Dog-Friendly Guide to Boise, ID


Population: 226,115
Off-leash dog parks: 15
Accommodation: Fair
Restaurants, pubs, & cafes: 82
Most popular dog breed: Labrador Retriever

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When it comes to pet-friendly states, Idaho is at the very top of the list, and its capital city of Boise is leading the charge. In the US, nearly 40% of households own a dog, but that number is much higher in Idaho, where 58% of households keep a canine. With so many dogs in the state, cities like Boise have to be dog friendly, and they make it easier than many places to live or travel with your dog.

In this city, your dog must be licensed, but dogs here will have plenty of places to play and have fun at 15 off-leash dog parks located throughout the city. With a population of fewer than a quarter million, this city has slightly more off-leash dog parks than Albuquerque, which has twice the population.  And when it comes to social time and entertainment, more than 80 restaurants, pubs, and cafes will allow your canine to accompany you.

Boise, Idaho river trail with dog
Image credit: CSNafzger, Shutterstock

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Interesting Facts
  • Idaho is the number one state for dog ownership, with 58% of households owning a dog.
  • You can keep a total of four pets in Boise, in any combination of cats and dogs. This could be two dogs and two cats, three dogs and one cat, or four dogs, but you cannot have more than four without a commercial kennel license.
  • Many restaurants are now offering menus just for four-legged companions.
  • Public lawns and fields are open to use by dogs.
  • Boise has an off-leash season from November to February where dogs are allowed off-leash in other parks, not just off-leash dog parks.

Leash Laws & Licensing

Though Boise is pretty lax about allowing dogs into many public spaces, they’re rather strict when it comes to licensing laws. Your dog must be licensed, and the license needs to be renewed each year. The cost of renewal changes, depending on whether your dog is spayed/neutered or not. All dogs must wear their licenses so they’re visible when out in the city.

For dogs that are spayed or neutered and can provide proof, the annual licensing fee is $21.75. Dogs that aren’t spayed must pay more. Under one year, a dog that’s not fixed is $28.50, and if that dog is over a year old, it’s $55. If the owner is over 65 and the dog is fixed, annual fees are just $11.25. Should you happen to need a replacement tag, it’ll cost $4.

If you fail to license your dog, you could get a ticket and be forced to pay fines and court fees. The fees paid for licensing canines are used to help the Idaho Humane Society find and care for stray pets, return them to their owners, and find new families for the rest.

Owners are legally responsible for the behavior of their dogs. You’re responsible for any injuries or damages caused by your dogs. Dogs must remain on leash in the city, except for in designated areas. Even in those off-leash areas, dogs must not be left unattended or allowed out of sight.

Dogs hiking in the Boise foothills, Idaho
Dogs hiking in the Boise foothills, Idaho | Credit: CSNafsger, Shutterstock

Living in Boise with a Dog

Many people say that Boise seems like it was built for dogs. Loads of restaurants and businesses will allow your dog to accompany you inside. Plenty of them even offer canine refreshments and more. There are even hotels with entirely dog-themed rooms for you to stay in while visiting.

Boise isn’t a very large city. In fact, it’s 99th in the US. But there are dozens of animal facilities around the town, so you’ll never have to travel far if your dog requires veterinary assistance. Kennels are also available across the city, making it easy to board your dog if you need to.Divider 5

Average Cost of Ownership

If you’re just traveling to Boise, hotels make it easy with pet-friendly accommodations that only cost a little bit extra. Living here with pets is a bit pricier though, provided you’ll be renting. Apartments and landlords charge high fees for pets in this city. ‘

The average fee is about $150 per pet, plus $25 per month in pet rent. And don’t forget about your deposit, which is a separate charge from the $150 fee. That fee is non-refundable, but your deposit, which could be anywhere from $100-$300, is refundable, so long as your dog doesn’t damage the home while you live there.

Luckily, the cost of healthcare for your dog is rather affordable in Boise. There are plenty of hospitals and vets for you to choose between. The Idaho Humane Society also offers low-cost healthcare for pets when you need a cheaper alternative.

 downtown Boise Idaho in the winter
Image credit: CSNafzger, Shutterstock

Shelters & Rescue Centers

With multiple humane societies and rescue shelters situated within Boise, adopting a pet here is as easy as anywhere. There are plenty of dogs available for adoption, though not nearly as many as in some other popular US cities. This means that you might have to wait longer if you’re hoping to find a specific type of dog that you can adopt. However, there’s no shortage of pups available, so if you’re not picky, you can easily find a dog that’s waiting for you to adopt it.

There are even some breed-specific rescues here, such as the Greyhound Rescue of Idaho. Other adoption centers and rescues include the All Valley Animal Care Center, the West Valley Humane Society, the Idaho Humane Society Adoption Center, and just a short drive away is the Pet Adoption League. Of course, these are just a few of the many places offering such services in Boise.Divider 3


For dog lovers, Boise, Idaho is one of the best places to live or travel. It’s a truly dog-friendly city, packed with accommodations for pups, including 15 off-leash parks and more than 80 restaurants, pubs, and cafes that allow dogs to come dine with their owners. Make sure you keep your dog’s license up to date though, or you might face some fines.

When you’re out and about, your dog will need to be on a leash, and you’ll be responsible for its behavior. But between November and February, all of the parks become off-leash dog parks, so if your dog is well behaved, this city allows it more freedom than most.

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Featured image credit: Pinpals, Pixabay