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Traveling With Your Dog to Oakland, California: Pet-Friendly Flights, Hotels, Activities and More

Written by: Tarit
| Published on December 18, 2023

Reviewed by: Dr. Theresa Fossum

Reviewed by:

Dr. Theresa Fossum

Meet Dr. Theresa (Terry) W. Fossum, DVM, MS. Ph.D., Diplomate ACVS – a remarkable animal lover whose passion for animal care and innovative solutions has left an indelible mark on the veterinary world. As the CEO of both Phoenix Animal Wellness and Epic Veterinary Specialists, she's ensuring dogs and cats receive the highest level of care and compassion.Read more

Oakland, California, welcomes dog-loving tourists with open arms! This vibrant city nestled on the eastern shore of the San Francisco Bay offers a plethora of dog-friendly attractions and activities. From spacious parks like Redwood Regional Park and Lake Merritt, where your furry friend can run off-leash, to pet-friendly cafes and restaurants, Oakland ensures that your four-legged companion can join in on the fun. Many local businesses even provide water bowls and treats for your pup, making it easy to explore the city together. With its mild climate and numerous pet-friendly accommodations, Oakland promises an enjoyable and inclusive experience for both you and your beloved canine companion.

In addition to its pet-friendly amenities, Oakland boasts a diverse cultural scene and a vibrant arts community. Explore the city’s mural-covered streets, visit art galleries, or take a leisurely stroll through the historic Jack London Square, where you and your dog can enjoy scenic views of the waterfront. Don’t forget to check out the bustling Farmer’s Markets, where you can find locally-made treats and crafts for your furry friend. Whether you’re hiking the beautiful trails of the East Bay Regional Park District or soaking up the sun at dog-friendly beaches, Oakland is a fantastic destination for travelers looking to share their adventures with their canine companions.

Oakland Dog Friendly

Should You Travel with Your Dog?

Whether or not you should travel with your dog depends on your dog’s personality and health. If your dog gets anxious easily, bringing them on a trip isn’t ideal. However, some dogs are great at adapting to new situations and love exploring different places, so those dogs would probably do well on the go.

Regardless of your dog’s temperament, there may be times when they need to travel with you, such as if you’re moving to a new location. If that’s the case, you may need to take extra precautions to ensure they’re as comfortable as possible. That could include stopping more frequently during a long drive or asking your vet about whether or not medications could help.

What to Pack When Traveling with Your Dog

Your dog may not need as much stuff as you do for a trip, but they still need the essentials. Plus, bringing items that look and smell familiar to your furry friend can help them feel more comfortable.

Here’s a list of supplies you should bring for your dog:

This list is just a general guide of things you may need. Your packing list may vary based on where you’re going, how you’re getting there, and what activities you have planned. If you have space to spare, it can’t hurt to pack extra pet supplies out of caution.

Dog going for road trip

What to Include in a Dog First Aid Kit

A dog first aid kit should include essential items like bandages, antiseptic wipes, tweezers, a thermometer, and a muzzle for safety. It’s also important to have saline solution for eye washing and a blanket for shock or cold. For a complete list of everything you need, see a comprehensive dog first aid guide here!

Finding a Dog-Friendly Hotel

While planning your trip, make sure you find a dog-friendly place to stay. Many lodging options, whether they’re a large hotel chain or a small local property, are willing to allow pets with some restrictions. The best way to know if your dog is welcome is to call the property before booking.

Looking for a pet-friendly Hotel so you can share your vacation with your four-legged friend? We’ve partnered with top travel sites to find you the best possible deals around. Just enter your travel plans below, and you’ll find pet-friendly hotels wherever you’re traveling. 

Dog sleeping at hotel

Other Lodging Options

Even though most popular hotel chains allow pets to some extent, they still might not be the right choice for you. Many prevent large dogs or more than two dogs at a time. Some may also prevent you from leaving your dog alone in the hotel, which can be difficult if you have some plans that aren’t pet-friendly. In this case, consider finding your pup a pet sitter who can take care of your dog while you’re enjoying a quiet dinner, seeing the sights or even taking in a show.

Book a Rover dog sitter and give your dog the best day ever!

