The City of Charlotte gets it.
Many consider their animals part of the family and in Charlotte, considerable efforts are made to treat dogs as such across the city.
From hotel accessibility to to dog parks that are off the chain—or just off-leash—to just pure pamper mode, pooches in the Queen City have much for which to be thankful.
Go for a (Dog) Run
To ensure city-dwelling canines have a chance to get out and properly stretch their legs, Mecklenburg County currently provides six fenced-in, off-the-leash parks for dogs of all shapes and sizes. All parks are free and open from 7:30 am until sunset daily. No children under the age of 12 are allowed inside fenced-in areas and all dogs must have tags indicating up-to-date vaccinations.
While—at 1.3 acres—Frazier Park isn't the largest dog run, it has public water access in both the separate areas for small and large dogs. Like Frazier Park, Davie Dog Park (William R. Davie District Park) and Swaney Pointe K-9 Park (Ramsey Creek Park) have dedicated sections for small and large dogs across its five and four acres, respectively, while Barkingham Park (Reedy Creek Park), Ray's Fetching Meadow (McAlpine Creek Community Park) and Shuffletown Park allow for intermingling.
Bark in the Park Top Dog
Each year since 2005, a top dog in Charlotte has been crowned; in 2017 a dog named Zero won the online photo contest, claiming the title and a year's supply of dog food.
Food and Drink Always Comes in Bowls
Worried about heading out the door for a night out or an afternoon or watching sports on the big screen and leaving your faithful friend behind? Don't be. According to Bring Fido—an online dog travel directory—there are 292 Charlotte establishments that allow dogs.
Choose from ramen at Futo Buta to 1,000 wines from across the world at The Wine Shop at Rivergate or maybe head to Triple C. Brewing Co. for a brew from one of its 20 taps; all with your four-legged companion in tow, enjoying water and/or treats in a bowl just for him.
For an annual membership fee of $10, The Dog Bar allows your pet to have the run of the place—indoors or out—making it a top spot year-round. Enjoy live music while noshing on delectable takeout from one of NoDa's nearby restaurants or sit back and relax while the dog expends energy.
Primp for a Night Out
If your doggie is getting red-carpet ready or just a basic tuneup, there are multiple places to turn, whether you go to them or they come to you.
Get away for an afternoon of shopping at SouthPark Mall and drop your dog off just minutes away at Whiskers Dog Spa. While awaiting their turn to get a spa bath or a full body groom, dogs relax in a cage-free environment. Luxury treatments are also on the menu including a hot oil wrap, with the oil applied and covered by a warm towel after a bath massage or nail painting, with new-look tootsies dipped in glitter.
One of the services that allows for pampering in your own driveway is Aussie Pet Mobile of Charlotte. After arriving on your doorstep, they begin a 15-step luxurious spa grooming service including a shampoo and brush/massage in a hydrobath and a trim of the paw pads. Go the extra mile and treat the dog to aloe remoisturizing treatments and a de-skunking among extras.
Where to Leave Your Dog in the Queen City
The decision about where to leave your dog for the day, overnight or for an extended stay is not to be taken lightly. Some of the top reviewed spots on Yelp include The Barker Lounge and Camp Bow Wow among a large group of listings.
The Barker Lounge offers daycare and boarding. One of the selling points of The Barker Lounge is they only kennel the dogs for meals and to sleep at night; the rest of the time is spent in indoor or outdoor play yards with dogs grouped together by size. Camp Bow Wow also proffers indoor and outdoor play yards before spending the night in a "individual cozy cabin." Owners can check on their dog at any time after logging into a live webcam.
To go a less traditional route, try Rover. Go online and match with a private individual who is ready and willing to look after your dog, providing a list of varied services including house sitting or dog walking. Rachel Peterson used the service (then DogVacay) in 2013, and was such a fan she began taking care of other people's dogs.
"It was the piece of mind I got when I tried it," said Peterson, who added she doesn't believe in kennels. "I wanted to give that experience to others."
Staying in Style
With 140 pet-friendly hotels in Charlotte, there are options for dogs large and small almost as soon upon deplaning at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. For travelers who don't want to stray too far, the Sheraton Charlotte Airport Hotel provides for dogs up to 80 pounds.
The Westin Charlotte, six miles from the airport, allows dogs up to 50 pounds and treats its visitors to a Westin Heavenly Dog Bed, a pet welcome kit and food bowls with mat.
Both Aloft hotels in Charlotte—Charlotte Uptown At The Epicentre and Aloft Charlotte Ballantyne—are representative of the chain's dedication to our furry friends—up to 40 pounds—across the country. With the Animals R Fun program, the free ARF swag bag includes a bowl, waste removal bags, toys and a signature bed.
"With more and more people traveling with their furry friends in tow, we wanted to go that extra mile and make the experience at an Aloft Hotel as special for the pet as it is for the owner, and it was out of this thinking that the ARF program was born," said Bridget Higgins, Aloft Hotels senior global brand director.
There is no one set policy for dogs with regard to weight, nonrefundable fees and the like, so be sure to check individual hotel restrictions before checking in.
Airbnb is another option with houses like the Magnolia Bee Home in Elizabeth, close to NoDa, Dilworth and Myers Park, or Historic Haven, a historic 1926 private condo in Dilworth with a fenced-in backyard, perfect for dogs.