Does your city/town have dogitude?

Our top 9 cities in California with dogitude

Click on the place to see what we wrote about each of them. For some, there may be multiple posts about them. You can do a search for Carmel, Idyllwild, Monterey, Napa, and Mendocino, below.




San diego



Huntington Beach

Newport Beach

Palm springs

Does your city/town have dogitude?

Traveling around to more than 75 places in California, Cici and I found it is often a mixed bag.  Just as pet friendly inns and hotels may say they are pet friendly but sometimes are not quite up to snuff, the same is true for cities and towns. How would you rate your city, town or village based upon the criteria below?  Please let us know. Thanks.

1. Are there plenty of large, green, clean and fenced dog parks with shade, trees, shrubs, bushes, pet waste stations, water, trash bins and picnic tables where people can sit and dogs can rest?

If there is no dedicated dog park or the only parks in town are not fenced, tiny, no room to run, have gravel or wood shavings (difficult for furry paws),  dirty, with no shade, then no, your city is not really dog friendly and does not have dogitude.

Example: Monterey has a dismal dog park, full of wood shavings, teeny tiny and the beaches allow dogs but certain dog breeds (pit bulls) are not very welcome. Nearby Carmel allows dogs on the beach, but it is difficult to go up and down. The Marina does not allow dogs on the beach but there is a decent fenced dog park near the CSUMB campus and residential area.

2. Are big and small dogs as well as all breeds allowed and/or welcomed at stores?

At Del Monte Shopping Center in Monterey, dogs big and small, rule. They are allowed in Macy’s, Borders Express, Petco, Rite-Aid, the bank and many other stores. Also, Starbucks and others are happy to give water to pups. Plus, the mall’s kiosk has a water bowl outside (not always filled) and dog cookies, too. Even Macy’s has cookies for dogs. My Cici is a medium sized dog, plus she is Dalmatian/Pit bull mix. And she is welcomed practically everywhere. Del Monte also has a lot of cushioned outdoor couches for people to sit on. They do not encourage dogs to rest on them in the sun, however. Ask Cici, she was kicked off.

3. Are dogs welcomed at restaurants or other food establishments?

Carmel restaurants even have doggie menus, some allow dogs inside, and there are lots and lots of places to choose from. Many allow dogs outside on patios.  Some places that sell food use the excuse that they do to not allow dogs inside (Some Pier One type establishments, for one). But others still allow dogs inside. Borders Express sells candy (is that food?) and allow dogs inside while Borders in Sand City (which has a Seattle coffee shop inside) does not.

4. Are dogs allowed off-leash on hiking trails and other public spaces?

Carmel, Pacific Grove and Marina have numerous places for dogs to run and meet and greet their pals. They allow dogs to be off-leash. Dogs are supposed to be trained, under voice control and wearing tags, but not everyone complies to these rules. Sometimes, there are too many dogs.

5. Are there state of the art veterinary facilities and top-notch vets in the area?

Carmel and Pacific Grove have several and offer holistic vet care facilities also.

6. Are there locally owned pet shops that sell only high quality food with a variety of foods, such as raw food, kibble, and canned food? Are they places that do not sell animals, nor sell choke or shock collars? Do they answer your questions about food, treats, training, supplements with a friendly manner, give your dog treats and know what is going on in the pet community? Do they have pet adoption fairs?

Carmel has several such pet food stores and one chain, Pet Food Express, that offers all of the above and more.

7.  Are the people you meet at malls, in stores, on the sidewalk, at parks, beaches, on trails and elsewhere, generally friendly to you and your dog? How do they treat their own animals?

Our experiences with Carmel and Monterey are much more positive than not. But, it would be nice if some people at the dog beaches were friendlier towards pit bulls and pit bull mixes. And if some people would treat their own dogs better (remember the dog inside the BMW or Mercedes without air and Lola the mini poodle next door who is outside 24/7?)

8.  Are dogs allowed on public transit (buses, trains)?

Not unless they are service dogs in Monterey and Carmel.

9. Are there plenty of dog-friendly hotels, motels, inns, B&B’s?

Carmel is well known for Doris Day’s Cypress Inn, but there are also numerous other places that not only allow dogs but welcome them. (See my blog post about Carmel). Same with Monterey. There is a variety of places to stay for different prices. The one drawback is that along Fremont Street in Monterey, most of the motels there are not pet friendly.

10.  Is the local SPCA, Humane Society and animal rescue groups doing their job protecting animals? Are they no-kill?  Do they have a lot of volunteers? Do they offer free pet food for people who cannot afford it?

Both SPCA and Animal Friends Project have a lot of staff and volunteers. Sadly, the Monterey SPCA is not no kill. Animal Friends is a rescue and fosters animals as well as gets them adopted. Recently, when I was concerned about Lola, still am, the mini poodle next door, someone from Animal Friends offered to take care of her and find her a new home. SPCA, so far, has not done much. They are expanding and some of their services, including parking, frankly, sucks. It used to be easy to go in and out, now there are 20 steps up and no real disability parking places.  SPCA does offer free pet food for people who cannot afford to feed their pets.

11. Now the real test of dogitude is does the city / town have pet friendly wineries?

Carmel and Monterey do have some pet friendly wineries.

All in all, we’d give Carmel an 9.5 on the dogitude scale and Monterey an 9.

For more info on these and other places in California that have dogitude, be sure to check out our California K9 Adventures e-travel guide, 145+ pages filled with our dogitude ratings of more than 75 places, local info such as places, stores, places to eat and so much more.

What other criteria do you have ?


Filed under California, Carmel, dog friendly, dog travel, Idyllwild, K9 approved, K9 travel, Mendocino, Monterey, Pacific Grove, Palm Springs, pet travel, travel, travel with dog, travelwriting

3 responses to “Does your city/town have dogitude?

  1. Love this list. Raja and I love the California coastal towns… So dog friendly and charming. Please check out Culver City’s street side dining. So dog friendly and so many good restaurants.

  2. Thankfully some bloggers can still write. Thanks for this article!!

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