Pokémon GO, the wildly popular phone game that lets you catch monsters on a real-life map, is one of man’s best friends. The other is dogs. Put them together and you have the perfect outdoor summer activity—as long as you and your canine stay safe. (The Pokémon you don’t need to worry about.)
Guidelines for taking your dog on a Pokémon GO walk
Protect your pet while you wander the woods, city, or suburbs hunting those digital critters:
- Keep your pup hydrated. A survey of British dog owners showed that many people don’t recognize the signs of pet dehydration. Give your dog plenty of water, and remember that panting is not a reliable sign that Fido needs a drink: dry gums and loss of skin elasticity are. Here’s a dog-friendly water bottle if you need it.
- Take breaks. Dogs love to walk (sometimes at 4 a.m.), but they need rest, too. Some breeds, like English bulldogs, can’t run as long as others, so make sure you’re not overworking your four-legged companion. Sitting for a few minutes on a bench can be all you need to keep him safe! But be careful if you plan on walking the whole Mt. Vernon Trail with your chihuahua.
- Don’t trespass. Wandering around with your dog is fun, but once you get sucked into the Pokéworld, you might find yourself forgetting about “boring” things like laws. Be mindful of signs, especially around neighborhoods and parks, and definitely don’t hop any fences—even if there’s a Dragonite lurking around.
- Stay in your safety zone. Exploring new areas is fun, but don’t walk anywhere that makes you feel unsafe, even if your dog seems excited to go there. As always, don’t hesitate to leave or call 911 if you feel you’re in a dangerous situation.
- Use a leash. In most public areas, dogs are required to wear some kind of lead. Check your area’s local statutes to be sure, but it’s a safe bet you’ll need to leash up if you want to Pokéhunt with your puppy. This way you know your dog is guaranteed to be nearby when you’re tossing ball after ball at that pesky Tauros.
- Look up. Since at least one person has been hit by a car while using Pokémon GO, it’s really important to be aware of your surroundings at all times. The virtual world might seem cooler than our Jynx-less reality, but please lift your head and glance around from time to time, especially if you’re in a city. “I was hunting this sweet Magmar” is not an alibi for failure to obey traffic signs, although Magmar is awesome.
- Give your dog a little love. Our furry friends need attention, so don’t forget to rub their heads, backs, or bellies while you scurry around capturing monsters. As much as they might make Pokéhunting seem less awkward (“Look! I’m walking Jake, I’m totally not looking for Onix … ”), dogs are more than just tools for shame deflection. Also, don’t be ashamed to play a mobile game! People who judge you just wish they had a hobby.
Here is the link to get your app and get GOing. http://www.pokemongo.com/en-
Even though the game has just emerged, there are already online compilations of PokéStops. Check out where they are and help continue the fun by adding your own that you find: http://dc.curbed.com/2016/7/pokemon-go-gym-
GO with a friend: Excursions are always more fun with company. Grab a pal and a pup and head out on the hunt together!