So, if you’re struggling to find a good hotel, you may want to check other types of lodging, such as campgrounds or booking sites like Airbnb and Vrbo. Those options are often more flexible with pet restrictions because they don’t need to follow the policies of big chain hotels. Like with hotels, you should always contact the property to get the most detailed information on their pet restrictions.

Dog-Friendly Transportation Options

For most dogs, the scariest part of going on a trip is getting there. Dogs who aren’t used to riding in a car are likely to be anxious during a road trip and even more so on an airplane. So, here are some tips for how to keep your dog safe and comfortable when heading to your destination.

Driving with Your Dog

If possible, driving long distances with your dog will usually be easier and more comfortable than flying, especially if you have a large breed. However, you should make sure your dog is okay with riding in the car before you bring them on a road trip. If they don’t ride in the car much on a regular basis, start by taking them for short drives in preparation for the trip.

Here are some tips for taking a road trip with your dog:

  • Get your dog’s energy out before the long drive (take them for a walk, play fetch, etc.)
  • Make sure your dog is secure and comfortable (use a crate or dog seat belt, and make sure they have a cozy bed)
  • Stop more often than you need to so your dog can stretch their legs and do their business
  • Offer your dog fresh water every time you stop
  • Never leave your dog alone in the car on a warm/hot day

Buckling dog into car

Flying with Your Dog

Most dogs have ridden in the car at one point or another, but flying with your dog is a much different experience. If your dog is under 20 pounds, they can ride in the cabin on most airlines, but if your dog is larger than that, they may have to fly in the cargo hold. Not being able to see your dog during the flight can be stressful, which is why families with larger dogs typically prefer to drive when possible.

Almost every airline allows dogs, but some have stricter rules than others. Always check an airline’s pet policy before planning to fly on it with your pup.

Dog in airplane carrier

How to Travel with an Anxious Dog

If you have an anxious dog, driving and flying might both seem tricky. Luckily, there are things you can do to help a stressed-out dog feel more at ease while on the go.

  • Get your dog familiar with travel – take them to places they enjoy, such as the park, instead of only the vet.
  • Bring familiar items, such as their favorite beds and toys.
  • Keep their feeding times and bathroom breaks as close to their normal routine as possible.
  • Give them lots of exercise before getting in the car or entering the airport.
  • Stay calm – your dog may pick up on if you’re stressed and become more worried as a result.
  • Try anti-anxiety products, such as ThunderShirts and heartbeat toys.

While the above tips may reduce your dog’s anxiety, extremely anxious dogs will likely still show some fear in unfamiliar situations. Pet CBD Products, such as those made by Cannanine, can help calm down nervous pups during travel. Cannanine offers CBD oil and soft chews, both of which effectively calm dogs while being THC-free. Plus, every Cannanine product purchased donates meals to shelter dogs.

Top Tourist Attractions in Oakland, California

Oakland, California, offers a wide range of popular tourist attractions and events to explore:

  1. Lake Merritt: Known as the “Jewel of Oakland,” Lake Merritt is a picturesque urban lake surrounded by parks. Visitors can enjoy paddle boating, picnicking, and bird-watching, including the iconic resident flock of wild white pelicans.
  2. Jack London Square: This bustling waterfront area is named after the famous writer and adventurer Jack London. It features a variety of restaurants, shops, and outdoor activities, including kayaking and ferry rides.
  3. Oakland Museum of California: This museum showcases the art, history, and natural sciences of California. It’s a must-visit for those interested in the state’s rich cultural heritage.
  4. Oakland Zoo: Located in the beautiful Knowland Park, the Oakland Zoo offers an array of animals, including elephants, lions, and giraffes. It’s a fun and educational experience for visitors of all ages.
  5. Chinatown: Oakland’s vibrant Chinatown is home to a diverse array of restaurants, markets, and cultural events. The annual Lunar New Year Bazaar and Dragon Boat Festival are standout events.
  6. First Fridays: On the first Friday of each month, the Uptown District comes alive with a lively street festival featuring food trucks, art galleries, live music, and a vibrant atmosphere.
  7. Oakland Art Murmur: This monthly art walk event takes place every first Friday and Saturday of the month and allows visitors to explore the city’s thriving art scene by visiting galleries and studios.
  8. Oakland Athletics Games: Baseball fans can catch a game at the Oakland Coliseum and cheer on the Oakland Athletics, known affectionately as the “A’s.”
  9. Oakland Restaurant Week: Held annually, this event celebrates the city’s diverse culinary scene, with participating restaurants offering special menus and deals.
  10. Oakland Pride: This annual LGBTQ+ celebration features a parade, live music, and a vibrant festival, promoting inclusivity and diversity in the heart of Oakland.

