Places for pets
We look at three spots in Barcelona that offer special care and services to our animal friends, of all shape, size and species.
URBAN PETS: Av. Princep d’Astúries 55. Tel. 93 250 7665. www.urbanpetsbcn.com
It’s not just us humans who are increasingly concerned about healthy eating and using natural products. There is also a market for environmentally-friendly pet supplies, and the newly-opened Urban Pets in Gràcia serves this need. Sensitive to the care and well-being of domestic animals, and keen to encourage close relationships between pet and owner, the shop stocks naturally-made food without additives or artificial preservatives (one of the motivations to open the store was when owner Mireia found her cat had an intolerance to a commercial brand of food), natural hygiene products such as chemical-free anti-parasite treatments, and home-made biscuits. It also offers a grooming service for dogs (and occasionally cats) of all sizes; for those who prefer, Urban Pets also allows owners the chance to do the grooming of their pet themselves (for a reduced charge), letting them bond with their animals over the soap and shower!
ELS ALTRES: Rosselló 274. Tel. 93 162 1275 (24h for emergencies)
When you first walk into Els Altres, you are welcomed by the clinic’s friendly pet macaw. Vets Roger Domingo and Jordi Jiménez fostered the bird after the owner suggested having him put down due to his bad leg. Instead, Domingo and Jiménez offered to take him so they could cure the ailment that had afflicted him since birth. Thanks to years of experience—such as Domingo’s time at Barcelona Zoo and work in Tenerife with parrots, crocodiles and the occasional chimpanzee—the two have had a chance to work closely with animals that most of us will only ever see at a distance or on television. They met in 2009, when they collaborated on a veterinarian manual, but it was not until April last year that they opened Els Altres, a vet practice that focuses on exotic animals. Domingo says that ‘exotic animals’ basically applies to any type of pet other than cats and dogs; they treat creatures ranging from rabbits to snakes, domesticated sheep and pot belly pigs. While most of their work is done within Barcelona, the vets also occasionally head outside the city to treat legally-owned tigers, camels and racoons.
HOSPITAL VETERINARI DE MONTJUÏC: Mèxic 30, www.hvmontjuic.com; Tel. 93 423 7711 (24h, also for emergencies)
This animal hospital offers a lot more than a good cage-side manner. For starters, there is a café where creatures great and small can take a break; the Cafeteria Canina aims to help dogs ‘make new friends and enjoy delicious menus created specially for them’, as well as serving a range of coffees for the humans—it provides a place for owners and their pets to relax while waiting for their appointment or treatment to start. The clinic also has a special swimming-pool that offers water therapy for dogs; all those reasons why aqua aerobics has become popular in so many local gyms (such as extra resistance provided by the water to work muscles harder, reduced pain and likelihood of injury, and improved cardiac capability) apply just as much to dogs, making this a useful service for those suffering from arthritis, damaged tissue and knee pain. It also runs behaviour classes for dogs with discipline issues and physiotherapy for animals that need help recovering from illness or to deal with a problem such as excess weight or posture problems.
Please note this article was changed on October 1st, 2013, to amend the name of the owner of Urban Pets.