Doggy Lifestyle in Casco Viejo… the Best of Panama City!

What a dog´s life!

Many will have arguments against having dogs in apartments and closed spaces. The dogs need a backyard, and probably they are right. However, at Casco Viejo, Panama´s Colonial Quarter,  I can say first hand that I´ve never seen happier dogs. The reasons are probably a combination of having great owners but also great spaces available right outside your door.

Let me explain: Casco Viejo is the only pedestrian town in Panama City. Not only this, but it has several areas that work as perfect dog parks which include a beach!  Check out the full list of workout places and relaxing spaces for you and your dog HERE


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  2. Mary Roush says:
    April 29, 2010 at 5:20 am

    Interesting post, but not my experience. The parks (and some sidewalks even) are laden with undisposed fecal deposits from dogs of “bagless” owners (or strays maybe?) with no regard for others–not only regard for their footwear, but for children and dogs who might ingest parasite-laden feces. The grassy areas (few and far between), bushes, and street gutters are tick-infested. Even walking our dogs down the middle of the streets (middle because if the light is right you can SEE ticks JUMPING in the gutter residue)does not prevent them from acquiring ticks (we pick off 10-20 on average, each, PER DAY–spending at least an hour a day on this “avocation”), suffering from endless rounds of tick fever, and bringing ticks into our apartment which we have to fumigate every 8 days. Still, there are ticks on our floors, our walls, our bedding, our drapes (and, after we spray) our ceilings. Friends in other areas of the city do not have this problem. So IMHO Casco Antiguo is the WORST area of the city if you are a dog owner who cares about the health and well-being of your 4-footed companions. We have spent hundreds of dollars just TRYING to keep them healthy, but it’s a daily, never-ending challenge.

    • Hi Mary! The thing is that Panama isn´t a tick free place anywhere. I´ve lived both in the suburbs and in Casco Viejo and have seen the lifestyle for dogs in both places. Whether you have a backyard or a balcony (in the case of Casco) ticks will be an issue no matter what. But what happens in the rest of the city is that dogs “because they have a backyard” are abandoned to it. They don´t get walks nor variety as often as a Casco dog, simply because outdoor places are far away and everything has to be done jumping in a car… which takes time during the week and nobody has that luxury now a days. Yes, we do have to keep an eye out for ticks, bacteria and all sorts of things. If the dog is sensitive, even more. But other than locking the door in your apartment, you´ll have those same issues anywhere in Panama, just in general.

      The tropics are a heavy place for dogs no matter what. Humidity is difficult for those with long hair, and with humidity comes all sorts of nasty stuff. But for me, being able to just walk out of the house and in 45 minutes have a fantastic run with my dog all the way to Cinta Costera and back is worth it. I don´t have to jump on a car if I don´t want to, I just wake up and do it.

      I´ve seen dogs in the suburbs go completely bananas, where they fight to hell and even get killed. I haven´t seen one Casco dog being unfriendly. There is a second argument and might be that people who move to Casco Viejo are more sensitive in every way, and therefore care more about their people, their pets and their quality of life. And even if this is the only argument… it still means that Casco is the best place in Panama City for a dog.

      • plus… your dog gets 100% more socialized in Casco than anywhere else…

      • Mary Roush says:
        April 30, 2010 at 6:37 am

        OK, your experience is your experience…but several rounds of tick fever each and every year have taken their toll on our “kids”. I hug up on them frequently because I know their lives will be shortened. And our vet bills are astronomical–not easy to accomodate on retirement budget. All I know is that our friends with dogs (with whom we’ve discussed the problem) in Marbella, Costa del Este, Altos del Maria, El Valle, and Costa del Mar don’t have the tick problem we do. IN FACT, some report NEVER finding a tick on their dog. OK, they might be missing some…but when you pick off an ave. of 20 a day (WITH Frontline, a Baytril collar, and a bi-weekly insecticide bath); continually have to administer anti-biotics and get blood tests; have to fumigate every 8 days; wake up several times in the middle of the night because ticks are crawling on you; spend hours a day picking them off your bed, your clothing, your drapes, your walls, etc….then this neighborhood has a DEFINITE infestation problem. Whether it’s from the feral cats and dogs, the vultures, who knows. But it’s a public health problem and something should be done. They spray for mosquitoes; why not eliminate the ticks?

      • Mary Roush says:
        April 30, 2010 at 6:43 am

        Sorry, I said “Costa del Mar” when I meant Coco del Mar. That’s where Charlie (a cocker spaniel) and Daisy (a rescue dog) live…and their owner, James Derry, said he’s never found a tick on either dog other than after runs thru grass and around bushes in Parque Omar. He takes his dogs all over the country, yet they don’t become infested. Don’t believe me? Shine a flashlight on the gutter debris and watch the ticks jump!

        • Hi Mary, casually I was talking to Katia, a friend who has a tourism guide business and brings people to Casco all the time. She lives in San Francisco, very close to Parque Omar. She never takes the dog out of the apartment and social areas because she is always scared of ticks. She finally did last week and got tick fever anyways! I know Casco needs attention to this regard, and that we all do need to get collars for our dogs and use drops. But the tick situation isn´t a specific Casco Viejo problem, although I do agree with you there could be much more done in this respect.

      • Mary Roush says:
        May 5, 2010 at 9:31 pm

        Re: your friend, Katia. Our dogs need to go out to relieve themselves 4x a day. If she doesn’t take them out, where does her dog “do his/her ‘business'”? In the “social areas”? (OK, I assume she picks up and the concierge flushes the area of dog urine.)

        Ya gotta take your dogs outside–both for stimulation and biological “relief”–but every time one does, one is putting their health and longevity at serious risk. Bottom line: Had we known we were going to be so severely compromising our kids’ health, running up these expensive vet bills (albeit less than they’d be in the U.S. for comparable care), and exposing ourselves to continual emotional (and chemical-exposure)stress, we would have re-considered our retirement in Panama.

    • Mary Roush says:
      May 5, 2010 at 9:24 pm

      I just can’t figure it out. Friends in Coco del Mar and La Cresta with dogs report virtually no tick problem…and they both have long-haired (fur vs. dense hair) dogs as do we.

      It’s driving me nuts. Despite the Baytril collars, the monthly Frontline applications, the bi-weekly insecticide-shampoo baths, and our frequent fumigations, I picked 3 ticks off myself today, 3 FAT engorged “popable” ticks off the sheets, 18 off the bedroom drapes, a few other random ones off the walls in the apt., and 17 off the pooches (so far…another “tick check” tonight).

      Meanwhile, we’re administering the Doxicyline, B-12, Transfer Factor powder…and powdering the pooches with tick powder (which they lick off, so I’m constantly stressed about what they are ingesting).

  3. Mary Roush says:
    April 29, 2010 at 5:24 am

    Oh, and that cute photo of Chespa wading in the fountain? Well, next time she takes a dip (and our dogs used to do the same thing; they loved it!), take a look at all the disease-laden bird fecal matter in that fountain pool. I think treating that was veterinary visit number 15 or 17…Oh, well, it’s difficult to keep track after awhile. If you love your pet, just take care. “It’s a jungle out there” disease-wise and parasite-wise for dog owners in Casco.

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