As a city brand, we wanted to take a dive into some of the major cities across the globe, and bring you our recommendation on just how pet friendly they actually are. Starting at home and finishing in Asia, we've selected some of the cities that order from us most frequently. And of course, there's nothing better for your dog's next city walk than our luxury collar walk set. Did you know, we specifically designed our leads with city walks in mind? It's the perfect length to allow comfort but not too long so as to be dangerous in high density areas.
Anyway, back to it...
We've based our rating on: General attitude towards pets, parks, beaches, dog-friendly restaurants/ cafes, public and private transport facilities and pet-friendly accommodation.
Pet-Friendly Rating: 4/5
When it comes to dog-friendliness, we give this metropolitan city a gold star. Sure, we have a soft spot for the city the brand originated from, but is it any wonder we started a pet brand immediately after moving to Melb? From off-lead beaches to leafy parks, dog-friendly accomodation aplenty and a whole shopping district with a dog friendly policy, we vote Melbourne Australia’s most dog friendly city. There, we said it.
As a general rule of thumb, the majority of shops don’t automatically allow dogs (besides guide dogs) inside, but rules are relaxed along the bustling shopping strips that is Chapel Street. If dogs are welcome, there will be a 'paw on the door' to signify that it is a dog-friendly facility. Most restaurants and café’s along here are dog friendly when you’re outdoors.
Our favourites are the Royal Botanic Gardens and Flagstaff – these are centrally located just south and north of the river respectively, and dogs are required to be kept on a leash at all times.
For some off leash fun, head to Yarra Park, located on east side of the MCG. And our personal favourite, the large and leafy ‘Fawkner Park’, just south of the botanic gardens.
Fun fact: we were inspired to create ST ARGO after moving next to Fawkner Park!
Hot pick: Elwood Beach. This popular, pet friendly beach is off-leash for dogs during non-busy hours. And, from 1 April to 31 October, dogs can be off-leash 24 hours a day! Go crazy.
The southern half of Port Melbourne Dog Beach is a designated off-leash zone all year round, with the northern half open to off-leash dogs from 1 April through 31 October. The beach is an easy walk to Bay Street's shops and cafes.
Food safety rules in Australia still stipulate that only assistance animals are allowed inside venues where food is prepared. However, Melbourne's restaurateurs are working hard to create dog friendly cosy courtyards and comfortable outdoor spaces to attract pooch lovers. Each hospitality venue will differ, but the general rule is, so long as you are dining outdoors, a dog is allowed on a leash. Again, look for the ‘paw on the door’.
This is where Melbourne shines in comparison to other Aussie cities. Cats and small dogs are permitted on trains in a carrier, whilst larger dogs are permitted if they wear a muzzle. The same is the case for all trams in Melbourne in relation to smaller pets in carriers. And no, you don’t have to purchase a ticket or pay a premium to bring your furry bestie along.
When it comes to Uber-ing, you will need to select the handy pet-friendly – ‘UberPet’. This service charges a small premium to allow your furry pal into the vehicle with you.
There’s loads of pet friendly accommodation in Melbourne. Our pick? Zagame’s House. Boujee and on the northern fringe of the city (close to Carlton, YES) this hotel even offers a pet in-room-dining menu.
Our best budget option is the Best Western. Prices start at around $130AUD per night and it is super centrally located in the CBD.
Sorry Sydney, you can’t have it all. You’ve got Bondi, Bill’s and the Harbour, but you don't have top pick for dog-friendliness. As Melbournians, we give our sister city a solid C+ for effort.
When it comes to leafy expanses for your bestie to run around, Sydney does have some great options...
Cook + Phillip Park (CBD) – This is the most central off-leash dog park in Sydney. Dogs are allowed on all grassed areas, just keep them outside of the playground and the indoor swimming area.
Centennial Park – Located about 3km east of the CBD, this is one of the best dog-friendly parks close to the city. A huge expanse with everything from duck ponds to horse-riding to sports grounds. Bonus? Nearly half of the park allows dogs off-leash year-round!
