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dog owners guide to tucson

Tucson pup hiking on Mt. Lemmon, via Adobe

A thriving city with tons of opportunities for outdoor adventure, Tucson is a great place to explore with a canine companion. In addition to its mountainous desert landscape, it’s also one of the sunniest cities in the United States — a dream for hikers and naturalists. 

Tucson does have a leash law, meaning that all dogs must be leashed in public parks and public areas. But if you can play within those bounds, Tucson is your oyster. Enjoy fantastic Mexican-American cuisine, countless ways to experience nature, and a growing brewery scene — all with your furry companion. 

I have two blind dogs and the dog parks in Tucson and Marana are very open and full of grass despite being in the desert. There are many wonderful dog-centered events in town! Many of the restaurants and bars love to have doggy guests!

Shelbie S., Tucson resident

Planning the day with your dog

We understand wanting to enjoy the day with your dog, no matter where it takes you. Here are the best pup-approved coffee shops, cafes, breweries, patios, trails, and stores.

Where to stay with your dog

You’ve got options for dog-friendly stays in Tucson, whether you’re seeking a prime downtown location, a mountain view, or a short distance from the airport. Here are our top picks, along with their pet fees and restrictions.

Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain

The Ritz-Carlton at Dove Mountain lets guests bring up to two dogs (up to 80 lbs). They have a $150 pet fee for the stay, regardless of if you bring one dog or two. The hotel offers various doggy necessities if you forget anything, such as treats, bowls, beds, and toys.

Visit their site.

Doubletree Hotel Tucson-Reid Park

Gorgeous mountain scenery, convenient location, and reasonable pricing — hard to find a hotel with all three. Except this Doubletree that’s situated on 14 acres of landscaped gardens just 8 miles from the airport. The pet fee is $50 and the weight limit is capped at 35 pounds.

Visit their site.

Loews Ventana Canyon Resort

If you’re looking to relax and recharge in a mountain oasis, this is your spot. Hit the spa, play 18 holes on the golf course, enjoy two heated pools and much more at this luxury resort in North Tucson. The pet fee is $100, with a limit of two dogs per room.

Visit their site.

Where to get coffee with your dog

Step one of any great day starts with coffee. Whether you’re in the mood to relax for a bit or take your morning brew to go, these dog-friendly cafés have everything you need for your morning boost. 

Revolutionary Grounds

There’s something about browsing a shop while sipping a coffee that’s good for the soul. This eclectic store near the Garden District in East Tucson is part bookstore, part coffee shop. The patio out front is perfect for spending a slow morning with your pup.

Visit their site.

Hex Coffee

On the north side of Tucson along the Rillito River sits Ren Coffeehouse, an eatery offering much more than your standard-far brewed coffee and pastries. Grab a coffee, a sandwich, or even gelato, and head to the nearby Diamond Street Loop for a caffeinated walk with your furry bestie.

Visit their site.

5 Points Market & Restaurant

This outpost has everything you need to get your caffeine fix, and you can feel good doing it. With a mission centered on fair labor, 5 Points pays a living wage, provides health insurance, and prioritizes local & sustainable agriculture

Visit their site.

Other honorable mentions

Where to walk with your dog

Wherever you walk with your dog in Tucson, you’re almost guaranteed amazing views of nature. Just remember to bring water and sunscreen, and test the pavement for excessive heat — especially on paved asphalt. Here are our top walking trail picks. 

reid park tucson

Reid Park pond and fountain, via Adobe

Sweetwater Preserve

The Sweetwater Preserve is an 880+ acre preserve located in the eastern foothills of the Tucson Mountains of Southern Arizona, west of Tucson. While the trails are enjoyed by equestrians, hikers, dog walkers, and trail runners, it’s highly popular with mountain bikers, both local and visitors.

Visit their site.

Rillito River Park

This 12-mile trail runs along both sides of the Rillito River and is fully paved. It also has a parallel soft-surface path for joggers and plenty of bathrooms and water fountains along the route. The trail is part of a larger network of trails called The Chuck Huckleberry Loop.

Visit their site.

Gene C. Reid Park

Spanning 131 acres, this urban park in central Tucson has a lot to see and love, including a baseball stadium, an outdoor performance center, two ponds, public pools, and a 24-acre zoo along with playgrounds, gardens, and picnic areas.

Visit their site.

Where to play fetch with your dog

Off-leash playtime is important, and dog parks are a safe environment for it. Plus, they’re a great way to make new friends (human and canine). Tucson has options all over the city, most of which are free. 

🚨Dog parks are exceptions to Tucson’s leash law, which requires that all dogs must be leashed in public parks and public areas.

smiling dog park tucson

Smiling Dog Park, via Facebook

Miko’s Corner Playground Dog Park

Attached to the Reid Park Zoo, this dog park is worth a visit if you have a social pup. As one of the more popular dog parks, expect to see lots of other dogs and their owners. There are separate sections for large dogs and small dogs.

