Dog-Friendly Guide to Phoenix, AZ

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Population: 1.63 million
Off-leash dog parks: 14
Accommodation: Very Good
Restaurants, pubs, & cafes: 168
Most popular dog breed: Australian Cattle Dog

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Introduction

Unless you have a longhaired dog breed that’s built specifically for cold weather like an Alaskan Malamute, Phoenix is a city that both you and your dog will love. There are endless miles of hiking trails for you to both get some exercise and sunlight; and not just around the city, but throughout the heart of the city as well.

Of course, the hiking trails aren’t the only way to get exercise here. You can take your pooch to one of 14 off-leash dog parks to be found throughout the area. Plus, every park has pet cleanup stations that offer bags and waste disposal, so you don’t even have to go to a dog park, any park will do.

The perfect place for outdoorsmen, there’s hunting and fishing galore around Phoenix, allowing your dog a chance to swim, retrieve, and run in the numerous lakes and wilderness areas nearby. Phoenix is also a bustling hub where socialites can find their crowd as well, and areas like Scottsdale or Paradise Valley will attract this crowd, making Phoenix an ideal place for any person or family with a dog.

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Credit: Susan Schmitz, Shutterstock

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Interesting Facts
  • For male dogs, Max is the most popular name in the valley. Bella is the top pick for females. Granted, these two were also top picks across the entire country for two years in a row. The second most common male and female dog names in Phoenix are Charlie and Luna respectively.
  • Though Australian Cattle Dogs and Labrador Retrievers are claimed to be the most popular pooches in Phoenix, there’s some debate about this. According to Maricopa County Animal Care and Control, about one-third of the dogs that come into the kennels are a Pit Bull breed, including American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. These breeds are all Pit Bulls, but they often get registered separately, making it seem like Pit Bulls aren’t nearly as popular here as they truly are. Anyone who’s lived in Phoenix can attest to how many Pit Bulls there are in this city!

Leash Laws & Licensing

Within Phoenix city limits, you must keep your dog under control at all times. No dogs are permitted at large. Your dog must be restrained in your home or yard at all times. When you’re walking your dog, it must be on a leash no longer than six feet. If your dog is older than three months, you must have a valid license tag on its collar anytime it leaves your house. Failing to meet these requirements is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Thankfully, none of these restrictions apply to dog parks, where dogs are able to roam free, and there are a total of 14 in Phoenix, so you’ll have options to pick from. Also, working dogs, race dogs, and dogs attending kennel club events are exempt from these regulations, provided they’re properly vaccinated, licensed, and under control.

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Credit: Gregory E. Clifford, Shutterstock

Living in Phoenix with a Dog

Phoenix is a very active city with many pet owners, so you can find plenty of pet stores to meet your needs, from smaller specialty-type shops with premium pet supplies to large box-store chains, you’ll find everything you need in a short drive. There are also animal hospitals on practically every corner within the city limits. There are nearly as many hospitals and clinics for animals as for people!

Living in Phoenix with a dog, you will need to be aware of wildlife dangers. Phoenix is in the middle of the Sonoran Desert, and there are some dangerous plants and animals here. Naturally, the ground is littered with cactus, and those spines will find their way into your dog’s feet all the time.

But it’s not just the plants that can be a danger. There are also rattlesnakes to look out for that can get underfoot on your hikes. Scorpions and large spiders can also pose a threat to your dog, though the danger is much less.

Also, consider heatstroke! In the rest of the country, heatstroke doesn’t have to be given the same consideration as in Phoenix. Dogs with long coats made for harsh winters will be quite uncomfortable in 110-degree Phoenix summers with the scorching sun beating down on them. These dogs are at risk for heatstroke and shouldn’t be left outside without respite from the hot sun.Divider 5

Average Cost of Ownership

Finding accommodations for you and your dog isn’t difficult in Phoenix, though you can expect to shell out a bit extra for the privilege. Many apartments and rental homes throughout the city are pet-friendly, though there are often restrictions in place. A large number of these places refuse dogs that weigh more than 25 or 35 pounds. Other places have breed restrictions in place that don’t allow certain breeds that are considered by some to be aggressive or dangerous.

Once you find a place that will accept your dog, you should expect to pay a non-refundable pet fee of $100-$300 per pet. Plus, you’ll have to pay a refundable pet deposit of about the same amount. And don’t forget the additional $25 per month of pet rent for each pet. Living with a pet in Phoenix can be a bit pricey.

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Shelters & Rescue Centers

Phoenix has many animals that are waiting at adoption centers, rescues, and shelters, just hoping that their forever family comes to find them. Between the Arizona Humane Society and Maricopa County Animal Care and Control, about 45,000 animals are brought in each year, which means there’s no shortage of pups to adopt.

Throughout Phoenix, you’ll find dozens of centers and rescues where you can adopt a dog. Some have many breeds, like the HALO Animal Rescue Everday Adoption Center or Home Fur Good, while others specialize in particular breeds, like the AZ Pug Life Rescue or the Cavalier Rescue Foundation of Arizona. Whatever type of dog you’re looking for, you can almost certainly find a perfect match at one of these many adoption facilities.Divider 3

Conclusion

Ranked as the ninth most dog-friendly city in the US, Phoenix is a great destination for any person or family with a dog. It’s a great place to live or travel, with loads of options for entertainment. You can traverse the nearly endless miles of hiking trails through beautiful scenery, or you can take your dog to one of the many dog-friendly establishments located throughout the city. Whether you’re more the outdoor type or an urban socialite, Phoenix has everything you and your favorite furry friend could need for a great life or vacation.

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Featured image Credit: Sean Pavone, Shutterstock