Dog-Friendly Guide to Portland, OR


Population: 645,291 (2019)
Off-leash dog parks: 24
Accommodation: 144
Restaurants, pubs, & cafes: 409
Most popular dog breed: Labradoodle

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The people of Portland are big dog lovers and they’re happy to have dogs visiting businesses, restaurants, and outdoor locations. Portland has the highest number of dog parks per capita in the US with 24 off-leash dog parks in the city. With over 400 bars and restaurants that allow dogs, you’ll have plenty of spots to choose from to eat, no matter what you’re craving. Dog-friendly restaurants can’t allow dogs indoors, but many of them offer covered patios with heaters during the cooler months, ensuring you can take your dog with you year-round. Your leashed pup will be able to join you at the nation’s oldest rose garden or for a nice long hike without having to step outside of Portland.

Labradoodle going for a forest walk
Image Credit: Adam Melnyk, Shutterstock

Interesting Facts

  • In a recent survey of 5000 dog owners, Portlanders scored 2nd for being the most sociable dog owners in the country.
  • Bobbie the Wonder Dog was a dog who was lost in 1923 while his family vacationed in Indiana. Bobbie managed to work his way from Indiana all the way to his home in Silverton, OR, which is over 2800 miles, by February of 1924. Bobbie passed away in 1927 and was buried with honors at the Oregon Humane Society located in Portland.
  • Portland’s fire department employs multiple arson dogs, which are dogs that have been specially trained to sniff out evidence of arson via the presence of accelerants. These dogs can be used to sniff out accelerants in a burned building, but they can also be used to sniff out arsonists who may have accelerants on them by searching crowds, cars, equipment, clothing, and areas near a possible arson.
  • In 2007, a black Labrador named Velvet was hiking with eight human companions on Mount Hood. A group of three people fell off a ledge and became stranded in below-freezing temperatures. The group had three sleeping bags and a tarp and Velvet became known as a hero after spending the night rotating between people to keep everyone warm. The group was rescued the next morning and everyone survived. A critical care vet clinic in Portland named DoveLewis has an emergency fund named the Velvet Assistance Fund in honor of Velvet the hero dog. This fund has over $200,000 available annually to assist people with pet emergencies.

Leash Laws & Licensing

Dogs are not allowed to be unleashed anywhere except where explicitly marked as an off-leash area or on private property. This includes Portland parks, which also specifies that dogs are not allowed on sports courts, running tracks, sports fields, fountains, lakes, ponds, stream, or fenced sports facilities at all, even when leashed. There are areas in Portland where dogs can swim, though, so check on a location before you go!

All dogs over the age of 6 months must be registered with the county and the registration must be updated annually or every 3 years. The license should be worn by the dog at all times to show they are up-to-date on their rabies vaccine and that they have been registered to get them back home to you quickly if they get loose. While it isn’t mandated for dogs to be neutered or spayed, it does cost almost double to register an intact dog. Purchasing a 3-year licensure is discounted for intact and fixed dogs.

portland park
Credit: Cj Caves, Shutterstock

Living in Portland with a Dog

Finding medical care for your dog in Portland should come easily with the number of vet clinics in the area. There’s even a 24-hour veterinary ER and ICU available in Portland, just in case an emergency happens. With the number of dog owners in Portland, doggy daycares, dog walkers, and pet sitters are all easy to find. These can be life savers when it comes to people in the workforce who can’t take their dog to work with them. A dog walker or doggy daycare will give your dog the opportunity to burn some energy and have a potty break, even if you’re at work all day.

Average Cost of Ownership

It’s estimated that the cost of owning a dog in Portland can cost close to $3000 per year. This is related to a higher cost of living which drives up the cost of things like food and veterinary care. Doggy daycares tend to cost $25-45 per dog per day, but many offer discounts for multiple dogs. Dog walkers may charge upwards of $15 per hour or per visit, depending on their pricing setup. The cost of owning a dog in Portland does run higher than the estimated national average of around $1100 per year, but the good news is that there are plenty of free activities available to you and your dog, so you’ll be able to do something fun and burn energy without spending money via local parks, lakes, and hiking trails.

Shelters & Rescue Centers

Portland has dozens of rescues and shelters of all sizes throughout the city. Many rescues place available dogs into foster homes until they find their permanent homes, which can be a good chance for you to get involved in a local charity and save a dog. Many rescues and shelters are no-kill, which does mean they usually have dogs available for adoption. The Oregon Humane Society has regular events to adopt pets out and to raise money and awareness for their work. They also set annual adoption goals and provide tracking on their website to keep the public updated on their progress. In 2021, the Oregon Humane Society’s goal for pet adoptions is to get 11,000 pets into homes.

portland oregon
Featured Image: Gina Alayyan, Pixabay

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Portland is an exciting city with lots to do, especially if you’re interested in outdoor activities. The dog-friendliness of the city provides plenty to do, whether you’re looking for a snack on a patio or a great hike with your dog. There are lots of places to stay that allow dogs, whether you’re looking for a hotel or a permanent residence. Portlanders are sociable and friendly, making for an easy transition into the area.

thematic break

Featured Image Credit: Josemaria Toscano, Shutterstock