Is Boston A Dog-Friendly City?

If you’re a dog-lover, then dog-friendliness is probably one of your top priorities when choosing a place to live. Not only do you want to make sure any apartment you rent out will allow your dog, but you’ll also want to live in a city where you can enjoy local dog parks, dog-friendly establishments, ample pet care options, and more.

When it comes to dog-friendly cities, Boston and Cambridge (outskirts of Boston) have been inching its way up the list for the last few years. While Boston may still not be the most dog-friendly city in the country, it has come a long way—with new dog parks and an increasing number of dog-friendly shops. If you’re considering a move to Boston and plan on bringing your canine companion, there are a few things you should know.

Shopping With Your Dog in Boston

There’s nothing quite like being able to bring your dog with you as you explore town or run errands. Unfortunately, dogs are not always welcome at privately-owned businesses (with the exception of service dogs, of course).

Boston still has a way to go when it comes to dog-friendly establishments. While there are certainly a handful of shops in Boston where dogs are welcome such as the Boston maid service, the majority of them still only allow service animals. Still, there are plenty of pet stores where dogs and other pets are obviously welcome. Some bars and taverns where food is not served also tend to allow dogs, especially if there is an outdoor patio area. When in doubt, it’s always a good idea to call before visiting an establishment to inquire as to whether your dog will be allowed inside.

Dog-Friendly Apartments in Boston

Another important thing to consider is how easy it will be to find a dog-friendly apartment or another residence if plan on renting. Individual landlords and property management companies sometimes have strict rules and policies regarding dogs in their rentals. Some will not want pets at all, whereas others may require a non-refundable deposit and/or a monthly fee added onto your rent in order to have a dog in the unit.

Keep in mind that even landlords that allow dogs may have breed restrictions in place, so if you have a restricted breed (such as a pit bull or Doberman), you may not be allowed to rent with some landlords or property managers.

The good news here is that an increasing number of landlords in Boston are beginning to loosen up their restrictions on dogs. As more and more renters move to the Boston area with their dogs, the demand for pet-friendly apartments has been on-the-rise, and landlords have been responding appropriately so as not to lose out on business.

In addition to finding a rental that allows dogs, you’ll also want to consider the size of your dog and his or her space/exercise needs when choosing an apartment. For smaller breeds, your dog shouldn’t need a lot of space and you may even be able to train your dog to go potty indoors on a puppy pad. This can be especially convenient for high-rise apartment buildings or other rentals where access to green space is limited.

If you have a larger breed dog, however, keep in mind that you may need to compensate for this with a larger apartment. More square footage will give your dog the ability to get exercise without leaving the house. However, you’ll still want to make sure you’re taking your dog for regular walks as well. This is where having access to local walking trails or even dog parks can be especially helpful.

What About Boarding and Pet Care in Boston?

If you do a fair amount of traveling, it will also be important to find a reputable dog hotel or similar boarding facility that you can trust to leave your dog during your travels. Boston has a great selection of boarding facilities to suit your needs, and pricing can vary greatly depending on the size of your dog and the specific level of service you’re looking for.

For example, some facilities offer basic boarding services that include a kennel for your dog as well as daily potty breaks and playtime. Other facilities are more costly but include indoor/outdoor runs for your dog, more interaction with staff, spa/grooming services, and much more. Whether you’re looking for basic boarding services or something a little fancier, you should have no trouble finding dog boarding in Boston.

The main thing to keep in mind, however, is that these facilities can fill up quickly during busy times of year, such as holiday travel seasons. Be sure to book your dog’s boarding as soon as possible to avoid problems with vacancy.

Dog Parks in Boston and More

One of the challenges of living in Boston with a dog is that the climate isn’t very conducive to outdoor play year-round. Boston sees rather harsh winters, which can keep you and your dog indoors for a few months at a time. Still, during the warmer months of the year, there are plenty of opportunities for you to get outside with your dog. Boston has a number of great dog parks where you can bring your dog to interact with others and enjoy some exercise.

If you plan on taking your pup to a dog park, just be sure to bring a leash and proof of updated vaccinations. Many dog parks will require this paperwork before they will allow your dog inside.

Moving to Boston With a Dog

If you’re thinking about moving to Boston with a dog, there are a few tips worth keeping in mind. For starters, be sure that any rentals you look at are dog-friendly and have no restrictions on your dog’s specific breed. Always read the lease agreement and make sure you have in writing any information on pet damage deposits, monthly pet fees, breed restrictions, and the like.

When moving with a dog, it can also be helpful to board your dog on the day of the move. This way, he or she isn’t exposed to the stress of furniture being moved in and out. Instead, you can simply bring your dog over to your new place once everything is moved in. Going this route can also reduce stress on you.

And once you get moved into your new place, consider hiring a professional cleaning service to stay on top of all that dog hair! Maid Sailors offers a wide range of cleaning services, including routine cleaning and even deep-cleaning. We can help with keeping your floors and surfaces free of dog hair, as well as taking care of other messes dogs often create. Contact us today to set up your cleaning!


  • Cathy Kazmi

    I have been very disappointed with Boston’s dog policies. Dogs are not allowed in the outdoor seating at restaurants or at beer gardens. Dogs are even banned at many parks, even when they are on-leash. Let’s get some support with our local and state reps!

  • jack nelson

    Thanks for the post. Never been to Boston, and this information is important to me as I travel with my dog. I will be flying to Spain soon and found Cheap Business Class Flights Tickets to Ibiza great option for a business class trip with pets

  • Marc Harris

    Simply put Boston can be considered is dog friendly in outdoor public spaces only, with most beaches off limits in the summer season. With the exception of a hotel or two it is not the least bit friendly. The vast majority stores, restaurants with or without patio seating as well as pubs and taverns do not allow dogs

  • gnatikbratik

    Why just Boston?

  • Bob Rinklin

    Boston is NOT dog friendly. During Covid dogs were allowed with outside dining. Not anymore. Very restrictive at beached and parks. Seaport built some wonderful grass areas making the area much more appealing. NOT for dogs, more no dog signs allowed then the parking meters

  • geometry dash

    I love dogs and cats. These animals are close and have special feelings for humans. Especially dogs never abandon us.

  • roller baller

    It is not welcoming in any way, shape, or form, with the possible exception of one or two hotels. The great majority of retail establishment, dining establishment (with or without patio seating), and drinking establishment (pubs and taverns) do not permit dogs.

  • Amanda Woodson

    What a fantastic blog post! As a dog lover and a resident of Boston, I couldn’t agree more with the author’s insights on the city’s dog-friendliness. Boston truly is a haven for our furry friends, with its pet-friendly parks, establishments, and overall welcoming atmosphere for dogs.

    Reading about the different ways people express their love, I couldn’t help but think about the acts of service love language – for many of us, showing love to our pets is an extension of this language. Taking care of our beloved dogs, walking them in the beautiful parks of Boston, and providing them with all the affection they need – it’s all acts of service that demonstrate our love.

    Moreover, love, whether for our pets or the people in our lives, plays a significant role in healing our mental health. The companionship, joy, and unconditional love our furry friends bring into our lives have a positive impact on our well-being. They truly have the power to uplift our spirits and provide comfort during challenging times.

    I’m grateful for this insightful post that highlights Boston’s dog-friendly environment and reminds us of the different ways love can manifest. Love for animals is indeed a beautiful aspect of love, and it’s heartwarming to see how it contributes to our mental health and overall happiness. Cheers to our furry companions and to the healing power of love!

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