The Dog Owner’s Guide to San Francisco

|September 13, 2017

San Francisco is famously a dog-friendly city. If you haven’t lived in the city limits, this may surprise you because it’s also the most densely populated city in the country. So where do our dogs go in such an urban environment? Well, that’s an easy question to answer.

Our city is stocked with local dog food stores for nutrition, an incredible number of off-leash dog parks, daycares, professional dog walkers and even world-class dog trainers. To help keep your dog happy in the city, we put together a guide that is sure to get their tails wagging.

And remember, if you don’t see your go-to dog-friendly destination on our round-up, share it in the comments below!

Jump ahead:

Food, Toy + Supply Shops | Off-leash Dog Parks | Dog Walkers | Dog-friendly Restaurants | Groomers + Self-Wash Stations | Daycare | Pet Sitting + Boarding | Veterinary Hospitals | Training Services

Food, Toy + Supply Shops

Here in San Francisco, we have access to some of the best local pet stores and the highest-quality nutritious, natural and raw foods in the country. With proper nutrition, your dog can be happier, healthier and even live longer! So check out a few of our favorites then share yours in the comments.

Jeffrey's Natural Pet Foods San Francisco California

Photo courtesy of Jeffrey’s Natural Pet Foods

Jeffrey’s Natural Pet Foods

Jeffrey’s has two locations in San Francisco: Duboce Park and North Beach. As the premier source of natural pet foods, healthy treats, locally produced goods and supplies in the Bay Area, it’s a must-visit if you’re not already a regular. Inside, you’ll find information and products for raw feeding and you can learn why it’s the best way to feed your pups! To attend special events, training and puppy socials, check out the website.

San Francisco Raw

Founded in 2003, SFRAW is the largest resource in California for people that feed their pets fresh food. With a focus on local, pastured, grass-finished and organic producers, SFRAW has every animal’s best interest at heart — from the SFRAW Apothecary line to ingredients for DIY dog food cooking. Learn more about their diet philosophy online.

Bernal Beast

Whether you’re shopping in-store or online, you’ll find Bernal Heights’ best natural, raw, organic pet foods and pet supplies at Bernal Beast. The independently owned store has a staff of friendly, knowledgeable pet-lovers who will make sure your dog has the best he can get!

Pawtrero BathHouse & Feed Co.

When owners Shireen and Suzie met, both of their dogs were having dietary health issues, so they began extensive research on more biologically appropriate foods without chemicals, by-products and unnecessary fillers. The results of their dogs’ dietary changes were phenomenal and they wanted to share these benefits with the community. Stop by in Potrero Hill or South Beach and shop local nutrition for your pet!

Pet Food Express

Today, Pet Food Express has 63 stores throughout the state, but their headquarters is still right where they began — Oakland, California. Inside, you’ll find the highest quality pet foods and supplies, a knowledgeable staff, a self-serve dog wash and much more. Find your nearest store here.

Off-leash Dog Parks

Check out the new National Parks Service maps for on-leash and off-leash dog areas in San Francisco. Please note a few of the city’s favorite dog-friendly spaces have changed, but you’ll still find beaches and fields to let your dog roam free as well as many NPS trails where you and your dog can hike on-leash! Or, for the full list of specially designed parks run by the city, click here.

Below, we’ve put together an interactive map with all of these parks and beaches, then highlighted a few of our favorites.

Alta Plaza

Alta Plaza Park is run by San Francisco Recreation and Parks. Set atop a hill in the Pacific Heights neighborhood, the setting offers 360-degree views of the Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge so you can see the sights while your dog plays. Dogs can roam free on the sloped grass or paved pathways in the southeast corner of this four-block park. On-leash, they can accompany their owners past the children’s playground, tennis courts and through to Scott Street.

Ocean Beach

This dog-friendly beach has been a favorite for San Francisco dog owners for decades. Due to changes in the SF Parks guidelines, the boundaries have shifted a bit. From Stairwell one on the north end to Stairwell 21, dogs are allowed to roam free along the beach. Outside of this area, dogs are not allowed and should be on-leash along the Coastal Trail.

