Boise, Idaho: A Dog Haven in the Northwest

Dogs have secured their position as man’s best friend for a reason. They’re often considered a part of the family and will be there for you with unconditional love no matter what. So, it’s no wonder people with dogs tend to gravitate toward pet-friendly cities. It’s normal to want to take your dog with you on family outings, or go places specifically-made to keep your four-legged friend happy. When it comes to those pet-friendly places, it doesn’t get much better than Boise, Idaho. 


Dogs need regular exercise, mental stimulation, proper health care, and even times of relaxation (like a spa day) for their overall well-being. Being in a city like Boise can make it easier to take care of your pooch properly, and have fun doing it. 


Boise has made headlines recently when it comes to being a dog-friendly city. This article will cover some of the ways Boise has made strides in becoming a dog haven, and how you and your furry friend can take advantage of everything it has to offer. 

First off, Idaho Just Loves Dogs

Before we get into why Boise, itself, is such a dog-friendly city, we have to take into account that Idaho loves dogs. In fact, Idaho has more dog owners than any other state in the country, with 58% of households owning at least one dog. 


Adoption rates for dogs are so high in Idaho that organizations like Wings of Rescue and Dog Is My CoPilot will often fly dozens of dogs from overcrowded shelters in other states to Idaho shelters where they are quickly adopted. Idaho also has many breed-specific rescues, including the Boise Bully Breed Rescue and the Idaho German Shepherd Rescue; these rescues focus on highly misunderstood breeds that often don’t fare well in shelter environments and may need special attention.


Boise holds several events for raising money for the Idaho Humane Society. See Spot Walk, held the first Saturday of October every year, is a favorite event of dog owners across the treasure valley. Dog owners and dog lovers alike can sign up for the fundraising event and bring their dogs to participate in a massive dog-walking event in Julia-Davis Park. There is also the Zamzows Frisbee Fest, which is a yearly dog frisbee catching competition put on by a local garden and pet retailer, and it benefits the Idaho Humane Society. 


Idaho also just approved a new pet-friendly license plate during the 2019 legislative session, and it has been available since July. The vanity plate features a yellow dog and a black and white cat and costs an initial $35 upon purchase, and $25 extra each year when renewing registration. This money goes to the Pet Lover’s Fund, run by the Idaho Humane Society, and goes towards helping low-income families spay and neuter their pets. The hope is to increasingly fight pet overpopulation across the state by helping those who may put off spaying and neutering, or forgo it altogether, due to money struggles. 


Idaho loves its dogs, and Boise, specifically, is no exception. 

Keeping Canines Cool and Keeping Them With You

Why is Boise gaining so much attention as a dog-friendly city recently? One of the most recent developments has to do with keeping dogs cool in the hot summer months. The popular grocery store in Treasure Valley, Albertsons, installed temperature-controlled “huts” outside of two of their stores over the last Labor Day weekend, in hopes that people running errands with their dogs in the car would let them use those huts, rather than keeping them in a hot car. 


Albertson’s partnered with Chicago-based company, DogSpot, to obtain the doghouses. Not only will they help to keep dogs cool in the summer, but they can also keep them warm in the winter. If more stores across the country were to install safe, high-tech “houses” like these, it may be less likely that hundreds of dogs will die each year because they’re left in a hot vehicle. 


Hopefully, Albertsons sets the trend, not only in the Boise area but all over the country. In the meantime, you don’t have to worry about the comfort of your furry friend when you have to run an errand. Dogs love being with their owners, and this is a city that allows you to do just that. 


You can even bring Fido with you for a night on the town with friends. Several breweries in Boise are dog-friendly so that you can spend time with your human friends and your four-legged one all at once! Before you head out in public with your dog, make sure you understand their body language. Since your pup can’t tell you how they’re feeling with words, their actions and mannerisms can say a lot. Look for signs of stress or aggravation, like growling or barking. If your dog doesn’t seem comfortable around people, it’s probably best to do more solo activities with them. 

Boise Gets Your Dog Moving

Albertson’s innovative solution for keeping dogs safe isn’t the only reason Boise is a haven for Fido. Even though it’s the biggest city in Idaho and the 3rd biggest metro area in the Pacific Northwest — and continually growing at a rapid pace — there’s a lot of nature to explore. It’s not called “The city of trees” for nothing! Having so much nature around can be especially helpful if you live in an apartment and have a hard time always getting your dog the exercise it needs. 


Morris Hill Park, Redwood Park, Manitou Park, Ann Morrison Park, and Sunset Park are just a few places you can let your dog stretch its legs and are great for the whole family. There is also the Boise River Greenbelt, which is a 25-mile path that follows along the Boise River and has several access points throughout the city. You can take your dog on the greenbelt for an on-leash run or a leisurely walk along the scenic and beautiful river. If you want more of a solo adventure with your four-legged friend, put on your boots, pick up the right backpack to avoid aches and pains, and hit the trails for a hike with your dog. The Boise area is surrounded by foothills and mountains and is just a couple of hours’ drive away from more intense hiking in the Rocky Mountains. 


If you have an older dog, they might benefit from a swimming class that’s easier on their joints. Dogs get just as much out of swimming as humans, and most of them really enjoy it! Many doggy daycare centers will have swimming pools, but there are also lakes and the river nearby for summertime swimming. 


If you’re away all day at work, you can still take comfort in knowing there are plenty of places in Boise that will not only keep your dog safe but will make sure they get plenty of exercise. Doggy daycares and day camps have become increasingly popular, and your dog will have a blast while you’re away for the day making new friends and staying active. There are at least 20 doggy daycare and boarding businesses in Boise alone, so you can be sure to find one that fits you and your pooch’s needs perfectly. 

The Perfect Getaway for The Whole Family

Even if you don’t live in Boise, it’s the perfect place to bring your dog, especially if you’re planning on a road trip or family camping trip. The area is full of great camping spots; whether you want to rough it with a tent and a sleeping bag, or go “glamping” in an RV that feels more like a home away from home, your dog will enjoy being able to spend time with you. 


When you do decide to go on a road trip or go camping with your canine, make sure you have the right gear packed up. This includes things like fire starters, a headlamp, and an insulated water bottle for you, and plenty of food, water, and a leash for your dog. Some dogs might not do as well in a car or RV as others, so talk to your pet’s vet before you hit the road. They might be able to help with things like car sickness or anxiety by giving your dog a light sedative for your trip to Boise. 

Check Out Boise, Idaho

If Boise wasn’t necessarily at the top of your list to visit or live before, it should be a top consideration if you have a dog. As you can see, there are so many ways to keep your dog happy and active in this city. Beyond that, there are many opportunities to make your dog an even more significant part of your everyday routine by being able to take them with you on errands or out for a bite to eat or a beer. 


With Idaho containing the most dog owners in the country, it’s only natural that it would be a champion for being more inclusive toward pets and setting the standard for other states to follow suit. Because of the changes and innovations already in place to make Boise a more dog-friendly city, it’s likely more businesses, parks, and organizations in the area will continue to follow that trend. Boise is a fantastic city for a variety of different reasons, but if you’re a dog lover looking for a place to settle or visit that both you and your four-legged friend will love, don’t look any further.

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