1960 West, Houston, TX 77065, 281-807-4032 (NW Houston)
513 South Mason Road, Katy, TX 77450, 281-647-9779 (Katy)
7510 Westheimer, Houston, TX 77063, 713-781-9010 (west Houston):
5450 Weslayan, Houston, TX 77005, 713-665-4150 (Inner Loop-West U area)
- Petsmart – http://www.petsmart.com
1907 Taylor St., Houston, TX 77007, 713-863-0533 (Inner Loop Heights)
8380 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77063, 713-914-0965 (west Houston)
140 Fm 1960 E, Houston, TX 77073, 281-821-4355 (Spring)
5415 West Loop S, Houston, TX 77081, 713-661-5585 (Inner Loop Bellaire)
A list of a few Grooming Salons:
- Gizzie’s Grooming Shop, 713-521-3693 – www.gizzies.net (Downtown Houston)
- Heights Dog Grooming, 713-863-1042 (Inner Loop Heights)
- Pampered Pet Inn, 713-522-7387 – www.pamperedpetinn.com (Inner Loop West U area)
A list of a few Mobile Groomers:
- Aussie Pet Mobile, 713-874-7632 – www.aussiepetmobile.com (Downtown Houston)
- Rub A Dub Dub, 281 498-6787 (west Houston)
- Maw N Paws, 281-639-9956, www.maw-n-paws.com (NW, Woodlands, Spring)
Pet Sitters and Dog Walking
If you travel often but want to leave your pet at home in a familiar environment or have a pet that requires attention during the day when you are not at home, you may consider a pet sitter. Professional pet sitting or dog walking is very common in Houston and a sitter is easy to find. You can check the paper of your local neighbourhood for ads from locals, such as school kids, ask your veterinarian’s technicians as they often provide pet sitting on the side or check the Houston Chronicle or the Yellow Pages for professional services.
Here are just a few:
- Houston Pro Pet Sitters http://www.houstonpropetsitters.com (All Inner Loop districts west of downtown)
- Houston Precious Pet Care http://www.houstonpetsitting.com (Inner Loop)
- Pet Care Nanny http://www.petcarenanny.com (All Inner Loop districts west of downtown)
- Household Critter Sitters http://www.householdcrittersitters.com (The Woodlands and NW Houston)
Humane Societies and Animal Law
Texas has an animal cruelty statute that protects animals from abuse and neglect. Tied on a short leash for a long period of time, not having access to water, food or shelter and mistreatment of an animal are punishable with a misdemeanor charge. If there is a concern, a resident may contact local law enforcement, animal control or one of the many humane societies in the Houston area to evaluate the situation. A copy of the main section of the law can be found on HHS’ website at http://www.houstonhumane.org/faq/.
Many expatriates treat their animals well and with respect but may witness a situation (injured animal, animal cruelty, stray animal, etc) and want to help but are not sure what to do. If you feel that there is an honest concern, you should contact a humane society to let them judge and act accordingly.
Here is a list of the major humane societies in Houston:
- Houston SPCA – 713-869-7722, 713-880-HELP (24-hr injured animal rescue), http://www.hspca.org
- Houston Humane Society – 713-433-6421, http://www.hsus.org
Rules to Follow
- You must keep your pet on a leash at all times when they are outdoors unless it is within your own personal yard or in a specified area of a dog park.
- You must always clean up any of your dog’s waste when outside of your property boundaries and it is advised to carry a bag with you to be able to pick up and dispose of your dog’s waste.
- In Texas, animals must be vaccinated for Rabies and within the city limits, must show proof by wearing a current tag.
- Many locals have their pet accompany them in their car while driving around town; however, watch out for leaving your dog in the vehicle while stepping out for a moment. Even only a few minutes left in the car can be fatal for the animal due to the high temperatures in Houston. Death of the animal could result in an animal cruelty charge.
- It is also strongly advised to have an emergency kit available for your pets in case of a disaster. Disaster preparedness should be important for every pet owner in Houston and you want to prepare for every day emergencies as well as a serious disaster like gas line issues and evacuation due to flooding and hurricanes.
- Within the city of Houston, the animal needs to be licensed with the City of Houston and wear a tag. http://www.houstontx.gov/barc/lyp_about_licensing.phpWithin the unincorporated Harris County (outside city limits), the animal needs to be licensed with the Harris County Veterinary Public Health division and wear a tag. http://www.hcphes.org/vph/
- Houstonians are big on spaying and neutering their pets for better health of the pet and to help with overpopulation. It is recommended that you also alter your pet and you can do so at a veterinarian or at the low-cost Spay-Neuter Assistance Program’s facility.