Duboce Park

Home to DogFest and right across the street from one of our favorite dog-friendly cafes, this park is a hotspot for SF dogs and their owners. The park features both an off-leash dog area and on-leash dog areas and is known for the social scene among parents, dog owners and other park visitors

Upper Noe

This friendly, neighborhood dog play area was renovated in 2008 and renamed Joby’s Run in honor of a neighbor who was an active advocate for the area’s dogs. The flat, open play space features two long alleys for going after balls, frisbees and other dog friends.

Dog Walkers

Professional dog walkers make living in the city easy for busy dog owners. With options for friendly dogs, shy dogs and even beach-loving dogs, these local experts can ensure your pup gets the exercise he needs every day!

Citizen Hound Dog Walkers in San Francisco

Photo courtesy of Citizen Hound and Natalie Clark

Citizen Hound

Voted the Best Dog Walker in SF by Bay Woof Magazine and ranked in the top five by the Bay Area A-List five years in a row, Citizen Hound offers dog walking, training and pet sitting services. Get the details online and schedule your pup’s first walk! The team serves the Marina, Cow Hollow, Pac Heights, Lower Pac Heights, Presidio Heights and Russian Hill neighborhoods.


Sniff San Francisco is a four-person dog walking, training and boarding team. With a human to dog ratio of 1:4, their personalized care is based on engagement with both the dogs and the parents. Follow Sniff on Facebook to see their daily videos of your dog’s adventures!

Top Dog SF

More than just dog walkers, Top Dog SF is a team of dog behavior geeks who can train your pups while they’re exploring and exercising. They offer neighborhood group walks in SoMa, Downtown and Mission Bay as well as off-leash group hikes and beach excursions in select areas of San Francisco.

Sniff and Go

Through mobile barcode technology, email alerts, GPS tracking and online tools, Sniff and Go allows you to follow along with your dog and dog walker every step of the way! Whether you have a timid pup who needs a private stroll or a boisterous dog who can thrive in a group, you’ll find the perfect fit with Sniff and Go.

Blue Dog

All walks with Blue Dog are on-leash and in small packs of three or fewer dogs so you can rest assured your pup gets individualized treatment. With PetCheck and real-time email alerts, you’ll know when your dog leaves the house, where they go and when they return. Learn more about their service area, pricing and schedule your meet and greet!

Dog-friendly Restaurants

Living in San Francisco has already given us access to some of the best restaurants in the country. And when your four-legged friends are invited, these spots get even better! If we missed your favorite dog-friendly restaurant or bar, share it in the comments.


Zazie was opened in Cole Valley in 1992 and has since become a neighborhood staple. Pups are always allowed to join you at the four heated tables out front but on Monday nights, dinner at Zazie goes to the dogs! Bring your four-legged friend to dine with you on the heated, covered garden patio, so he can meet and play with other Cole Valley dogs. You’ll get $10 off any bottle of wine on the list, and your pup will get treats too. 

Park Chalet

Park Chalet has a famous lawn at their coastal beer garden and dogs are always invited! While you eat from a menu of delectable and upscale pub classics, your pup can romp and play with everyone else.

Duboce Park Cafe

Right across the street from Duboce off-leash park, you’ll find this charming dog-friendly cafe. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, you can play in the park then head over for a few treats! Check out their other locations in Dolores Park and Precita Park too.

Holy Water

Inside this beautiful bar Bernal Heights bar, you may run into a dog or two. Four-legged friends are allowed inside and at the bar! Check out their lineup of impressive cocktails and get ready for a new favorite destination in the city.

El Rio

Famous for ping pong, two lazy cats and plenty of ping pong playing dogs, El Rio is always a fun, party destination for adults 21 years of age and older. The neighborhood bar has a spacious garden patio complete with games, shaded seating and plenty of options to keep you hydrated!

Groomers + Self-Wash Stations

After dog park adventures and beach outings, your happy pup is going to need a bath (or two). You’ll find self-wash stations at VIP Scrub Club, Pawtrero BathHouse & Feed Co. and Green Pawz or you can schedule a full-service grooming appointment at one of our picks below.