Visit their site.

Smiling Dog Ranch Dog Park

ear Rillito River Park in northeast Tucson, Smiling Dog Ranch is a community favorite. The huge space has lots to keep your pup happy when you’re finished playing fetch, including tunnels to run through, tennis balls, and shady spots to lay in.

Visit their site.

Anza Park

This 4.4-acre park just north of downtown Tucson is a designated leash-optional zone, making it a great place to burn some energy with a game of fetch.

Visit their site.

Where to eat lunch with your dog

As a pet parent, it pays to know a list of restaurants with pet-friendly patios in case you get hungry while out and about with your pup. Here are our top picks for several types of cuisine.

Ghini’s French Caffe

This French-inspired restaurant and cafe on the north side of the city is open every day from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. Don’t let the strip mall location fool you: It’s got 1,000+ glowing Google reviews and is a favorite among locals, especially pet owners who can enjoy lunch with Fido on the patio. 

Visit their site.

BOCA Tacos y Tequila

Located in the heart of downtown Tucson, Boca is perfect for when you’re craving a Mexican meal. Grab a seat on the pet-friendly patio and enjoy modern Mexican creations and a huge selection of craft beer.

Visit their site.

Vero Amore

If you’re over near the Garden District in East Tucson or leaving a hike along the Rillito River, stop in for a hot pizza at Vero Amore. The spacious patio is ideal for taking a load off while enjoying some modern Italian fare.

Visit their site.

Where to shop with your dog

These stores welcome well-behaved pups, so you don’t have to leave yours behind for any part of your day. Here are some of the best places to get your errands done with your furry partner in crime.

La Encantada outdoor shopping mall

Can’t decide between a day of retail therapy or a romp around the great outdoors? You can have both at La Encantada, an outdoor mall surrounded by stunning mountain scenery.

Visit their site.

Bookman's

This “entertainment exchange” has three locations around Tucson, so chances are you’re not far from one of them. Bring your old books, games, musical instruments, and even houseware to exchange for cash or store credit. While you wait, browse the store’s inventory of vintage goods.

Visit their site.

DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun

This art gallery and designated historic district spans a series of buildings in the northeast desert area of Tucson. Enjoy more than 15,000 original works of Southwestern artist Ted DeGrazia.

Visit their site.

Other honorable mentions

Where to enjoy the outdoors with your dog

Tucson’s stunning natural landscape makes it easy to enjoy nature throughout the city. These parks are perfect for a daytime escape into the great outdoors.

Sentinel Peak Park

Also known as “A” Mountain, this park has nearly 400 acres of scenic views. The Sentinel Peak hike is a 2.7 km loop that offers panoramic views of Tucson and the surrounding mountains.

Visit their site.

Mt. Lemmon

About 45 miles northeast of Tucson in the Santa Catalina Mountains is Mount Lemmon. It’s the highest point in the Santa Catalina Mountains, with a summit elevation of nearly 10,000 feet. It’s usually 20-30 degrees cooler than Tucson, so keep that in mind when planning your outfit. There are plenty of trails along the mountain, like the challenging 11-mile loop of Mount Lemmon Trail.

Visit their site.

Saguaro National Park

Named for the large saguaro cactus that’s native to the area, Saguaro National Park has two sections on either side of Tucson. In the west portion,  Signal Hill Trail leads to petroglyphs from the ancient Hohokam people. The eastern side has amazing views of the desert.

Visit their site.

Where to grab a drink with your dog

Tucson may be in the desert, but there are plenty of watering holes to choose from when you’re looking for a drink. Enjoy craft beer and great food at one of the many breweries in Tucson.

Barrio Brewing Co

In 2020, this local watering hole became Tucson’s first employee-owned brewery. It sits on the south side of downtown and has up to 12 house beers on tap at a time. With a rustic neighborhood feel, it’s the perfect place to drop in for a brew with your dog.

Visit their site.

Borderlands Brewing

If you like the industrial feel, this brewpub on the north side of downtown is your spot. Expect local beers brewed on-site, art exhibits, and live music amidst a tavern-like, cozy vibe.

Visit their site.

MotoSonora Brewing Co.

This desert oasis has a great patio your dog is sure to enjoy day or night, with picnic tables, a shaded area, and even a small turf area designated for pups.

Visit their site.

Other essentials for your dog

As much fun as breweries and restaurants are, keeping a roster of recommendations for more administrative tasks like grooming and veterinary care is key. Here are some of our top vet clinics, supply stores, daycares, and more.

Where to take your dog to the vet

When choosing a veterinarian to entrust with your dog’s health, you want a provider that has years of great service to put you at ease. Here are some of Tucson’s veterinarians that have stood the test of time.

vets in tucson

PAWS Veterinary Center, via Yelp

St. Mary’s Animal Clinic

Close to the downtown area, St. Mary’s Animal Clinic is a full-service veterinary hospital with a pharmacy, surgery suite, on-site x-ray capabilities, and a supervised recovery area. Nearing 50 years in business, St. Mary’s is one of the most trusted veterinary caregivers in Tucson.

