May 2012 4

Best Places for Your Dog in Vancouver

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Vancouver Dogs by Lee Down Vancouver Dogs by Lee Down

We all want only the best for our beloved four-legged friends, and this article will help you find the top parks, vets, shops, dog walkers, and dog-friendly apartments in Vancouver. Many parks in Vancouver have unrestricted entrance for dogs, but only a few of them have an off-leash policy, which is naturally the best option if you want to play and have as much fun as possible with your dog.

If you don’t know where to take your dog when he’s sick at 4:00 in the morning, or even which vet is closest to your house, this article will provide you with the information you need. Care for dogs also includes dog-walkers. Owners usually hire them for while they’re at work or terribly busy attending a conference outside the city. There is more to the care about dogs than meets the eye: just take licences and the bylaws you need to know if you want to be a legal dog owner for example. Despite the seemingly endless list of obstacles and need-to-knows, every dog owner will tell you that she’s happy and more than willing to accept any one of them just to make her dog happy.

Off-leash Dog Parks and Locations

Dogs are welcome in all Vancouver Parks. Special off-leash privileges are available during specific times at selected locations. Be very careful and watch the time, even if you’re having a great deal of fun with your beloved pet. You can get an unpleasant fine if you let your dog off the leash longer than it’s allowed. You can always come again another day. In most parks, the off-leash time splits into morning and evening sessions, usually before and after most people have to be at work, so dog owners can spend some quality time with their pets. Here are some of the best off-leash parks for you and your dog. The rest of them can be found on the map provided by the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation.

The grass bowl is off-leash 6:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M. year-round. The waterfall pond is on-leash June to September, 10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. and off-leash at other times. If you want to relax a bit, Charleson is just the place to go with your dog. The view of the downtown shoreline you get around the waterfall and pond is amazing, especially when the sun goes down. Charleson is one of the nicest places to watch the sunset in Vancouver.

  • CRAB Park at Portside (Map)

Crab Park by Wisley Crab Park by Wisley

The east side of the park is off-leash 6:00 A.M. to 10:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M. to 10:00 P.M. Be careful since no dogs are allowed within 15 metres of the playground. From atop a grassy knoll or the small pier jutting into Burrard Inlet, this is a good place to get a close look at Vancouver’s working port, with views of the colourful containers, cruise ships, heliport, and SeaBuses. If you enter the park from the Main Street overpass, you’ll be able to take some beautiful pictures of two Chinese lion statues framing views of the peaks. This park also has waterfront access.

  • Spanish Bank Beach Park (Map)

The outlined area is off-leash from 6:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M. The park also has waterfront access. Silent and sparkling on summer mornings, Spanish Bank Beach quickly fills with people as the temperature rises. Your dog will love you even more if you give him the opportunity to run freely through the sand.

  • Queen Elizabeth Park (Map)

The outlined area is off-leash from 6:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M. Queen Elizabeth Park is one of the most beautiful parks in Vancouver — if not the most beautiful. It’s a shame that only two parts of the park are off-leash, so dogs and their owners are quite restricted when it comes to the off-leash area; however, all dog owners say that for some reason this is their dogs’ favourite park.

The outlined area is off-leash from 7:00 A.M. to 10:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M. to 10:00 A.M. The nearly five hectares located in a very quiet neighbourhood are an ideal for jogging with your faithful friend. It’s also a good place to take your family for a picnic or just a short walk. The park also has a playground and softball field.

How to Find a Good Vet Nearby

Vancouver Animal Emergency Clinic Vancouver Animal Emergency Clinic

Vancouver Animal Emergency Clinic (Animal ER) is the place to go if your dog is sick in the evening or at night. It’s a facility dedicated to providing 24-hour emergency and critical care services for companion animals. They employ some of the finest and most experienced vets in the city. The animal ER has been functioning for almost 35 years. In their own words:

Every pet, whether injured or sick, will have timely access to treatment and diagnostics, delivered by our expert team of veterinarians, veterinary technicians, veterinary office assistants and support staff. Our Team members have been chosen not only for their skills, but also for their ability to do their best for you and your pet. Our Team continually undergoes training, both on site and at recognized national and international seminars.

The centre holds the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) accreditation, an evaluation based on 900 standards in various areas. However, if the situation is not urgent and you don’t want to drive to Granville, where the clinic is, you can find a lot of capable and professional vets all around Vancouver.


Each dog owner in Vancouver is obliged to get a licence for his/her pet once he’s older than three months. The licence isn’t just a city by-law: it also protects your pet and helps identify your dog if she gets lost. You are entitled to get your pet back with no impound charge once per calendar year. According to the City of Vancouver City Council:

Every year, more than 3,500 dogs go missing in Vancouver. 92 per cent of lost dogs wearing a licence are returned to their owner, while a high percent of dogs lost without a tag never find their way back home.

Licence fees help the pound provide food, shelter, and medical treatment to lost, abandoned, or abused dogs, and fund education and pet adoption services. Dog licence renewals are staggered throughout the year according to where you live in Vancouver. Intact male or intact female dog licences cost $71.00, while neutered male or spayed female licenses cost $38.00. The penalty for missing the licence expiry date is $10 a month.

Dog Walkers and Dog Daycare

Dogs Walking by Michael Scheltgen Dogs Walking by Michael Scheltgen

Dogs need to be walked at least a few hours a day, and since many people work too late or start too early, they don’t always have the time to do so themselves. In cases like these, many people decide to hire a dog walker who will pick the dog up and walk him every day. Some dogs need even more attention. A great deal of our beloved friends are simply scared if left home alone. That’s why more and more dog daycare centres have started to pop up around the city. You can leave your dogs during the day, they can play with others and you pick them up after you’ve finished at work. Basically it’s the same as with children and daycare, except some of the doggie daycares also offer training for your pets. These are some of Vancouver’s best dog walking and dog daycare services.