Dog Groomers San Francisco

VIP Scrub Club

Whether you want to wash your own dog or you want it done by a professional, you can get outstanding service and amenities at VIP Scrub Club in Noe Valley. On a first come first serve basis, the self-wash tubs come with access to high-quality shampoos and tools. And, you can enjoy complimentary coffee and free doggie treats while your dog dries off!

Green Pawz

The Green Pawz team takes great pride in sourcing the most environmentally friendly pet toys, tools and foods on the market. With no synthetic fragrances, no harsh chemicals and no irritating sulfites, their grooming services are available in Cole Valley and Inner Richmond and cater to every breed, size and shape of your pup!

Bow Wow Meow

Bow Wow Meow has three locations in the Bay Area and each one offers a full range of products and services — from dog food to teeth cleaning and even training. Their grooming service includes bath, brush, haircut, blow-dry, nail trim, anal glands expressed and ear cleaning with optional add-ons or a la carte options. Get more details on the website.

Little Ark Dog Grooming

Little Ark Dog Grooming is a full-service dog grooming shop in San Francisco and a 2016 Top 3 Winner and #1 in San Francisco in the Bay Area A-List 2016. In addition to a quiet rest area, this shop has an open-air play space where your dog can play with friends in between stages of grooming. Get more details on Little Ark and their services here.


Daycare is an excellent way for busy dog parents to make sure their dogs are socialized, exercised and tired by the end of the day. Our choices below offer long walks, overnights and more. Learn all about them here, peruse the websites and find your pup’s perfect fit.

The Pawington

Every dog gets free doggie daycare on their first visit to The Pawington! Inside, you’ll find a huge facility complete with a pond for swimming and outdoor access, dog-friendly playground equipment, playgroups based on pet size, temperament and play style and you can watch it all on live webcams!


Dogwalks offers dog walking, dog boarding, dog daycare and specialized puppy daycare. We especially love the small group atmosphere of daycare because dogs get to hang out and play in the owner’s home, a comfortable and quiet setting. Offering daily group walks and included pick up and drop off, this is the perfect option for busy pet parents! See their service area and find more details here.

High Tail Hotel

At High Tail Hotel, they provide all natural toys and treats while your dogs play and are never confined in cages. Daycare dogs also enjoy all-day play in the 2000 square foot indoor dog park, two leashed walks per day and free use of the facility. Because the daycare is so popular, reservations are required so get more details and contact info on the website!  

PlayBow Dog Day Care

All Canine Specialists at PlayBow undergo extensive learning and training for dog safety in an off-leash environment so you can be sure your dog will have fun and be safe all day. With two separate playrooms — one for small dogs, and one for larger dogs — this will quickly become your dog’s favorite vacation destination. In addition to daycare, they offer sleepovers, dog running and even basic bathing for daycare guests!

Pet Sitting + Boarding

Inevitably, we’ll all have to leave our pets for a night or even for a week. Pet sitting and boarding services can make the week smooth, easy and fun for both you and your dog. Whether you opt for an in-home service or an out-of-home vacation, these nearby choices have great reviews and amazing teams of dog-lovers!

City Pups SF Dog Walkers in San Francisco

Photo courtesy of City Pups

Wag Hotels

Wag Hotels was founded in 2005 by pet lovers who couldn’t find a suitable place to leave their pets during busy days and business trips. Since opening their first location in Sacramento, they’ve expanded to San Francisco, Redwood City, Oakland and Santa Clara. Boarding options include private rooms, deluxe suites, ultra suites and even kitty condos. Guests also have access to daycare, grooming and board and train services!

City Pups

City Pups SF is a dog walking, training and pet sitting company and has been catering to busy dog parents in San Francisco since 2011. We love their pet sitting services because they take place in the comfort of your home. Avoid a potentially stressful environment that includes an in-home interview before you leave and periodic updates while you’re gone!