These attractions and events showcase the eclectic and lively spirit of Oakland, making it an exciting destination for tourists looking to experience the culture, history, and natural beauty of the city.

Picking Activities Your Dog Can Join in Oakland, California

If you’re traveling with your dog for vacation, you should make sure they can join you for most, if not all, of your activities. Since dogs aren’t allowed indoors in many places, you should travel when the weather is nice to ensure you can spend time outside with your furry friend.

Oakland, California, is a dog-friendly city with plenty of activities for you and your furry companion to enjoy together. Here are some dog-friendly activities to explore:

  1. Lake Merritt: Take a leisurely stroll around Lake Merritt’s scenic path, where your dog can enjoy the views and fresh air. There’s also a designated off-leash area near the 12th Street end of the lake.
  2. Redwood Regional Park: This stunning park offers numerous hiking trails through lush redwood forests. Dogs are welcome on most trails, provided they are kept on a leash.
  3. Point Isabel Regional Shoreline: Known as one of the largest off-leash dog parks in the nation, Point Isabel features expansive waterfront views and a dog-friendly beach for your pup to play and socialize.
  4. Joel Wilkenfeld Park: This hidden gem in Oakland offers an off-leash dog area with plenty of room for your pet to run and play, along with water fountains to keep them hydrated.
  5. Dog-Friendly Breweries: Oakland has several dog-friendly breweries, including Faction Brewing and Temescal Brewing, where you can enjoy craft beers with your furry friend by your side.
  6. Paws & Claws Outdoors: This local company offers guided dog-friendly hiking tours in the East Bay, allowing you and your pup to explore the beautiful regional parks together.
  7. Dog-Friendly Cafes and Restaurants: Many eateries in Oakland have outdoor seating areas that welcome dogs. Some popular options include Homeroom, Drake’s Dealership, and Fentons Creamery.
  8. Dog-Friendly Beaches: While not technically in Oakland, nearby beaches like Alameda Beach and Crown Memorial State Beach in Alameda are great places for dogs to run and play in the sand.
  9. Dog-Friendly Events: Keep an eye out for dog-friendly events like “Bark at the Park” at an Oakland A’s game, or pet-friendly charity walks and fundraisers happening throughout the year.
  10. Dog Parks: Oakland has several dog parks, including Mosswood Dog Park and Hardy Dog Park, where your pup can socialize and play off-leash.

Remember to check local regulations and leash requirements before visiting parks and public spaces with your dog, and always be considerate of other visitors. Oakland’s dog-friendly atmosphere makes it a fantastic destination for travelers looking to share memorable experiences with their furry companions. This is just a list to get you started because the dog-friendly activities will vary based on where you’re visiting. While most outdoor events welcome pets as long as they’re well-behaved and you clean up after them, it’s always a good idea to check the event’s details to be sure. With enough planning and good weather, you can hang out with your dog the entire vacation!

PLEASE NOTE: We make every effort to provide accurate information, but locations change their policies regarding dogs from time to time. Always check location websites or reach out to them directly to ensure that dogs are still allowed.

Dog Friendly Oakland

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are there dog-friendly accommodations in Oakland?

Yes, Oakland offers a variety of pet-friendly hotels, motels, and vacation rentals. Be sure to check the specific pet policies and any associated fees when booking.

2. Can I take my dog on public transportation in Oakland?

Most public transportation options in Oakland, including BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) and AC Transit buses, allow small dogs in carriers. Larger dogs may be subject to different rules, so it’s best to check with the respective transportation authority.

