Dog owners may find Davis to be a welcoming yet sometimes frustrating place as the city tries to mediate the needs of dog owners with the desires of other community members. Over the past decade this has elicited volatile (some say "lively") debate at City Council meetings and in letters to The Davis Enterprise. Newcomers to Davis should be aware that heartworm and fleas are problems in the area, and most dogs are on some sort of preventative medication; foxtails and filaree are other fairly frequent problems for dogs that enjoy running through open fields. This page is intended to provide a home for dog owners and those who simply want to enjoy other people's dogs on occasion. And please be kind to others... pick up after your pooch.

A Dog

Davis Dog Community

See the Davis Dog Owners' Group (DDOG) which maintains a list server for DDOG updates.

Also see the Pit Bull entry for the specific issues for the breed, primarily perception by the public.

The Past

The "City of Davis Parks & Community Services Department" developed a dog park on the west-most portion of the property known as Toad Hollow (Core Area Pond) on 2nd Street. The development of this area in spring 2005 came only after extensive community discussion and debate beginning as early as 1996, pitting local environmentalists, soccer parents and some relatives of deceased Davisites against local dog owners. Additional recommendations arising from this process include revision of the Parks & Recreation Facilities master plan to include dog parks and dog run areas, exploration of Grasslands Park as a possible site for a dog park, and investigation of potential development of the old city landfill site near Pole Line Road & Covell for a variety of park functions, including use as a dog park.

In September 2003 the Recreation & Park Commission unanimously voted to update the Parks & Recreation Facilities master plan to include: standards for dog run areas, standards for dog parks, proposed locations for dog parks and proposed locations for new dog run areas.

In August 2011, DDOG member Susan Bennett and her dog Ellie Mae were chosen as one team of 15 finalists in the Beneful Dream Dog Park Contest. The grand prize winner of this contest will win $500,000 toward developing their dream dog park. In this case, Sue and Ellie Mae want to put the money toward developing the 35 acre Bark Park at Grasslands Park on Mace Blvd., three miles south of Davis. They have made it to Round 2 of the contest, the community was encouraged to register and vote daily until September 8 (link broken). The public vote counts for 10 percent of the final score. The Beneful Dream Team will also judge the finalist entries, representing 90 percent of the final score to help select the grand prize winner. We need(ed) your votes!

The Future

In December 2003 the Davis City Council unanimously agreed to work with Yolo County on jointly developing a dog park at the county's Grasslands Park on Mace Blvd., three miles south of Davis. This agreement was in exchange for 33 acres acquired by the City of Davis as habitat mitigation for Mace Ranch — they pledged to provide parity for the estimated loss of land value by providing, among other things, $45,000-$50,000 for a 35 acre Bark Park at the southwest corner of park. Included in this pledge by the city was provision for perimeter chain link fencing, entrance gates, a ten-vehicle parking lot and water access. Additional Bark Park funding has already been provided through Proposition 12 and work was expected to begin by spring 2005.

A master plan for Toad Hollow Dog Park has been developed with community input [summer 2006] and will be presented to the City Council for approval; additional information and updates can be found on the Toad Hollow Dog Park page.

Off-leash Dog Parks/Runs

Toad Hollow Dog Park, though closed during the rainy season, is a popular gathering spot for Davis dogs & owners. Note: dog runs are areas within existing city parks that are fenced and less than half an acre

Leash Areas

Most parts of Davis and UC Davis outside designated off-leash areas are open to dog walkers, as long as your pet is on leash. However, some are nicer than others if you're looking for a pleasant place to stroll with your dog.

Dog-Friendly Businesses

Dog Friendly Businesses that allow dogs indoors (or other dog-friendly events)

  • APEX Cycles welcomes well behaved dogs regardless of size, usually there is a water bowl outside the shop area

  • Avid Reader

  • Dixon Scottish Games & Gathering welcomes well-mannered dogs to participate in this annual event

  • Newsbeat - Well-behaved dogs are welcome to visit this establishment and may pick up a cookie from the front desk; the owners, Janice & Terrence, are a great source of information about local dog politics

  • Pet Food Express - Dogs are welcome inside and they have self-serve baths.

  • Petco - Dogs are welcome to pick out their own treats. Beware the chocolate at dog-nose height at the checkout counters.

