Dog-friendly Cities we love in celebration of International Dog Day
International National Dog Day started as National Dog Day in the USA but is now celebrated globally so we couldn’t resist joining in the fun and exploring the universal place that our furry friends have in all our hearts and lives!
It was started by pet and animal advocate, Colleen Paige in 2004 to draw attention to the number of dogs that are without a home and try to actively encourage people searching for a dog to visit an adoption shelter instead of a pet store. August 26th was the day that Colleen adopted her family pet and first dog “Sheltie”.
Since she set it up National Dog Day’s aim has been to,
'Celebrate all breeds, pure and mixed, and serves to help galvanise the public to recognise the number of dogs that need to be rescued each year, either from public shelters, rescues and pure breed rescues. National Dog Day honours family dogs and dogs that work selflessly to save lives, keep us safe and bring comfort.'
We thought that given we regularly celebrate the dogs in our lives and those of our community far and wide, we’d focus on the cities doing the best job of upping their “Dog-friendly-game”. So here are our Top 5 Cities, in no particular order, and why we think they’re great for visiting with your family.
So without further a-do here are our Top 5:
When a country loves animals so much that they give discounted health insurance rates for vegans you know it’s going to be good news for a dog-friendly visit. Along with this bonus, dogs are welcome on public transport such as trains, busses, trams and the metro in Amsterdam. It’s important to note though, if you’re travelling by train with a large dog, you may need to pay for a 3 euro “day card” for your pooch. Most restaurants, cafes and bars allow dogs - if not they have a “No Dog” sticker on their entrance.
You can enjoy canal cruises with your hound with companies like Rederij Paping or Vaartuig who charge just around 14 euros for pooches. There are plenty of dog-friendly parks, including off-leash dog parks, including Beatrixpark, Oosterpark and Vondelpark. Museums and churches aren’t dog-friendly unless you have an assistant dog but to see Amsterdam like a local (and if your dog either fits in a basket or is happy to jog along with you) why not check out hiring dog-friendly bike hire, like Black Bikes? There are plenty of dog-friendly hotels and B&Bs too so you can enjoy this fabulous city either walking together or using the various modes of transport available!
With the entire country of Germany abiding by a strict no-kill policy, and the city of Berlin home to the largest animal sanctuary in Europe with room to house nearly 2,000 animals at a time it’s not surprising that this cultural hub is probably one of the most dog–friendly destinations in Europe. There are some rules that you need to keep in mind, such as keeping your dog leashed at all time. On public transport, dogs must always wear a suitable muzzle. If you are travelling with a single ticket, you will need a separate discount ticket for the dog, unless they are small enough to be carried. But if you have a day ticket or a season ticket, you can take your dog with you free of charge. Most of the cities restaurants, cafes and bars are dog-friendly so it's the exception and not the rule to see “No Dogs Allowed” signs.
You can explore the city’s historical sites on foot with your furry friends, such as the walk along the East Side gallery (a 1.3km part of the Berlin wall with an amazing array of murals) or head for a relaxing steamer cruise trip, dogs are welcome on the Stern und Kreisschiffahrt boats. With more than 100,000 dogs officially registered in the city dogs and their owners are welcome on the streets, in the parks, on public transport and in loads of restaurants and bars. So whether its exploring Graffiti and Cold war relics at Tuefelsberg or going wacky in Mauerpark or Volkspark Friedrichshain.
With more than 60 off-leash dog parks across the city for your dog to burn off some energy, Toronto is proving its K9 credentials have real teeth! Rumoured to be one of the most dog-friendly cities in North America, Toronto is growing in popularity as a doggy-destination. Whilst many restaurants aren’t dog friendly, the pubs and tap houses are very welcoming (due to the health regulations they don’t serve food so can host dogs) - the solution to this is often a fantastic array of food trucks that pop up to do the job!
The summer months, which allow access to outdoor eating areas and patios, can often be easier. Island hopping around Toronto Island Park is accessible by ferry and pups are welcome. Toronto also boasts the only Animal Hall of Fame that celebrates and honours dogs, cats, and even a horse, who have saved human lives. It also hosts Woofstock - an annual mass cultural event that draws dogs and humans to celebrate their lives together!
The parks, such as High Park or west of the city at Sunnyside Park are always winning walks as well as taking the chance to enjoy the skyline if you head down to Lake Ontario - especially great if you’re up in time to see the sunrise.
Tel Aviv calls itself the world’s most “dog-friendly city”, and with 1 dog to every 17 residents, Tel Aviv takes their dog-loving population seriously. Three years ago they launched their own municipal digital service for dogs - Digi-Dog. This is a membership card system that gives dog owners access to important information and special offers, including reminders about vaccinations, lists of nearby veterinarians, all the way down to directions to the nearest dog park. The city has everything for your pooch, there are 4 beaches for dogs and over 70 parks for dogs (Meir Park or Park Hayarkon for example). Most cafes, restaurants and stores allow dogs as well as city buses, trains and taxis.
Naturally, we have to big up London-town, whose businesses have gone from strength to strength in their dog-friendliness since we first opened our store in Shoreditch back in 2013. The Paw-pound is becoming more important, especially given the challenges that businesses face since the Covid-19 lockdown hit.
With more people working from home than ever and workplaces understanding they need to become more flexible and adaptable, businesses are realising the need to cater for families, professionals and tourists who travel to the city for work or pleasure with their pet in tow. 53% of travellers take holidays with their pets with 73% of owners and their four-legged friends driving and flying together more than ever before. In addition 37% of families travel with their furry friends, this is a 19% increase over the last decade. (Source: Condor Ferries)
We've put together a map of places to explore around Shoreditch, including street art tours and places to stay or work with your hound. Do call to check their Covid-19 opening times etc and see if you have to book.
We also have to give honourable mentions to our other stamping-ground - the area around Margate - Thanet, which is becoming more and more dog-friendly. On the map below are a few dog-friendly destinations, but do call ahead (with Covid-19 procedures in mind) to avoid disappointment.
What better way to celebrate than to think about more ways to enjoy our pets lives and their place in ours.
Other ways that you might like to celebrate International Dog Day is to donate to a local animal charity. Check if they are fund-raising or if they need any essential supplies for the dogs that they are housing - like blankets, towels, bedsheets, newspapers, pet food and treats or animal toys all in good condition are always very much appreciated. You can always do a de-cluttering exercise and donate to your local pet charity shops, which goes a long way to raise much-needed funds for charities as well as recycling second-hand goods preventing them going to landfill - a win-win! We'd love to hear how you're celebrating International Dogs Day with your furry friend, why not let us know in the comments!