As Lucky Dog promises in its advertisement, it really provides your dog with air, play, and love during the day when you’re not able to get away from the office. The service is highly professional yet not at all uptight. Lucky Dog Walking Service is licensed, insured, bonded, and certified in Pet First Aid, so you really don’t need to be worried. They specialize in group and private dog walking to keep your dog happier and healthier. The service also offers puppy visits, in-hotel dog sitting, pet taxi service, phoDography, and hosting “lucky hour” events — fun, casual events for singles with dogs to meet other singles with dogs.

Best Friends Pet Care operates in Vancouver’s west side, including Point Grey, Kits, Kerrisdale, Shaughnessy, Fairview, and Mount Pleasant, providing both dog walking and cat sitting services 365 days a year. They are licensed, insured, bonded, and fully certified in Pet First Aid (for both dogs and cats) for your piece of mind — at work or at the birthday party at you allergic friend.

Biscuits Pet Services Biscuits Pet Services

You don’t need to worry about your pet while Biscuit Pet Services takes care of her; they are a pet first aid service trained by St. John Ambulance and licensed, insured, and bonded pet care professionals. They are very eager and able to adapt to your needs, and it’s been said that flexibility is very important in this business.

With over 4,000 square feet of indoor and 1,200 square feet of outdoor play area for big and small dogs, the Adventure Den is one of the biggest establishments in and around Vancouver. They also offer new puppy daycare. This False Creek daycare centre is open six days a week Monday to Friday, from 6:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. and Saturday from 8:30 A.M. to 5:30 P.M. They offer pick-up and drop-off service and adventure dog hikes.

Creature Comforts Pet Care Services have been around for more than fifteen years now. Their services range from private walks to group hikes. They are insured, bonded, and licensed, a founding member of VPDWA.

Do you have any suggestions that might help dog owners like you? Don’t hesitate to add a comment below. It would be much appreciated!

4 Responses to “Best Places for Your Dog in Vancouver”

  1. M Tremblay

    I would like to mention a different approach to dog walking in Vancouver. Tails Adventures Dog Hiking occurs on trails located in Vancouver, North Shore and West Vancouver.

    This gives people’s dogs the chance to get back to nature and to run amongst the trees. All the while getting exercise and having fun.

  2. Janelle

    For those of you looking for pet friendly apartments in Vancouver, I have created a website that lists pet friendly buildings. Visit to see our list of pet friendly buildings. We currently have 139 buildings for metro Vancouver. Let us know if you know of any buildings not on our list!

  3. Morning Jools

    I’d like to report a business where I’ve witnessed plenty of animal abuse. It’s a business called dog taxi.

    I moved out of this place on september 20, after being roommate of the guy who runs it. I witnessed particular animal cruelty that disturbed me, and made me want to leave. The conditions there are unsanitary and I saw how the person I lived with lost sense of shame about his actions towards animals in front of me. I’m raising a schnauzer and I didn’t want to be exposed to that, so I left. I’m also telling this to help spread awareness of the unethical practices I witnessed in this place.

    To note two particular incidents I witnessed Jorge the guy who runs the place, and my ex-roommate, throwing an alaskan malamute type dog down a flight of stairs(twice). When the dog first came in for care it was nice and playful. It had one eye different than the other, kinda like bowie, kinda cool. But Jorge, had no patience for it so that dog received some very severe punishment and was the particular target of a dog being thrown down a flight of stairs. Both times that I caught him doing it, he was startled when he noticed I was there. He would prepare some random excuse like “that dog’s complicated, and that’s what it takes in some cases when a dog is unmanageable”. I’ve lived with dogs my whole life, my family had dogs before they had me, I’ve been attacked by dogs, and it doesn’t take any of that to know that doing something like doesn’t teach anything. What I had I had just witnessed was very disturbing. Unfortunately, it wasn’t very long before it happened again.

    The alaskan malamute type dog had started to become more aggressive towards other dogs, but fearful towards humans. The second time I saw Jorge(the guy who runs Dog Taxi) throw it down a flight of stairs he presented his same excuse. There was no other dog in sight. He knew I didn’t buy it and he looked quite embarassed. That night he also called the owner of the dog and told him to get his dog because he was tired of the trouble it was causing. I wasn’t comfortable seeing this blatant abuse and then the lie so I left to stay with my girlfriend for a few days. I also wanted to keep Lucas, a schnauzer I’m raising, safe. In the daytime I work or go to school, and I don’t want him being there with that animal abuser. I also didn’t want to be a bystander of casual animal cruelty so I left as soon as I was able to. That was yesterday at 10pm, September 20.

    I documented some of what living the dog taxi house was like. It was unsanitary and there was no consideration for the trust that people placed on these people with their loved ones. I moved out, and my friend Lucas is safe. I didn’t get any money for a series of things, but that’s the least of my concerns. This place should be stopped and not trusted.

    You can also contact me through:

  4. Jay Banks

    Hi Morning Jools,

    thank you for sharing your experience however, it’s still hard to believe that there are people who treat animals like this… Were you contacting any officials who can help in any way?
    I added the company to the blacklist of my article about the Top 5 Dog Boarding Facilities in Vancouver, I hope it will be helpful for all the dog owners around Vancouver.



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