If you have not yet heard about Pokémon Go, I would think you were living under a rock. Many people are praising the fitness benefits of playing this game. People are using it to start a fitness routine as well as get in those last needed steps for their day.

Unfortunately, we are also hearing a lot of horror stories from playing. People have been robbed, injured and one player even found a dead body. Like any type of exercise, if you take the proper precautions this game can be a lot of fun for you and your dog.

Pokémon Go provides the motivation that some people need to get up off the couch. It also offers a new way for active folks to get out and explore their community. If you're not familiar with the game, it's a fairly simple concept.

Pokémon are small creatures that can be trapped and trained. Pokemon Go is an app for Android and iOS that uses your phone's GPS location and displays available Pokémon near you. If you're able to catch one, you can keep it.

In order for your Pokémon eggs to hatch, you need to log a certain number of kilometers. There is just one catch – the game also uses your phone's GPS to monitor how fast you are traveling. if you're traveling faster than walking speed (for example, if you're riding a bicycle or driving a car), it won't log the distance.

Pokemon Go For Dogs: 7 Tips For Dog Owners Who Want to Get In On the Craze

Pokemon Go For Dogs
Photo: Darren Grove / Shutterstock.com

Here are the things you need to be thinking about before you and your four-legged companion go out to catch some Pokémon:

1. Safety

The safety of you and your dog should be the first consideration. No game is worth the life and health of you or your pooch. Check the weather before you go out. You don’t want to bring your dog out into temperatures he may not be able to take. You also need to check if any storms are expected during the time frame you will be out.

RECOMMENDED READ: How To Play Pokémon Go With Dogs

Make sure you are choosing streets that are safe for you and your pet. Low traffic streets are streets with clearly marked pedestrian crossings are best.  Make sure you are also choosing streets in the safest parts of town.

2. Attention

Some people are so absorbed in the game that they are not paying attention to their surroundings. There have been players having to be rescued from falling off of cliffs or walking into traffic. Stay focused on where you are and where you are going so that you don’t lead your dog into a dangerous situation.

3. Crowds

If your dog is not properly socialized, large crowds can lead to dangerous behavior. Uncertainty can lead to aggressive behavior or flight attempts. Stay in areas where you know your dog will feel confident and secure.

Pokemon Go For Dogs

4. Game Etiquette and Rules

Pokémon Go players have been getting a bad rap. Hospitals have been having to warn staff of players in restricted areas. There have even been players crossing into zoo enclosures.

Please, follow some simple rules to help improve the reputation of fellow players.

Likewise, It is imperative that you stay off private property. If in doubt, just stay off! No game is important enough to upset other people, endanger you and your dog, and possibly pay expensive fines.

Know the rules of the areas you will be going into. Some areas do not allow dogs. Some areas allow dogs, but only if they are leashed and controlled. Some areas are restricted to staff only.

Picking up dog poop5. Poop

Pick it up. Do not leave your dog’s poop in places where people walk, in people’s yards, or on public property. Not only is this irresponsible behavior, but some areas will fine you for leaving your dog’s poop lying around.

RELATED: Top 5 Best Dog Poop Bags

6. Plan and Pack Ahead 

Make sure you bring water and a bowl so you and your dog can take frequent drinks to avoid becoming dehydrated. Make sure you choose a harness or leash that is most comfortable for your dog, but that also gives you the most control.

You'll also need to bring a cell phone and back up battery. You may run your battery dead catching those Pokémon rascals, so bring a backup battery in case you need to use the phone for an emergency.

7. Know Your Dog

You may be able to walk long distances, but what about your dog? Before you leave, take into consideration the fitness, age, and health of your Fido to determine how long you should walk. Stick to those limits.

If you have not taken your dog for a lot of walks previously, start slow. Take short walks and slowly increase as your dog’s fitness level grows. If you don't take the time to get his body used to long walks it could have negative effects on his body and overall health.

Pokemon Go For Dogs

Older dogs do not have as much stamina as younger dogs. Use this to help determine how far and how fast you will be walking. You might also want to plan a route that has places to stop and rest.

Make sure you take your dog out when he is feeling his best. Arthritis, allergies, and other conditions can make for a miserable time for you pooch. Take this into consideration.

The Benefits

Now that we have talked about the safety, health, and other considerations for you and your dog, let’s talk about the benefits. Obviously, this is an excellent way to get you and your dog out more. Regular exercise has the same benefits for canines as it does for humans.

RELATED: 8 Tips On Walking Your Dog Safely Every Single Day

Pokemon Go For Dogs
Photo: J. Lekavicius / Shutterstock.com

Playing Pokémon Go is also a great way to get out of the “around the block” routine. It gives you and your fur baby new scenery.  You can also involve your pet by trying to pose him with the Pokémon for the pictures.

If you are a closet Pokémon Go player, you can pretend you are just walking your dog. Your addiction stays your little secret.

When you have your dog, you may not want to go to the same areas as you would if you are playing alone, or with friends.  If you plan your game and your route, you can have an outing that is enjoyable for you and your furry friend.  Just keep these things in mind while preparing and packing for your day.

Amy is a writer who lives with her husband and daughter on the United States Gulf Coast. She has a BA in Behavioral Sciences, and volunteered for shelters through various activities, as well as fostering animals. Amy currently has 3 dogs and 5 cats.