Note: Unlike Melbourne, no dogs are allowed in Sydney’s Botanic Gardens, on or off leash.
An Add-On: Whilst it’s not exactly a ‘park’, the Bondi to Coogee Walk is a must do outdoor adventure that's dog friendly. This 6km oceanside trail is dog on-leash pro and STUNNING.
We suggest Rose Bay beach. In terms of proximity, its the closest to the city and dogs are allowed off leash year-round! Woo!
Generally, the rules concerning pets at restaurants in Sydney are the same as those in Melbourne. Dine outside, but be prepared to be turned away.
A couple of our favourite options are:
Best Cafe: Grounds of Alexandria – a huge inner-city farm style venue complete with café, restaurant, pigs and flower stalls. Dog on-lead friendly.
Best Pub: The Golden Sheaf at Double Bay. This venue featured an inner courtyard that is pet friendly.
This is where Sydney lags behind Melbourne. Sydney transport regulations do not permit dogs on trains. Dogs are however, permitted on buses and ferries, so long as they ride in a carrier.
Similarly to Melbourne, select the 'UberPet' option when taking your dog in booked transport around Sydney.
We highly recommend Pier One. This hotel is right on the harbour, literally, it’s right under the Sydney Harbour Bridge. There is a designated doggie pee patch, a selection of doggie toys available to purchase in-room and the restaurant is pet-friendly.
For luxury lovers, we recommend The Langham. This stunning hotel is situated centrally and boasts a selection of doggie accessories at reception. Spot the ST ARGO doggie carriers! When it comes to luxury travel with your pet, nothing tops The Langham.
London’s calling your dog. If we could give this city 6 stars out of 5 we would. Dogs are treated as an extension of your family here, so it’s not uncommon to see dogs walking next to their family off leash throughout the city. Pick up after your dog, ensure they have road sense and are non-aggressive and you really can’t go wrong. Make sure to check out Le Wag in Belgravia & Fulham for the ultimate grooming experience. Le Wag also offers dog walking and daycare services if you wish to have some alone time.
Generally, dogs are allowed at most parks in London, so long as they are well behaved of course. In fact, many owners will allow their pooch the freedom to run and walk off leash around their local borough if they are well trained. If dogs are not permitted to be off leash (such as in areas around the pond at Hyde Park where there is birdlife, or Bushy Park where there are deer roaming freely), there will be clear signage.
Hyde Park: Pet friendly off leash throughout. Be mindful of the pond and birdlife, as well as the busy cycle paths.
Hampstead Heath: A great option year-round. This large forest area is dotted with green expanses and even a dog-friendly lake area for summertime swims.
Bushy Park: This is an off leash park everywhere, but be mindful of the deer.
N/A, your closest bet would be Brighton, a 1.5hour train out of the city. We would recommend leashing your dog on this beach in the summer months.
Fun Fact: Large shopping facilities such as John Lewis & H&M, major department stores, allow pets indoors. Wild!
Most pubs will allow dogs on leash, yep, even inside. For particularly boujee pubs, best to check beforehand, especially if they are going to be really busy.
Most establishments will allow well-behaved pets, particularly in casual dining venues. Even certain Starbucks’ will allow your furry companion to come in and enjoy some cosy study time with you.
For public transport, London again takes the cake. Dogs are allowed on all public transport (buses and trains), on leads. No tickets required for your fluffy mate. If you need to find yourself some dog products when in London, Le Wag stocks the entire ST ARGO range, so you'll be well equipped for any situation.
As with most cities, select 'UberPet' when booking an uber. Most black cabs are fairly lenient with allowing well behaved pets, but check with the driver in advance, if possible.
London is an expensive city, and this includes travelling with your pet. For a luxury option, we choose the Rosewood Hotel for stunning old English charm in the middle of the city.
