If you are one of the seven people in the Mile High City who don’t own a dog, chances are you’ll succumb soon enough. The Dumb Friends League—a local shelter that found homes for 5,656 dogs in 2015—adopts out more canines between July and October than any other time of year. (Why? Maybe because potty training during winter sounds awful.) While bringing home a new best friend is easy, raising Rex is a real responsibility. Start off on the right, uh, paw with this starter guide to caring for a dog in Denver.
Fetching Fashion: Collar trends seem to be measured in dog years. Bow tie? Pastel? Who can keep track? The Quick Release Collar ($35 to $39) from Bold Lead Design is crafted from durable leather, is easy to attach, and provides a dignified air—no matter what fad happens to be trending.
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Park Day, Every Day: Smaller than an acre, Railyard Dog Park in the Union Station neighborhood might not offer much in the way of wide-open spaces, but this spot, one of the city’s newest dog parks, affords apartment pups a place to run wild and leash-free downtown.
Weekend Romp: With 107 acres of room to roam, including 3.2 miles of trails, the Elk Meadow Dog Off-Leash Area near Evergreen is the only indulgence your dog really wants. The killer view of Mt. Evans? That’s for you. (Words of caution: The parking areas can get busy, so be sure to keep your dog tethered until you reach the off-leash zone. And bring plenty of water. Fido needs to stay hydrated.)
A Real Treat: Forget about Milk-Bones. Denver’s Smart Cookie Barkery tailors its treats ($10 per pack, online, in stores, or at the company’s food truck) to fit your dog. If your pet is active, order the Sports Dog variety, made of energy-replenishing beef and quinoa. The Survivor, on the other hand, boasts bunches of oats to help battle inflammation in your aging dog’s ailing joints.
Yappy Hour: You’ll get the staples—boarding, grooming, and daycare—at Lincoln Park’s Woof In Boots. The real fun starts later this fall, though, when a new on-leash rooftop patio begins serving local brews on rotating taps. Plus: Next summer, Woof In Boots will add a top-story leash-free water park.
Staycation: Don’t add dog delivery to your pre-vacation stressors (are you sure you locked the back door?). Gentle Hearts Pet Sitting sends specialists to your home for walks and feedings. They’ll stay the night if you want—and won’t raid the fridge.
Denver’s Most Popular Breeds
1: Labrador retriever
2: German shepherd
3: Golden retriever
5: French bulldog
Source: American Kennel Club, based on registrations with the organization