Visit their site.

PAWS Veterinary Center

Serving Tucson for more than 15 years, PAWS is on the north side of the city and has hundreds of Google reviews praising it for its cleanliness and staff. PAWS offers the full spectrum of wellness care, plus rehabilitation services for injured pets.

Visit their site.

Guadalupe Veterinary Clinic

 If you’re on the south side of the city near the airport, Guadalupe is an excellent vet offering wellness care, surgery, and in-house lab work. They’ve been in business for over 10 years and have 400+ Google reviews singing their praises.

Visit their site.

Where to get your dog groomed

Every day is different for a dog owner, and that includes grooming needs. Sometimes, you need a head-to-paw scrubbing, and other times, you just need a quick rinse. Here are the best facilities in Tucson for all levels of grooming.

Velvet Bow Grooming East Side

Located on the east side of Tucson, Velvet Bow offers the whole nine yards of grooming services, from toenail trimming to flea and tick baths.

Visit their site.

Sissy's Pet Grooming Salon

This Tucson favorite in the north part of the city will leave your pup feeling pampered. Just check out their Facebook page to see bark-worthy before and afters.

Visit their site.

Bark Avenue Dog Wash

From gland expression to ear cleaning, Bark Avenue does every service your dog needs to feel their freshest. If you’d rather do the washing yourself, you can use one of their DIY bathing tubs.

Visit their site.

Where to find training for your dog

Choosing a dog trainer has a huge impact on the rest of your dog’s life. For that reason, you want to make sure you’re investing in a quality program that you can feel good about. Here are some of Tucson’s top dog trainers.

Ruff House Training

Whether you’re training the next Thanksgiving Day National Dog Show winner or simply trying to get the hang of walking on a leash, Ruff House has a program for your pup. Plus, they emphasize training you (the pup parent) as well, so that you can communicate better with your dog.

Visit their site.

Building Bonds Training

Building Bonds emphasizes positive reinforcement, so you can feel good about the program and know that your pup is having fun while learning. They have both private lessons and group classes to accommodate different budgets and goals.

Visit their site.

Dog Training Mobile

If you have a busy schedule and need the training to come to you, consider Dog Training Mobile. Built on a “leadership without force” philosophy, this home obedience training will have your dog following the rules happily.

Visit their site.

Other honorable mentions

Where to board your dog or find doggy daycare

If you find it hard to say goodbye to your pup, even for a weekend — you’re not alone. It’s a little easier when you know you’re leaving your dog in a clean, comfortable, fun environment.

Sabino Canyon Pet Resort

At this east Tucson oasis, all food, water, toys, and bedding are provided, and you can choose from indoor-only, indoor/outdoor, deluxe, and luxury suites. Rates start at $32 per night.

Visit their site.

At-Home Kennels

Serving Tucson for over 30 years, At-Home Kennels is truly a home away from home for pets. Their spacious kennels have doggie doors to provide easy access in and out to the large yard area at all times. They accept dogs of all sizes and breeds, and rates start at $22 per night.

Visit their site.

Dawg House

Pups who stay overnight at the Dawg House spend the day in the main playroom with doggie daycare guests from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., which you can watch on the doggie cam. At the end of the day, they go to bed in Great Dane-sized crates in the climate-controlled boarding room. Rates start at $40 per day.

Visit their site.

Other honorable mentions

Where to buy dog supplies

As a dog parent, you need to know the best places in town to grab supplies. These locally-owned pet shops have everything you need, from kibble to fresh-baked treats.

OK Feed & Supply

This family-owned pet supply store first opened its doors in Tucson nearly 100 years ago. Providing holistic and high-quality food is at the core of their mission, so you can expect independent, premium brands that the store owners have researched and approved. If you shop online and live locally, OK Feed offers free delivery.

Visit their site.

Rosie’s Barket

This adorable pup wash and boutique offers all kinds of edible treats from elaborate “pupcakes” to meal mixers. They also design collar charms in-house that make great gifts.

Visit their site.

Desert Pet

Don’t let the size fool you! At this small pet store on the southeast side of Tucson, you’ll find all kinds of pet products. In the canine department, expect food, leashes, toys, and more.

Visit their site.

Other honorable mentions

Experiencing Tucson as a dog owner

Tucson is a nature lover’s dream, offering tons of ways to enjoy some of the most unique flora and fauna in the country. That works out well for dog parents, who are free to explore one of the sunniest cities in the United States with a leashed Fido. 

We encourage you to try out the recommendations in this guide, talk to other Tucson pet parents, and don’t be afraid to try something new until you find the perfect match for you and your pup.

dog owner guide to tucson

Saguaro National Park, via Adobe