  • SPCA Thrift Store

Restaurants with full wait service

From According to Susan Strong, a representative of the California Department of Health Services (CDHS), Food and Drug Branch, "(pet) dogs are allowed throughout California at any outdoor dining areas unless they have to walk through the inside of a restaurant to get to the outdoor seats." It does not matter if food is served outside or taken out by the customer, or if the seats are located on a patio, sidewalk, or in a fenced area as long as there is access through an outside gate or opening. The California law is set by statute which was last updated in 1986. In addition, the California statute forbids counties or cities from making these codes stricter. Of course, it is still the prerogative of a restaurant owner to choose whether or not to allow dogs in their outdoor seating area, but the choice lies with the owner, not the city or county. Notwithstanding the state law, even in California, restaurants will sometimes cite local health codes in not allowing dogs at their outdoor seating areas. In some cases, the restaurant owner may be trying to shift the "blame" so that customers with dogs in tow will not be upset with the restaurant. In other cases, the local health inspector may be misapplying the interpretation of the California statute.

Most places with outdoor seating tend to allow patrons to sit with or near to their dogs. This is a list of places that welcome pedestrian-friendly dogs to share their outdoor seating with their owners.

Dog Friendly Lodging

Motels & Short Term Accommodations

  • Best Western University Lodge (Dogs of all sizes allowed; no additional fees. Only non-smoking rooms available for pets. Please notify management when making reservation.)

  • Econo Lodge

  • La Quinta (All sizes, no fee. Please sign pet agreement at check in. Easy rules like keeping on a leash and staying out of food and pool area.)

  • Motel 6 (One well-behaved pet per room. Please notify front desk upon arrival. Guest is liable for any damages and pets must never be left unattended.)

  • University Park Inn and Suites (One pet room available; $10 per day pet fee.)


To help convince hesitant landlords to let you keep your dog (especially if you own Pit Bulls or pit mixes), consider completing the AKC Canine Good Citizen program and show your certificate as proof of good manners. In Davis, Louise Wilson is an AKC evaluator.

Many apartment complexes in Davis allow you to keep one dog when accompanied by a hefty deposit — please verify deposits and stipulations on individual pages. To quickly see the locations of these apartments, see this Google map . Assistance animals as described under the FHA do not follow these guidelines.

Jobs for Dogs

The 2007-07-21 episode of Animal Rescue featured this letter from a Davis resident

  • Eyes for Others: Puppy raisers for Guide Dogs for the Blind
  • PHUR Program Pets Helping Us Recover is a volunteer pet therapy program operating out of UCDMC
  • Vet Med Teaching Hospital's Companion Animal Behavior Program is soliciting survey responses in a study to determine why dogs eat plants.
  • Vet Med Teaching Hospital's Canine Genetics Unit was soliciting DNA samples to create a "comprehensive genetic repository that represents all of 'dogdom'." (Solicitation not found, January 2014.) They currently have about 100 breeds represented, and will provide a free postage-paid sample collection kit for those breeds not yet represented.
  • The UC Davis Veterinary Blood Bank is always seeking dogs over 55 pounds (as well as other animals) to donate blood. As "payment", dog owners receive results of various disease/condition screenings, and each dog receives a goody bag of treats. Check out this UCD News bulletin for more info.

Hikes & Romps Outside Davis

This is why some of us have dogs! Morgan Territory offers acres of leash-free heaven. Most national and state parks either do not allow dogs or restrict them to leashes in campgrounds. Despite the best efforts of the Sierra Club there are, however, some exceptions including beautiful hikes within a couple hours of Davis. As a general rule of thumb, both the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service better serve the needs of dog-owning visitors than park services. Another good source of information is's California Dog Travel Guide, which lists places to hike with your dog as well as places to stay, etc. (The Lake Tahoe section of the guide is particularly detailed).

This section lists some regional areas where you can hike with your dog, but please be sure to find out specific regulations... some restrictions apply, especially when local water sources are located within the area. Poison oak can be ubiquitous in lower elevations of California, and though your dog may not end up itching s/he can easily transfer the oils to you. You can help encourage the inclusion of dogs in our parks by ensuring that your puppy is well-mannered and packs out his poop.

Dogs are part of the suborder Caniformia (along with bears, sea lions and many others). So enjoy your Californian Caniformian.


Dog Parks

  • Granite Regional Park [Ramona Avenue off Power Inn Road] is a 2 acre City of Sacramento dog park open daily 5am-10pm.
  • Natomas Dog Park or Bannon Creek Park [Azevedo Drive near the corner of West El Camino Ave.] in Sacramento is a .6 acre City of Sacramento gated dog park
  • Partner Park [5699 South Land Park Dr., 277-6060] was the City of Sacramento's first dog park and is 2 acres large! Named for a canine officer killed in the line of duty, it is open 5am-10pm and is located within Cooledge Park at the intersection of Fruitridge Road and Land Park Drive.
  • Point Isabel Dog Park in Richmond is the largest off leash dog park in the nation and includes hiking trails as well as access to the bay


Adoption Organizations

Health Care

See Veterinary Hospitals for a list of vets in the area, and Food Poisoning covers dog food as well as people food.