The Standard at King’s Cross is also a great hotel. It's a modern hotel, centrally located near the iconic St Pancras Station for easy transport in and out of London city.
Singapore is a pretty progressive city when it comes to pet-friendliness! There are beaches aplenty and a solid selection of popular pet-friendly dining facilities. Although, transport is where this city is lacking.
The major option is Singapore Botanic Gardens which is dog friendly, provided your dog stays on leash. There are also other various (but smaller) dog friendly parks dotted around the city, many of these are off leash.
Be sure to check out West Coast Park Dog Run, this is one of the larger and more popular ones.
Singapore, unlike many other major cities, boasts plenty of beach options. We recommend Tanjong Beach on Sentosa. You can book a slot in Zone 1 or 2 with your pup. This beach is so dog friendly, they even provide free drinking water for your dog.
Here is where Singapore does lag behind some of the other cities. If you want to transport your pet around Singapore, you'll have to book private transport as dogs not allowed on any form of public transport, except guide dogs.
Dogs must be in a carrier when in a taxi in Singapore. 'UberPet' is also available in Singapore for Uber rides with a small additional fee.
Singapore gets high marks for pet-friendliness in hospitality venues. A surprise considering the lack of transport options for pet owners. There are plenty of pet friendly dining facilities in Singapore, but not all places are automatically pet friendly.
There is a myriad of dog friendly hotels in Singapore. Be mindful, they are mostly luxury options though, so will cost you. We recommend the stunning Four Seasons for a real treat, the Sofitel & The Intercontinental.
With 8.9million dogs, Japan is the only country in the world where pets actually outnumber children… But for us, Tokyo still has a way to go before it could really be considered ‘dog friendly’.
Etiquette: In addition to common courtesy of picking up your pet’s poop, there is also the expectation that you water down your dog’s pee with a water bottle.
Ueno Park - Ueno station is an urban oasis in Tokyo. Lots of art, wildlife and natural beauty including a tonne of cherry blossom trees! It’s technically dog off leash, but most owners will still leash their dogs.
Yoyogi Park – An off leash dog run in back of park divided into large and small dog runs. Very handy if you are living in the area to allow your dog to socialise and blow off some steam!
Memorial Gardens - Dogs are allowed at the beautiful Memorial Gardens. Remember to keep them on leash at all times.
Only small breeds are allowed on trains in Tokyo. They must be in a crate and crate + dog must not exceed 10kg.
As a rule, bringing dogs on a bus is prohibited, apart from service animals.
For taxis, you and your pup are permitted to ride together as a general rule, provided they are in a carrier. No large dogs.
'UberPet' is available in Tokyo. Usually you will still have to crate your dog, sorry big dogs.
As a general rule, pets are not allowed in hospitality venues. And there will often be signs on the doors explicitly indicating this. Best practice is to always call the venue ahead and ask whether your pet is welcome and if he/she can sit outside (leashed) with you.
For Teppankayo - Yasaiya Teppanyaki Yasai, Roppongi
For pizza - Cona, Azabujuban
For a café - Bondi Café – good breakky spot in Hiroo district.
There are a few pet friendly hotels, ranging in price. Our picks:
Expensive: Intercontinental Tokyo Bay
Budget: Citadines Shinjuku. Pets welcome in high seating area. Incredibly central
When it comes to living and travelling with your dog out of these 5 major cities, London gets 5 paws out of 5. Melbourne is a very decent option for pet owners, especially with the range of beach options. Singapore is really coming along with pet friendliness and Sydney has some excellent facilities, but lacks in public transport options. Unfortunately, Tokyo still has a way to go with pet-friendliness, but there are some great dining out options that your fluffy bestie can come and enjoy with you. What 5 cities should we assess next? For the coolest city walking sets featuring harnesses, leashes, poop bag holders and poop bags, check out our range of luxe Aussie products.
Couldn't find your city on the list? Don't worry - we've listed another 5 major cities in our next dog-friendly-city blog post!