Dog-Friendly Philly: What to Do with Your Canine Companion

Do you love dogs? So does Philadelphia. From dog runs to locally owned pet stores, you’ll find plenty of places to help you pamper your pet in the city. While you might need to make some adjustments to your life, getting to live with your pet is worth it.

Some people think that you can’t have a pet in the city. Well, those people are wrong. Philadelphia is a particularly dog-friendly city, offering everything from off-leash dog runs to pet-centric events. Whether you’ve been a life-long dog owner or are considering getting your first ever pet, here’s what to know about dog-friendly Philadelphia.

Living with Dogs

Not every property is a pet-friendly property. If you own or are planning on a buying a single-family home in Philadelphia, owning a dog isn’t an issue. It’s your home, and you’re welcome to live there with your dogs (as long as you have fewer than 12, and they have their licenses, according to the city’s laws).

Things get a little more tricky if you rent or live in a condo with a homeowner’s association. You’ll want to make sure your HOA allows dogs or find a rental that is pet-friendly. It’s common for pet-friendly rentals to charge a dog or cat deposit, on top of the security deposit, just in case your animal causes any extra damage.

Dining with Dogs

Several restaurants in Philly welcome dogs. The aptly named White Dog Cafe in University City allows pets to sit with their owners during a meal on the patio. Servers will bring over a bowl of water for your dog, too.

During the summer, Square 1682, a restaurant near Rittenhouse Square, offers Bring Your Own Dog brunches on weekends. The brunches are more than just an opportunity for dog lovers to dine with their canine friends. The restaurant also donates a portion of brunch sales to animal care and rescue programs. In 2015, part of the proceeds went to Lulu’s Rescue, a volunteer-run organization that aims to find homes for pets.

A number of other restaurants and coffee shops across the city let you bring your dog, especially if you’re sitting outside. If you’re not sure about a restaurant’s pet policy, the best thing to do is call and ask if you can bring your dog along.

Playing with Dogs

While life on a leash is part of the experience of being a city dog, sometimes you want to let your pet run free. Off-leash dog runs are the perfect spot for that, and Philadelphia has several. The Schuylkill River Park Dog Run is a popular spot. It features two areas, one for small dogs and one for bigger dogs, as well as K9 grass, hoses, and water bowls.

The South Philadelphia Association of Dog Owners maintains the dog run at Columbus Square, near East Passyunk. Along with maintaining the off-leash area, the organization also sponsors a few pet-centric events throughout the year, such as Dog Day Afternoon, which is usually held in the Spring; park cleanups; and Docs at Dog Parks, during which vets visit the dog run to examine pets and talk to their owners.

In West Philadelphia, the Clark Park Dog Bowl is a popular spot for pets and their humans. It’s not an official dog run or off-leash area, in that it’s not fenced off, but plenty of dogs enjoy running around it or running up and down the hills. If you bring your pet there, make sure to keep him on a leash.

You might not have a big backyard in Philly, but that doesn’t mean your dog will be limited. There are plenty of opportunities for exercise and socializing in the city, for pups of all ages and sizes.


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