A City Dog’s Guide to Adventure

A City Dog’s Guide to Adventure

  • Erin Swanson

No one understands the city dog life better than Ruffwear Ambassadors Cory, Rafa, and their pup Bondi. Here, we’ve got the scoop on their top tips to kickstart city adventures with your dog.

How to Find Dog-friendly Businesses in a City

A list of dog-friendly places is a must, especially for spontaneous outings. We keep bookmarks in our maps application of some of our favorite dog-friendly places that we have encountered over the years. It’s always great to network with friends and trade information as well.

In a new city? Start with a quick Internet search of the area and include “dog-friendly.” Some mobile applications have this as a filter or “patio” is a great indicator as well. Another great option is to ask some owners at the neighborhood dog park. Breweries are almost always a safe bet.

A man and his dog walk through city streets.

When in doubt, we always look for a place with patio seating for a place to eat. Many businesses also have a small sign or sticker in their window with their pet policy. A public dog bowl outside is usually a strong indicator of a pet-friendly establishment.

It’s best not to assume, even if you see another dog inside who may be a service animal so just ask an employee. They may even be able to point you to other dog-friendly places as well. 

Top City Dog Activities

Whether you want to get out for a quick walk or a full day outing, the city has plenty of options and activities that you and your furry companion can enjoy. For quick outings or walks, we look for a route with as much greenery as possible for Bondi to sniff along the path and explore the area with her nose. If we are looking to burn some energy, the local dog park is always a great option.

Sun is out and the rays are shining? Grabbing a bite to eat and sitting outside on a restaurant patio is great for all parties. Many places are more than happy to bring some water for your friend. Our favorite spots have a small dog menu or will whip up a beef or chicken patty for cheap so no one is left out and leaves hungry. 

Stop by the local pet shops while you are out and about, especially the small privately owned stores. You may find some great toys you haven’t seen elsewhere and a quick treat to continue your adventure.

A dog walks through the snow in a city dog park.

Don’t be afraid to explore! Many large cities have outdoor recreation areas like city trails, arboretums, or large parks that are a perfect reason to get outside and chase some city adventure.

Our favorite spots will always include a body of water where we can get out the stand up paddle boards or kayaks. Just be sure to research or look for signage to ensure the water quality is ok to swim.

Essential Dog Gear for City Adventures 

Here's our go-to dog gear for any city adventure. 

  • Front Range® harness – Great all year round and for any activity
  • Switchbak™ Leash – Multifunctional for dog and owner! Wear it around your waist for longer walks. Extend or retract and easily anchor to the patio table.
  • Crag™ Reflective Leash – Perfect for overcast or evening adventures. The reflective tech will ensure you are seen. It's also easy to extend or retract and easily anchor to a patio table. 
  • Trail Runner™ Bowl – My favorite product hands down. Ultra light and packable so you can quench their thirst in the moment. You can clip it on your keys or leash and never forget it. 
  • Dirtbag™ Seat Cover – We have one for each car. Never have to worry about what adventures we get into. Muddy dog or boots? No problem!
A dog sips water out of a Ruffwear dog bowl.

Bonus City Dog Gear

Based on which city outing we're exploring, we often bring these pieces of gear. 

  • Great Basin™ Bowl and Quencher™ Bowl – Perfect option to set out at meal time and easy to pack up
  • The Beacon™ Safety Light – Add some visibility during your early morning or night adventures. Easy to clip on and great battery life.
  • Overcoat Fuse™ Jacket – Quick outing and need a little warmth? One of our favorites for our morning potty break.
  • Quinzee™ Jacket – Function and style! We love this jacket to add an extra layer, and it packs up small as the day warms up.
  • Stumptown™ Quilted Dog Coat – Another great option to add an extra layer, especially if the occasional sprinkle is in the forecast.  
  • Dirtbag™ Dog Drying Towel – Keep this in the car for those spontaneous water days.
  • Home Trail™ Hip Pack – Fanny packs are back in style. Want to bring some essentials but don’t want to bring a whole backpack? This is great for your needs as well as your dog. Throw some treats, a roll of poo bags, keys, and whatever else you need for your day's adventure.