Happy Tramps

To keep your pets’ routines consistent even while you’re gone, Happy Tramps provides in-home pet sitting services (in addition to other fun services!). Dogs with overnight services will have a morning and evening outing as well as a long walk in the middle of the day. Or, you can opt for Drop-in Service with a dog-walker who will walk, feed and play with your pet while you are away.

Mr. Muggles Dogs

Mr. Muggles has been working in the San Francisco dog industry for years. Beginning with a dog walking, pet sitting and doggie daycare business out of the owners’ own home, they now have a custom-designed facility for exploring, playing and all-day fun. Pet boarding is all of that with a snuggly sleepover inside a private room!

Veterinary Hospitals

We’re blessed in the city with an abundance of mobile veterinarians and full-service hospitals. If we missed your go-to, share it with us in the comments.  


Fuzzy brings personalized veterinary care to the comfort of your home. Serving San Francisco, the Peninsula, San Jose, the East Bay and Southern Marin, their membership plans ensure your pet always has access to the best checkups, nutrition, vaccines, medications and more. Meet the team online and schedule your first visit!

The San Francisco SPCA

As an affordable option in the heart of the city, the SF SPCA is one of the best-reviewed hospitals in the city. With locations in the Mission and Pacific Heights, their team is knowledgeable, caring and attentive to every new and old patient. While you’re there, you can even adopt a new family member!

Medrano Veterinary Inc.

The team at Medrano has over 20 years of combined experience in pet service and care. Their mobile services are done in-house and can include diagnostics, ear cleaning and nail trimming, unlimited Q&A and follow-up communications. Check out the website to email or text the team!

Irving Pet Hospital

Irving Pet Hospital in Inner Sunset offers preventative care for dogs and cats, diagnostics, emergency services, dental care and surgery. From first-time puppy wellness exams to senior surgery and dental care, their doctors, staff and facility make the hospital one of the best in the city.

Training Services

Training is an important service for every dog and dog owner no matter the age, breed or manners. Through classes, in-home training and board and train services you can better understand how your dog BFF thinks and, ultimately, live better together. Check out a few of the best-reviewed trainers in the city below!

Koru K9 Dog Training San Francisco and Denver

Photo courtesy of Koru K9

Koru K9

Koru K9 began right here in the Bay Area and has become one of the region’s top options for every dog and every problem. Obedience training, advanced training, off-leash training, behavior modification, dog and leash reactivity and aggressive dog training — they have experience in everything. Along the way, you’ll learn as much as your dog with in-home services, plenty of homework and individualized service. Read more about their story, their trainers and their philosophy online; join their community on Facebook, and contact owners Bridget and Ray Murphy to get started.

SF Puppy Prep

SF Puppy Prep is a great option in the Bay Area for new puppies and their owners. Since 2004, they’ve been offering classes to teach manners and obedience in addition to puppy socials, private training and specialized puppy daycare. After 11 years in the industry, they’ve accumulated quality experiences in young dog problems and training. Find out why you should choose SF Puppy Prep and how they’re different here.

The Pooch Coach

As one of the Bay Area’s best and most highly recommended private trainers for over 15 years, The Pooch Coach’s motto is “Any Dog. Any Problem.” Often featured on TV for her canine expertise, Beverly, “The Pooch Coach’, specializes in aggression, fear and anxiety in dogs. She can also help with puppy training, housebreaking, basic dog obedience, advanced dog obedience, AKC Canine Good Citizen Test and help with dog training for specific milder issues such as barking, pulling, or jumping.

Refined K-9

Refined K9 San Francisco Dog Trainers

Photo courtesy of Refined K-9

The team at Refined K-9 knows how stressful it can be to live with behavioral problems — for both you and your dog. By helping you to engage with your pup and better understand how they think, the team uses a balanced method of both reward and correction. With extensive experience in aggression cases, severe recall situations and separation anxiety, they’re one of the best options in the city to solve moderate to severe behavioral problems.

Happy tails  

Let us know where you and your dog like to go in the city — for baths, playtime, training and more!  


Category Community Guides, San Francisco

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McGuire Real Estate

McGuire Real Estate

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