The Small Dog’s Guide to Flagstaff, Arizona

by Gigi Griffis

As you probably already know, since January 2nd, Luna and I have been living in a cute little house with a big back yard in Flagstaff, Arizona. By the time we pack our bags and take to the road again on May 1st, we’ll have been here nearly four months, which is quite a long stay by our standards.

Overall, it’s been a wonderful place to be and I’m so glad I decided to slow down and hang out in Flagstaff for so long, near my best friend and Sedona and the Grand Canyon.

The downside, unfortunately, is that the US still lags behind on dog-friendliness. The upside is that for a US city, Flagstaff does pretty well in that regard.

So, to specifics…

Dog-Friendly Places to Stay

Luna and I rented a room in our house via Craigslist. It was furnished, but I did have to buy sheets and pillows and a comforter, since it was a longer-term rental. The good news about Craigslist is that it runs quite a bit more affordable than short-term rental sites (usually) and plenty of people are open to a small non-shedding therapy dog.

The only other place we stayed was our hotel in Phoenix, where I had no trouble walking Luna around between reception and the room, but which sadly did not allow dogs in the breakfast area.

Cafes, Stores, & Other Public Spaces

In the US, the FDA technically does not allow dogs (or other live animals) to be in places where food is served. It’s an old and ridiculous law, but it means eating out with your dog is tricky. Luckily, Flagstaff does have a variety of places with outdoor patios that allow dogs and there are even a handful of brewpubs and coffee shops that fly in the face of that law with signs that say “dogs welcome,” outside.

Still, it’s tricky to find places you can take your dog. And if you’re here in the winter, that makes it tough to spend the day out with your dog in town.

The Grand Canyon & Local Hiking Trails

The other tricky thing about taking your fuzziest friend on USA adventures is that not all outdoor spaces allow dogs (something that would be almost unheard of in Europe). When it comes to hiking, it’s really important to check ahead of time and make sure the trails you want to hike allow animals. National Parks and reservations have some very specific regulations (dogs allowed on some trails and not others). For example, Luna was allowed to hike the trail along the south rim of the Grand Canyon, but dogs are not allowed on the trams (so you’ll need to hike back or have someone pick you up in a car) and they aren’t allowed on the trails leading into the canyon.

The point? Absolutely check with the appropriate authorities before you plan to take your dog with you into any of the US national parks and other trails.

A Great Flagstaff Vet

Obviously, one of the important things when traveling with a dog is having access to a vet just in case. We’ve been to several here and our favorite by a long shot is Aspen Veterinary Clinic. They’re hospitable and more affordable than the other vets in town and I just loved their staff.

On the other side of the coin, I absolutely do not recommend Canyon Pet Hospital. It’s the highest ranking place in the area, but my experience there was that the staff didn’t know what was going on and that the vets were more concerned with covering their asses legally than giving real advice.

Looking for more dog travel posts? Here they all are.

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