How to Prepare for City Adventures

The city vibe can be new and overwhelming for a dog that is not used to the environment. More people and noises can make your dog a bit nervous. Make sure to keep them close and have plenty of treats to reward them.

A man walks his dog on leash in a snowy city park.

Tips for City Etiquette and Preparedness

  • Always keep your dog on a leash unless at a designated off-leash area. Even well-trained dogs may run towards or away from something new. 
  • Make sure to use the crosswalks and make sure your dog knows to cross only when you are. You don’t want your dog to follow and cross someone jaywalking.
  • Ensure you have a dog tag or other with up-to-date information on them.
  • Have a reflective collar, leash, or safety light in case the day runs long
  • Watch for things on the ground, especially food. You don’t want them to snack on something that can make them sick.
  • Watch the forecast for heat to make sure the pavement is safe

Things to Consider

  • Instead of leaving your dog outside unattended, we recommend these alternatives. If you need to run into a store or location that is not dog-friendly, put them in the car or have another person with you that can stay with them outside and switch off. 

Where to Stop for Treats

Bondi will do just about anything for a serving of whipped cream. Whenever we stop at a coffee shop or ice cream parlor, we are sure to ask for a small cup so everyone can enjoy a tasty treat. Be ready for the whipped cream mustache photo! 

Top Picks for Exercising with Your City Dog

No one wants to keep their dog inside all day and that motivates us to find new activities to do together. When in doubt, the dog park is always a great option. We also encourage others to try out more than one if they can. During the rainy season we will drive to one a little bit farther because it has AstroTurf and does not turn into a mud pit like the one nearby does. 

We are lucky enough to have a very large city park nearby with a dedicated dog park and trail that covers a 40-acre area. During nice weather, there can be hundreds of dogs there where Bondi can roam around, and we can walk the trail. 

For a low effort outing, we like to take a walk around the neighborhood. Try a new path or route to keep dogs stimulated and remember to let them sniff around. Dogs explore the world with their nose and the mental stimulation will reduce boredom. 

The Perks of City Living for Dogs

Bondi is spoiled, having so many options for local activities that are right outside the door. A quick walk and we are at the dog park where she can catch up with her dog friends.

Head in the opposite direction and we are on a 3-mile trail that we can walk, bike, or skateboard down. Summer heat and no AC? Time to head over to the lake and jump on (or off) the stand up paddle board. 

A dog stands on a paddle board in a city lake while wearing a Ruffwear Float Coat™ Dog Life Jacket.

When we are feeling lazy and don’t want to make lunch, time to walk over to our favorite restaurant with a nice outdoor patio to get some sun, belly rubs from the staff, and a bit of whipped cream. Finish lunch and go meet some friends at the brewery to try their new seasonal beer while Bondi makes friends with the other dogs that are sure to be there. 

A New Way to Experience the City

A man pats his dog on the head while they sit outside on stairs in the city.

At first, we thought having a dog in the city would be a bit difficult in a concrete jungle. We quickly found it rejuvenated our love for the city, and it gets us out and about to explore our city even more.

We tried many new restaurants because they were dog-friendly or got to know more neighbors during the after work potty break. It is also a great training environment since your dog is exposed to many distractions and stimulating activity.  

While it does take a bit of effort to plan or make considerations to bring your companion along, trying out these new experiences or locations is a bonding experience for both of you. Whether you find a boutique pet store with a new favorite treat, a restaurant with great food options, or walk a different path home, the whole family can find more things they enjoy.

Cory, Rafa, and Bondi are city-dwellers that seek out city excursions and outdoor destinations alike. You can find them traveling all over the Pacific Northwest. Bondi elevates their experience as they soak in the beauty of this world together. To keep following their adventures, check out their Instagram @bondi4paws.

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