As Seattle’s population has boomed in recent years, so, too, have dog-friendly places.

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Whether spending the day at a local restaurant, going for a walk in the park or heading to work on the bus, you’ve probably noticed that Seattleites love taking our dogs everywhere.

So why is the city so dog friendly? Robert Pregulman, founder of Seattle DogSpot, says it’s probably because there are more dogs in the city than children. He’s right. According to U.S. Census data from 2011, there are about 153,000 dogs in the city, compared to 107,178 kids. “Dogs have filled this void as Seattleites have fewer kids,” says Pregulman. “As a result, Seattle businesses adapted to this by becoming more dog friendly, allowing dogs in their shops, having dog-friendly patios, or allowing employees to bring dogs to work.”

As Seattle’s population has boomed in recent years, so, too, have dog-friendly places. You can count the city’s largest employer on that list. Amazon boasts 6,000 dogs come to campus with their owners for work each day.

Dog etiquette

Whether you’re new to town or a new pup parent, there’s plenty to learn about successfully getting around town with your dog in tow. Pregulman suggests a few basic guidelines when it comes to being a successful dog owner in Seattle. First, make sure to license your dog at the Seattle Animal Shelter. Second, always keep your dog on a leash when you’re out in public unless you’re in a designated off-leash area. Third, make sure you ask ahead of time whether a business is dog friendly before heading in with your dog.

At restaurants

If you do decide to bring Fido along to brunch or out for a light meal with your friends, make sure you know what you’re getting into. Pregulman says the most important thing to keep in mind when bringing dogs to restaurants or cafés is to only bring well-behaved dogs that will lie quietly at your feet while you’re out. “You should always leave dogs at home if they will try to play with you or other dogs, try to steal food off your table, get in the way of servers, or do anything that annoys other customers, dogs or employees.”

Sticking to this etiquette is for the good of keeping so many businesses open to dogs, according to Pregulman. “Business owners will be more likely to stop allowing dogs if they disrupt service and bother other customers, especially those that don’t have dogs. And business owners that don’t allow dogs will never change their policy if they see dogs causing chaos in other establishments.”

On the bus

You can bring your dog to brunch, the coffee shop and maybe even to work, but how do you get there? The bus, of course. According to Metro Transit, dogs are allowed on board, at the discretion of the bus operator. Know ahead of time that, like at a restaurant, dogs should be able to sit quietly, be on a leash and either take a place on the floor or, if they’re small enough, on their owner’s lap. Lap dogs ride for free, but for larger dogs, be ready to pay full fare.

Just be aware that drivers can refuse to let you board with a dog at their own discretion for a variety of reasons – such as if there’s a concern for the safety or comfort of your fellow passengers, or even if they already have one dog on board. And no, technically your dog can’t have its own seat.

Seattle’s most dog-friendly spots

While it may seem like dogs are allowed everywhere you go in Seattle, there are some places that are especially friendly toward the canine crowd. Pregulman says he’s particularly fond of Norm’s Alehouse and Eatery in Fremont. “Norm’s has the unofficial title of dog-friendliest restaurant in Seattle,” he says. “Norm’s has allowed dogs for years, the owners are huge dog lovers, and they treat dogs that customers bring exceptionally well.”

A few other of Pregulman’s favorite eateries and watering holes that expressly allow dogs are: KISS Cafe in Ballard, Linda’s Tavern and Victrola Coffee Roasters in Capitol Hill, Duchess Tavern in the University District, and Alki Cafe and Beveridge Place in West Seattle. Be sure to ask before bringing your dog inside anywhere, but your chances of being able to keep your dog with you are higher if you sit outside. “Most restaurants and bars will allow dogs on patios, even if they aren’t allowed inside,” Pregulman says. To find even more dog-friendly businesses in the area, check out lists at Seattle DogSpot and BringFido.

Of course, another reason Seattle is a great place to be a dog owner is all the opportunities for beautiful walks in the city. While dogs aren’t allowed at organized athletic fields, beaches or children’s play areas in the city, they are allowed — on a leash — at most city parks. Does your dog need to run free? The city also designates 14 off-leash areas in the city. Check out to access a map of all the dog-friendly parks across 40 Seattle neighborhoods. If you and your pup are looking for a new walking route to try out this summer, Pregulman suggests the nature-filled loop at Discovery Park, taking a stroll along the water at the Olympic Sculpture Park or scoping out some gorgeous greenery at the Washington Park Arboretum.

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