3. Are there any dog-friendly restaurants in Oakland?

Yes, many restaurants in Oakland have outdoor seating areas that welcome dogs. Some even offer dog-friendly menus or water bowls for your furry friend.

4. What are the rules for visiting Oakland’s parks with a dog?

Dogs are generally allowed in most Oakland parks but must be kept on a leash unless you’re in designated off-leash areas. Be sure to clean up after your dog to keep the parks clean.

5. Where can I find dog-friendly beaches near Oakland?

While Oakland itself doesn’t have dog-friendly beaches, nearby options include Alameda Beach and Crown Memorial State Beach in Alameda, where dogs are allowed on leash.

6. Are there any doggy daycares or pet-sitting services in Oakland?

Yes, Oakland has several doggy daycares and pet-sitting services where you can leave your dog in safe hands if you need some alone time or have other plans.

7. What are the best dog-friendly hiking trails near Oakland?

Redwood Regional Park, Joaquin Miller Park, and Point Isabel Regional Shoreline are great options for hiking with dogs. Always check trail rules and leash requirements before heading out.

8. Can I take my dog to events or festivals in Oakland?

Some events and festivals in Oakland are dog-friendly, but it’s best to check the event’s website or contact the organizers in advance to confirm their pet policy.

9. Where can I find pet supplies or a veterinarian in Oakland?

Oakland has numerous pet supply stores, including national chains and local shops. You’ll also find several veterinary clinics and pet hospitals throughout the city.

10. What’s the weather like in Oakland, and how should I prepare for my dog?

Oakland has a Mediterranean climate with mild, wet winters and warm, dry summers. Be sure to pack appropriate clothing for your dog and stay hydrated during outdoor activities. Watch out for hot pavement during summer walks to protect your pet’s paws.

Final Thoughts

Traveling with a dog to Oakland, California, can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience, but it’s essential to plan and prepare to ensure a smooth trip for both you and your furry companion. Here are some final thoughts and tips for a successful visit:

  1. Research Dog-Friendly Options: Before your trip, research dog-friendly accommodations, restaurants, and attractions in Oakland. Make reservations in advance whenever possible, especially for pet-friendly lodging.
  2. Check Local Regulations: Familiarize yourself with the local regulations for dogs in public spaces, parks, and on public transportation. Always follow leash laws and clean up after your pet.
  3. Pack Essentials: Bring your dog’s essentials, including food, water, bowls, leash, collar with ID tags, poop bags, and any necessary medications. Don’t forget their favorite toys and a comfortable travel crate or bed.
  4. Weather Considerations: Oakland’s climate is generally mild, but be prepared for changing weather conditions. Ensure your dog is comfortable in various temperatures and have protection against sun and rain.
  5. Health and Safety: Prior to your trip, schedule a visit to the veterinarian to ensure your dog is up-to-date on vaccinations and is in good health. Keep a copy of your dog’s medical records with you.
  6. Exercise and Playtime: Dogs need exercise and mental stimulation, so incorporate visits to dog-friendly parks, trails, and beaches into your itinerary. Oakland offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor fun.
  7. Respect Local Wildlife: Be mindful of local wildlife, such as birds and squirrels, which might pique your dog’s interest. Keep your dog under control to avoid disturbing wildlife.
  8. Stay Hydrated: Always have fresh water available for your dog, especially during outdoor activities. Consider carrying a portable water bowl for convenience.
  9. Emergency Contacts: Research the location of the nearest veterinary clinics or emergency pet services in case of any unexpected health issues.
  10. Courtesy and Cleanliness: Be courteous to other travelers and residents by cleaning up after your dog. Dispose of waste properly and respect the rules and guidelines of dog-friendly establishments.
  11. Plan for Alone Time: If you plan to visit attractions or dine at non-dog-friendly restaurants, make arrangements for your dog’s care during those times. Options include doggy daycares or pet-sitting services.
  12. Enjoy Together: Most importantly, enjoy your time together with your furry friend. Oakland’s dog-friendly culture and beautiful surroundings make it a fantastic destination for pet lovers.

With careful planning and consideration, traveling with your dog to Oakland can result in wonderful memories and a truly dog-friendly experience in this vibrant and welcoming city.

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