Dog-Friendly Guide to St. Petersburg, FL

Skyline of St. Petersburg, Florida

Population: 261,338 (2019)
Off-leash dog parks: 5
Accommodation: 78
Restaurants, pubs, & cafes: 118
Most popular dog breed: Labrador Retriever

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Introduction

The warm, sunny St. Petersburg has quickly become one of the top dog-friendly spots in the country. This city has multiple off-leash dog parks and dog-friendly hotels and short-term rentals to stay at. With Labrador Retrievers being the most popular dog in the city, you know the city stays active! Dogs are welcome at multiple restaurants, bars, breweries, and even outdoor markets. Some restaurants offer dog-specific menus, so your pup can enjoy a dog-safe meal right beside you! St. Petersburg is a small city with a population of just over 260,000 people, but as it grows, the city continues to add dog-friendly businesses and activities.

Cute fluffy white dog in cafe
Image Credit: Viktor Gladkov, Shutterstock

Interesting Facts

  • Petersburg isn’t just dog-friendly, but it ranks as one of the easiest places to own a dog due to the high concentration of veterinarians, pet stores, and dog-friendly restaurants in the area.
  • There are at least two dog-friendly hotels in St. Petersburg that offer room service with gourmet food selections, just for dogs.
  • Dunedin Brewery is the oldest craft brewery in the state of Florida and is a dog-friendly business.
  • Three Dog Bakery has a location in St. Petersburg that offers boutique items and dog treats made fresh daily by real pastry chefs.
  • Petersburg was home to the Derby Lane dog racing track from 1925 until dog racing was outlawed in the state of Florida in 2020.
  • Dogs are allowed in so many places in St. Petersburg that they can join you for a cruise, a painting class, and a guided fishing trip.

Leash Laws & Licensing

In St. Petersburg, dogs must be on a leash that is 6 feet or less at all times unless it’s a designated off-leash area, the owner’s private property, or someone else’s private property that has given permission for the dog to be off leash. Even on-leash, dogs are not allowed on playgrounds or athletic fields in St. Petersburg.

Licensure for dogs goes through Pinellas County and not the city of St. Petersburg. The pet licensure laws require all dogs over the age of 4 months that have received their rabies vaccine be licensed with the city. The registration is processed once there is proof of the rabies vaccine or an exemption provided by a veterinarian. It costs $20 for a 1-year county license and $40 for a 3-year license.

st petersburg
Credit: sean pavone, Shutterstock

Living in St. Petersburg, FL with a Dog

St. Petersburg is home to a high density of veterinarians, so finding a vet in the area shouldn’t be an issue. There are even some specialty vets in the area, so if your dog needs orthopedic surgery, rehab and physical therapy, or other specialty needs, you will likely be able to find it in or near St. Petersburg. Dog walkers and doggy daycares are also rising in popularity, so you should have no trouble finding someone to help care for your pup, even if you’re just in town for a visit! Finding housing shouldn’t be too difficult either, with many landlords allowing dogs. Just be prepared to pay a potentially non-refundable pet deposit or fee.

Average Cost of Ownership

The average cost of owning a dog in St. Petersburg is approximately the national annual average of $1000-1200 per dog. This average does only cover basic veterinary care, food, and things like registrations. Dog walking, pet sitting, and doggy daycare are all going to cost extra and can quickly add hundreds or thousands of dollars to your annual total. Dog walkers charge between $12-25 hourly or per visit, while doggy daycare will likely cost you upwards of $30 per day. Pet deposits and fees may or may not be refundable but are typically $200 per pet or more. Some landlords may also charge a pet rent, which is a monthly fee in addition to your rent that covers having a pet on the property.

a labrador walking with his owner in the park
Image Credit: dekazigzag, Shutterstock

Shelters & Rescue Centers

The Pinellas County Animal Shelter has adoptable dogs available all the time, as does the Humane Society of Pinellas. Both facilities require adoption applications but usually process them within a day, although it can be a couple of days under certain circumstances. Private rescues may take longer to process applications and may also be more picky about approving adopters, sometimes requiring previous pet-owning experience and proof of veterinary care. One way to get involved with rescues is to become a foster, which can also help you get a good idea of what it would be like to add another dog into your household.

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Conclusion

St. Petersburg may not be the first place to come to mind when you think of traveling with your dog, but this welcoming beach town is sunny, warm, and has no shortage of things to do with your dog. This town is a great place to live or play and has great resources when it comes to finding a vet, dog walker, or pet sitter. If you love the beach and warm weather, then St. Petersburg may be a great spot for you and your pup to visit.


Featured Image: ESB Professional, Shutterstock