Vancouver is one of the most pet-friendly cities in the world. There are lots of dog parks (where dogs can run off-leash), pet stores (where you can bring your pet inside, leashed), animal health and wellness clinics, and dog-walking services. Many Vancouverites are pet owners and are passionate about animal safety, security, and well-being. Animal abuse or mistreatment is not tolerated in Vancouver. On warm days, it is common to see public water dishes for dogs set out in front of restaurants and eateries, and many stores have doggie treats to offer your furry friend when you visit.
For Dog Owners
Within the municipality of Vancouver, dogs over the age of three months must be licensed (Animal Control: http://vancouver.ca/COMMSVCS/licandinsp/animalcontrol/index.htm). Licenses cost either $70 or $37, with the lower rate including a discount for spayed or neutered pets, and are renewable every year. Once your dog is licensed with the city, you should receive a notice to renew the license once per year, and you can do this online: http://vancouver.ca/COMMSVCS/licandinsp/animalcontrol/owningapet/index.htm.
There are a few city by-laws to be aware of if you are a dog owner.
- Your dog must be kept on a leash at all times when on the street or any other public place. Dogs are not allowed to run around at-large (except in dog parks).
- You must clean up after your dog. You are not allowed to leave dog excrement on the ground but must pick it up and deposit it in a waste container (hint: always bring a plastic bag with you on walks).
- Dogs are not allowed on beaches in Vancouver (anyplace where people swim), or in the water.
- Dogs are not allowed to bark excessively and disturb the peace.
Failure to comply with these by-laws can result in a visit from Animal Control, fines, and/or the impounding of your dog.
The City of Vancouver has published a helpful guide for dog owners, entitled, Rex in the City, which can be downloaded here: http://vancouver.ca/commsvcs/licandinsp/animalcontrol/rex.htm.
For All Pet Owners
Caring for your pet can carry a big price tag, these days. According to Statistics Canada, the average pet owner spends at least $560 per year on food, supplies, and veterinary care. A survey taken by the American Animal Hospital Association showed that 19% of pet owners spend more than $1,000 per year on their pets. It may be worthwhile to invest in pet insurance to help cover at least the cost of veterinary care.
It is worthwhile to keep in mind, when trying to find housing, that owning a pet eliminates 80%-90% of prospective housing, as many landlords have had bad experiences when renting to tenants with pets and now simply don’t want the tentative hassle and frustration. It will likely take you much longer to find appropriate housing with a pet. Also, when looking for a condo, keep in mind that pets weighing up to 20 lbs are welcome (if pets are allowed at all), but pets larger than that most often are not.
Coyotes are sometimes a problem in the city of Vancouver (particularly around Stanley Park), and they have been known to prey on smaller pets, so please don’t leave your small pets outside unattended, or at night. In any case, because Vancouver is rainy and cold much of the year, your pet will most likely stay inside much of the time, where it is warm and dry.
- Animal Control City of Vancouver — http://vancouver.ca/COMMSVCS/licandinsp/animalcontrol/index.htm
- Off-Leash Dog Parks — http://vancouver.ca/parks/info/dogparks/index.htm
- Tisol Pet Nutrition and Supply Stores — http://tisol.ca/
- True Carnivores (raw food pet store) — http://truecarnivores.com/
- Rainy City Dogs (dog guide) — http://www.raincitydogs.com/