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Doggy rules: All you need to know about living in San Francisco with a dog

San Francisco has the reputation of being one of the most pet-friendly cities in the United States. It is actually true that there are more dogs than children in San Francisco. There are plenty of off-leash places for your canine friends to explore, as well as numerous pet-friendly establishments that are happy to serve you are your furry friend.

Here’s what you need to know to live in San Francisco with a dog.

Registration and vaccinations

In San Francisco, all dogs over the age of four months must be licensed. The dog license is valid for as long your dog’s rabies vaccine is valid. You can apply for a dog license that is valid from one to three years, depending on your dog’s rabies vaccination.

If you are a new resident in San Francisco, you have 30 days to register your dog and get a license. If you apply after 30 days, you may have to pay a late fee.

To apply for the registration, you will have to fill out a dog license application form and submit it with a copy of your dog’s vaccination certificate. The license fee is discounted for neutered or spayed dogs.

Make sure your dog has had all their mandatory vaccinations and that they are always current.

Public transport

In San Francisco, you can take your furry friend with you on public transport. Pets are allowed on the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and the San Francisco Municipal Railway (MUNI) during non-peak hours. All dogs on the BART must be in a dog crate. Dogs riding the MUNI must be leashed and muzzled or in a carrier.

Dogs are not allowed to sit on the seat in the MUNI and are required to be well-behaved. Each MUNI vehicle can take in only one dog at a time, and dog owners have to pay a far equal to their own for their pet.

Service dogs do not have the same restrictions; they can board the public transport at any time and do not need to be confined to their crate.

Finding pet-friendly housing

The sheer number of pets in San Francisco means that pet-friendly accommodation is easy to come by in the city. Some neighbourhoods are known to be more welcoming of pets than others. Look for dog-friendly localities that have dog parks, pet shops, vets and pet groomers nearby. This way, great help is always at hand, and your doggy has plenty of company to socialise.

Even if you find a house that allows pets, remember that the landlord still has the right to refuse your pet. Landlords in San Francisco have the right to impose conditions based on the species, breed and even weight of the pet. Landlords, however, cannot ask a tenant to declaw or devocalise their pet. It is a good idea to bring along recommendations from your previous landlords to help assuage any doubts the homeowner might have.

Pet-friendly restaurants and cafés in San Francisco

San Francisco is great for pets and has several pet-friendly establishments where you can grab a bite to eat or a drink all over the city. In the mood for some coffee and a sandwich? Visit these dog-friendly café’s where your pupper will be welcomed with a smile: Café Flor, Hops and Hominy, Super Duper, Zazie, and Zuni.

The city also has many pet-friendly bars where your furry pal can accompany you while you down a pint. Some of the bars that welcome pets are The Homestead, Holly Water, The Riptide, and Hemlock Tavern.

Dog parks and off-leash areas

San Francisco has plenty of dog parks all over the city with off-leash areas for your doggie to explore. Make sure your dog is leash-trained and vaccinated before bringing him or her to public spaces. Keep your dog in check and within sight at all times, especially if they are off-leash. Don’t forget to pick up after your pet.

Some dog parks with off-leash dog areas in San Francisco are the Upper Douglass dog park, Crissy Field, Golden Gate Park, Ocean Beach, Fort Funston, Alta Plaza Off-Leash dog park, and Mountain Lake Park.

Dog walking and pet sitting companies

The best thing about living in a dog-friendly city is you have access to many dog services to help you and your canine in your everyday life. San Francisco has numerous pet walking and pet sitting services. The San Francisco Animal Care and Control website has a list of approved dog walkers and pet sitters in the city.

Visit Rover.com or dogwalker.com for hundreds of vetted dog walkers and sitters in every locality of the city. Other popular dog walking and sitting services are Sniff and Go, Wag Walking, Blue Dog SF, The Urban Paw, Citizen Hound, and the Canine Companion.

Moving to San Francisco?

San Francisco has a lot to offer pets and pet parents alike; you and your doggie friend can explore the city, try out a new dog park every week, or participate in the many doggy-themed events around the town. If you are planning to fly to San Francisco with your pet dog, get in touch with Petraveller for more details on pet transport to the United States.