• Pet Waggin' Pet Care Team

How To Walk Your Small Dog In Long Beach, CA

Small dogs make great companions in a dog-friendly city like Long Beach. It’s easy to take them with you when you go out and about. They don’t take up much room on a restaurant patio, and they may be allowed in some places where larger dogs are not.

view of long beach, ca

They may be small, but their legs still need stretching. Small dogs can have a lot of energy in a tiny package, and they need exercise to let it out in a constructive way. Not to mention the need to maintain a healthy weight. When your ideal weight is 10lbs, 1 or 2 excess pounds can put a lot of extra pressure on the joints.


We have recommendations for the best equipment for walking your small dog. We also have some tips for how to keep them safe and for proper etiquette when you’re out and about in Long Beach. Wondering how to walk your small dog? You’re in the right place!



Small Dog Walking Equipment


Small Dog Harnesses


When picking dog walking equipment, keep your dog’s anatomy in mind. Some small dogs have delicate necks and are prone to conditions like collapsing trachea and ocular proptosis. The pressure from a collar and leash, especially if your dog pulls, can exacerbate these problems.


When it comes to walking almost any dog, we prefer a harness. Harnesses make it easier to control your dog, without placing pressure on its neck. If your dog is great at wiggling out of things, a well fitting harness will stop your little escape artist.


One of our favorite harnesses is the Freedom Harness. It goes down to a size extra small, making it great for very small dogs. You can connect the leash from the top, or lead your dog from the chest, or use the dual-clip leash that comes with the harness and attach to both spots. If your dog pulls, it’s an effective tool to help train your dog to walk with a loose leash.

small dog with harness on

Another excellent option is the Puppia Back Clip Harness. This harness is soft and padded. It's made of breathable mesh for your dog’s comfort. This harness is easy to chuck into the washing machine after a splash through a muddy puddle. It’s also easy to slip onto your dog.


When fitting your dog for a harness, measurements are so important. A harness that fits well should fit snugly against the body, without being too tight and restricting. It should stay in place when your dog moves but not squeeze. And always check the fit under the arms because an ill-fitting harness can cause uncomfortable chafing.



The Best Leash for a Small Dog


If most of your walking is going to be around Long Beach, then the perfect leash length is 4 feet - 6 feet long. In a city setting, 4 feet allows for better control of your dog, while a 6 foot leash allows more freedom of movement for sniffing so consider your environment when choosing a leash length. A nylon leash with a traffic handle is perfect for city walking. The traffic handle lets you grab your dog and keep them close to you at stop signs or if another dog seems confrontational.


We recommend staying far away from retractable leashes. They offer no control, the mechanisms are easily broken, and they can place you and your dog at risk. Tangling, abrasions, and severe lacerations are just a few of the incidents that have occurred as a result of retractable leashes.


retractable leash long beach dog walking


Use a Small Dog Carrier


If you’re out for a day in Long Beach and visiting a place like Belmont Shore, or any other dog-friendly sites, your dog’s little legs are probably getting a bit tired. That’s why having a carrier tote with you is a great idea.


A carrier tote lets you pick your little dog up and give them a rest. Plus, it can also hold snacks, poop bags, and your phone! A carrier tote like the Slowton Adjustable Hard Bottom fits like a crossbody, so it’s easier for you to carry, and it has extra pockets for all of your stuff.


If you want to know more about all of our favorite dog walking equipment, you can check out the full list here.



Small Dog Walking Safety and Etiquette


  • People sometimes struggle with walking small dogs on a leash. This is usually because small dogs are easy to pick up when they get up to shenanigans. Make sure you take the time to train your dog, no matter what their size, on proper leash etiquette. Leash manners and socialization can help prevent some of the confrontations that small dog owners are so afraid of. Small dogs can be leash reactive, barking and possibly charging at larger dogs. Proper leash training prevents leash reactivity and keeps your small dog safe. There may be some situations in which the best idea is to scoop up your pup and get out of the way. This should be a last resort and not your default.

small dog with leash and harness

  • Watch for overexertion in your dog. If you’re on a long outing, make sure you have an alternate way of transporting your dog. Brachycephalic dogs in particular are lacking in the stamina department and need to be carefully monitored. This includes Bulldogs, Pekingese, Lhasa Apso, and any other breed with a short snout. Additionally, for any small dog, too much exercise can lead to joint injuries, muscle strain, and damaged paw pads.


  • Always have poop bags on hand. Whether you’re on the sidewalk or on the beach, always make sure you clean up after your dog. This will help encourage Long Beach to maintain its dog-friendly status. The city even has poop bag stations in case you forgot yours or have run out!


  • On walks downtown, when your pup has to potty, make sure it’s in the grass. Going on buildings and fire hydrants is kind of stinky… and less than sanitary. The City Of Long Beach has even made the request in writing. Help us keep Long Beach clean!



At Pet Waggin’, we love small dogs. We regularly care for many small dogs in the downtown Long Beach area. With every walk out and about, we are sure to follow all safety protocols and good doggy etiquette to keep your pup safe and our amazing, dog friendly city clean!


Looking for help caring for your small dog in Long Beach? Give Pet Waggin’ a call!