Dog-Friendly Guide to Albuquerque, NM

Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA downtown cityscape at twilight.

Population: 559,374
Off-leash dog parks: 14
Accommodation: Very Good
Restaurants, pubs, & cafes: 178
Most popular dog breed: Australian Cattle Dog

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Albuquerque is one of the most pet-friendly cities in the US, particularly when it comes to canines. Actually, the entire state is pretty dog-friendly, but Albuquerque tops the list.

Around the city, you’ll find a total of 14 off-leash dog parks where your four-legged friend can run wild with other peoples’ canine companions. But if that’s not enough exercise, the city is surrounded by hiking trails that you can visit with your pooch.

As you visit the city with your furry friend, it becomes clear just how much Albuquerque loves dogs. There are numerous pet boutiques and dog-friendly restaurants and stores to visit. Canines are allowed in many shopping areas, including the pet-friendly Cottonwood Mall, which contains cleanup stations throughout the mall for your pet, plus a dog park in the mall!

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Interesting Facts
  • Albuquerque did require a companion license for anyone with a pet that required annual refiling and payment. After many people were issued citations and warrants for not having the required license, the city dropped the license entirely.
  • All dogs must be vaccinated, microchipped, and spayed or neutered.
  • Albuquerque allows residents to own a total of six pets. Of those pets, no more than four can be canines.
  • New Mexico has attempted to ban Pit Bulls through legislation, though it has failed multiple times. They did pass the Dangerous Dog Act in 2005 though, and the village of Tijeras has outlawed Pit Bulls since the 1980s when a child there was mauled by three.
Credit: Root Inspirations, Shutterstock

Leash Laws & Licensing

For many years, Albuquerque required residents that wished to own a pet to obtain and maintain a pet license at the cost of $6 per year. However, this was found to be more of an expense to the city than it was worth. Since they were paying more to assess the fees than they were collecting, the city of Albuquerque dropped the license laws in 2019, and you no longer need a license for a pet dog.

The leash laws of Albuquerque are quite clear. Any animal that’s owned by a human must be restricted at all times. If the dog is not in a fence or enclosure, it must be attached to a leash that’s no longer than eight feet and accompanied by a person that’s capable of keeping the animal under control.

dog outside in shade
Image credit: ALEKSEI SEMYKIN, Shutterstock

Living in Albuquerque with a Dog

For pet owners living in Albuquerque, pet care is never far away. There are numerous veterinarian clinics and animal hospitals dotted across the city that are ready to take care of your canine compadre.

If you’re the type who likes to bring your dog around everywhere with you, Albuquerque is a great city to live in. There are nearly 200 cafes, restaurants, and pubs that will allow you to bring your dog in with you while you dine. Of course, your dog will have to remain well-behaved and leashed, just as the Albuquerque laws dictate. If you need help in that department, you’ll find dozens of dog-training facilities across the city, from big box stores to private obedience clubs.

You’ll no longer be required to keep a companion license for your pet in Albuquerque. However, you’ll still need to meet certain regulations regarding your dogs, such as current vaccinations, spaying and neutering, and microchipping, all of which are required by the city.

Though many places in Albuquerque are pet-friendly, the public transportation is not. Only service animals are allowed on the public transport in this city, so if you plan on bringing Fido around with you, you’ll need your own vehicle or plenty of leg endurance to walk yourself and your pup around the city.

When looking for a place to live, you’ll find many dog-friendly options, unlike cat owners who will find far fewer places available. Still, expect to be charged a fee upfront for your pet, plus additional pet rent each month, to the tune of $25-$50.Divider 5

Average Cost of Ownership

The cost of a companion license used to be included in the cost of pet ownership at $6 annually. That’s a small price to pay, but many people had warrants issued for their arrest after failing to get the license. Luckily, that’s done away with, but you’ll still be responsible for covering the cost of vaccinations, microchipping, and spaying or neutering your dog.

While there are premium pet care centers where you could spend a pretty penny caring for your pet, Albuquerque is also full of affordable pet care solutions that offer low-cost care for canines, making it more affordable if your dog gets sick or injured.

Albuquerque is packed with pet stores, so you have many options to shop around at if you want to save some money on your pet products. The city has everything from big box pet shops to small mom and pop retailers, so you’re certain to find a shop that sells the products you want at prices that make sense.


Shelters & Rescue Centers

If you’re looking to adopt a dog in Albuquerque, there will be no shortage of options for you to choose from. The most popular breed in the city is the Australian Cattle Dog, so expect to see lots of them in the shelters for adoption.

Across the city, you’ll find multiple adoption centers and humane societies that all have many dogs in need of new ownership. Places like the City of Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department or the Animal Humane of New Mexico make it accessible for anyone who wants to adopt a dog in the city. That said, you’ll still have to prove that you’re a responsible owner and a good candidate for dog adoption.Divider 3


When looking for a dog-friendly city in America, you have many options. Albuquerque is pretty high on the list, with loads of accommodations that are aimed at dog-owners. There are multiple pet-friendly hotels for those who are just visiting, and restaurants, pubs, and cafes that will welcome your pup during social hour. Just remember to bring your own ride as public transportation won’t accept your furry friend unless they’re a certified service dog.

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Featured image credit: Sean Pavone, Shutterstock