With Rooster’s severe anxiety, it’s hard to leave the house without him. All of my friends and family know that there’s always a good chance that I’ll have Rooster with me if I come to visit or if we make plans. The good news is that my hometown is pretty dog friendly; there’s a bookstore that allows dogs, many bars and cafes that have dog friendly patios, and even a bar that dedicated specifically to dogs and their owners!

And I know that my own hometown isn’t an anomaly. There are more and more public places that are dog friendly all around the Pacific Northwest and with the help out the internet and social media, it’s easier to find out if a business allows your four legged best friend. BringFido is one of the biggest sites where you can search for dog friendly places by location and type of business (hotel, restaurant, etc)!

But there are a lot of things you need to consider when going out to public places like parks and restaurants with your dog. For one, not every public place is going to be dog friendly. Many restaurants, cafes, and bars don’t allow non-service dogs for health code reasons and many places might not allow dogs so that those who might be allergic can also frequent the business. Plus, there have been so many controversies around animals on airplanes recently that it can be hard to know if dogs are allowed to fly with us.

Additionally, there are going to be events and public places where bringing your dog could be hazardous to you, your dog, and the people around you. Large events like music/arts festivals or sports can be chaotic and it can be fairly easy to trip over a dog if you don’t know there’s one by your feet in a crowd. Plus, not every dog is going to do well in large crowds, as it might be overwhelming and stressful for them.

There are even some public places where dogs are surprisingly not allowed. Some beaches and even a few national or state parks don’t allow dogs for environmental reasons. Dog poop is a big factor but for cities like Seattle, it’s also to allow other animals like seals to have access to the beaches without worry of being harassed or attacked by dogs. Plus, there are some national parks that don’t allow dogs in part to help protect the wilderness and wildlife in the area.

A huge part of this conversation is that not every person and dog you meet will want to meet your dog. While you might know and love your own dog, not everyone is going to be a fan of them. There’s a good chance that it’s not personal, as some people just don’t like dogs and they’re allowed to have those feelings. There are many people who just don’t want to be around dogs and as dog owners, it’s important that we respect these feelings. Similarly, not every dog is going to be good with other dogs! It’s so important to ask if your dog can say hi before approaching.

Public perception and business policies are going to be different in every region but the best thing to do if you’re planning an outing or a much long adventure is to know the dog related policies of where you’re going. The internet is a great resource to see how to best travel with a dog or if the places you’re going allow dogs.

As mentioned, BringFido is a great resource for places that dogs are allowed and events that dogs and their owners can attend. Many airlines have their animal related policies online and it’ll be important to know what an airline allows as far as our canine companions before you buy tickets or get on the plane. Even Amtrak has a pet policy for their trains! It’s also possible to find the best parks for dogs online and there are more places opening for dogs and their owners.

While there are more and more places that allow dogs, it’s important to know where and when you can take your canine best friend before you go. And while it can be tempting to bring your dog with you everywhere, it’s just as important to respect other people, dogs, and the wilderness. We share many public spaces with many other people who all have different experiences and feelings about dogs and with many other species who might not appreciate dogs like we do.

Are there places or events you love to go with your dog? Let me know in the comments!