How Pet Friendly is Raleigh, Really?

Thinking about moving to Raleigh and wondering if your pet will be a welcome new resident as well?

The answer is a resounding yes. Everywhere you go, you will see pet owners taking walks with their pups or dining with their dog at their feet. And you will have no shortage of activities to do with your four-legged best friend, from pet-friendly restaurants to dog parks and pet-friendly trails. Each weekend there are plenty of pet-friendly events, including dog washes, adopt-athons, playdates and festivals happening all over town.

Pet-Friendly Trails

Want to hit the trails with your dog? You have many pet-friendly trails to choose from in Raleigh. If you are looking for a longer hiker, the 5.4-mile Falls Lake Trail offers a scenic view of the lake for you and your pup. Umstead State Park has several shorter pet-friendly trails, including Sal’s Branch Trail and Company Mill Trail. Looking for a paved path? Check out the 27.4-mile Neuse River Greenway Trail, which meanders along the river and offers many trailheads to choose from. For something different, take your dog to the pet-friendly NC Museum of Art Park to check out the sculptures.

Dog-Friendly Restaurant and Bars

You don’t have to leave your dog at home when you head out for a night on the town. Over 170 bars and restaurants are pet friendly, including the popular Tupelo Honey Café and Raleigh Beer Garden. Raleigh Brewing Company even holds pet-friendly events, such as Barks ‘n Brews. While the majority (if not all) of the establishments only allow leashed pets on their patios, the pleasant spring and fall weather in the area means you can dine with your pet many months out of the year.

World Class Vet Care

Raleigh is home to many fabulous veterinarians for routine care and several 24-hour vet clinics for middle-of-the-night emergencies. And if your pet has a rare or unique issue, NC State Veterinary Hospital is in town with top specialists, ranging from dermatology to ophthalmology, and the latest research to help nurse your pet back to health. Each year, the hospital treats more than 20,000 animals, including household pets, exotic pets, horses and farm animals. While appointments are available for specialists, the hospital is also open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Off-Leash Dog Parks

Dog owners looking for a place for their dog to play with other pups or chase a ball off-leash are in luck. The Millbrook Dog Park located at the Millbrook Exchange Park in North Raleigh offers two enclosed areas and a picnic shelter for dogs and their owners. The park recently won a $30,000 donation from Beneful and $5,000 in dog park equipment – so keep an eye out for the makeover. Downtown dwellers can head to the Oak Park Dog Park, which also offers separate fenced areas for large and small dogs. Pet owners wanting to memorialize their pet can donate benches or tables for the park in their pet’s name.



Jennifer Goforth Gregory