Note: If you've just adopted a mixed breed puppy/dog and it as yet has no papers from any agency identifying the breed, you may want to consider "registering" it by the least problematic breed in its genes, e.g. if you have a Pit Bull-sharpei mix, you might just want to register it as a sharpei mix at your first vet visit. That way, if you need to get insurance or a rental lease, you're less likely to be discriminated against based upon your dog's breed. Veterinarians today electronically register all dogs with the county once they've been vaccinated against rabies. Letting your vet know how you'd like your dog's breed identified can save you much grief down the road.

Vaccination/Spay Clinics

Yolo County does not offer low cost spay/neuter clinics to the general public, but Sacramento SPCA may be willing to extend its low cost spay/neuter services to Yolo County residents depending upon current demand from their constituency. If you have a Pit Bull or Pit-mix there is a free spay/neuter program (this is also offered in other counties). For a recording of current Sacramento area low cost spay/neuter clinics, contact Sacramento Area Animal Coalition [916.808.SPAY].

  • Home Pet Care in Davis offers low cost cat spays/neutering at $40-$45 [735 H Street, 530.753.1763]
  • Mercer Veterinary Clinic for the Homeless is a monthly clinic and offers both vaccinations and spay/neuters for animal companions of the homeless
  • Petco offers vaccination clinics every Sunday from 10am-11:30am — bring prior vaccination records
  • Spay Day is an annual event where families or individuals earning less than $35,000 per year are eligible to have up to two pets (cats and dogs only) spayed or neutered at participating veterinary clinics. For $15 per cat and $20 per dog, each animal will receive about $250 worth of services.
  • SAAC Spay/Neuter Voucher Program offers $15 spay/neuters for dogs to Sacramento and Yolo County residents showing proof of annual income below $35,000 [916.808.SPAY [email protected]]
  • Vet Med Teaching Hospital participates in Spay Day, which offers low-cost procedures annually in February and is restricted to low-income households
  • Yolo County SPCA and Yolo County Animal Shelter offer low-cost procedures to shelter/SPCA adoptees

Kennels/Pet Sitting

See also Pet Sitting A shar-pei... long after the cuteness has worn off


See also Pet Grooming

Dog Portraits



See also Pet Stores

Training & Behavior

See also: Dog Trainers Refer also to Dog Training obey the sign The Vet Med Teaching Hospital's Clinical Animal Behavior Service has handouts and other information on behavior problems in pets This website has lots of free dog clicker training articles to teach you how to clicker train your dog.

Pet Loss Support/Cremation/Burials

Davis has no pet cemetery, so those with larger dogs may wish to have their pet buried in a nearby memorial park.

Pet Waste Disposal

Recommended Reading

  • Dog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook by Delbert G. Carlson & James M. Giffin

    This is the only first aid book you'll probably ever need for your dog. While it definitely doesn't replace an emergency visit to the vet, it will get you to the point where you can decide if something is life-threatening or not. It's also an exceptionally easy to read book despite its thickness and content. Should you pick up this book, and can remember only one thing, learn how to identify when your dog is going into shock and how to treat until you can get emergency care. Somebody needs to write something this complete and concise for humans! —AlphaDog

  • How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend and The Art of Raising a Puppy, both by The Monks of New Skete

    The Monks of New Skete support their community by raising German shepherds and by training dogs — they've been at it for over thirty years and their training methods are praised in many dog circles.

    I've used the New Skete methods on my dogs and while I can't say they were 'perfect,' they were typically commended on their manners and were exceptionally trustworthy unless they'd eaten old chicken eggs they'd found in the yard. —AlphaDog

  • ASPCA Poison Control Center provides information on substances that can be toxic to your pet, including ornamental plants, critters, pesticides, meds and even toilet bowl water! After reading this site, you'll almost definitely want to pick up the Dog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook reviewed above.
  • Dog Training and Behavior Library has some great articles and other resources on dog and puppy training.
  • Unraveling Animal Behavior by Marian Stamp Dawkins (ISBN 0-470-23428-8) This is an excellent primer on animal behavior. Everyone interested in comparative behavior should read it.
  • Training Resources - American Kennel Club & How to Stop a Dog Fight by Shepard Haven