Like the typical Boulderite, I hate leaving my pet at home. We both have separation anxiety. The last time I left my dog for a vacation, he ended up eating a $400 mattress cover and got a ball stuck in his throat. One emergency vet bill later and a near cardiac arrest on a boat in Hawaii, and he happily comes with me on vacation.
Boulder is a dog lover’s dream. Some of the country’s most beautiful hiking trails are within Boulder County and unlike a visit to a national park, they are dog-friendly. Whether you are cruising up the Flatirons or jogging along the Mesa Trail, dogs are always welcome.
But what about during the freezing winter months? Or perhaps your dog isn’t as young as he used to be and hiking has never been your thing anyway. The possibilities for adventure with your furry companion are still endless.
Here are our favorite dog-friendly activities you can do within or just a short drive from Boulder.
1. Take Your Dog Swimming at an Indoor Luxury Pool: CRCG
The Canine and Conditioning Rehabilitation Group in Broomfield is a fun destination spot for pups of all ages, shapes and sizes. For the fit, healthy dog, they have an open pool. If your dog is a social butterfly, they have open swim times every day. They even have reserved times for shy canines. Your dog will love leaping into the water after toys, swim races with other pups and learning how to swim by CRCG’s knowledgeable instructors. Your pup is sure to leave happy and tired.
For the geriatric pet, they provide canine physical therapy, rehabilitation, chiropractic adjustments and acupuncture. The facility is fit with underwater treadmills and a weightless pool to fit your pet’s specific needs.
CRCG’s facility is a hop, skip and a jump from Boulder, less than a 20-minute drive away, and is located in an adorable stretch of dog shops, including a dog-friendly bar, a pet supply shop and an animal hospital.
Local tip: They even allow cats. In the weightless pool, that is. Make sure to call for a schedule and to set up your pet’s intro lesson.
2. Bar Hopping: Romero’s K9 Club and Tap House
Just up the road from CRCG is the doggie bar. Dogs are welcome to relax next to their owners at the bar. You sip a local brew or beer or kombucha while your dog happily snacks on Spent Grain Dog Treats. Just outside of the bar is a full dog park where dogs can frolic with each other. Need another beer? Just head to the open-style window and the bartender will happily give you a refill.
Be sure to register your dogs before heading over to the clubhouse, but once you do they will be having a howling good time.
Local tip: Must love dogs and off the beaten path beer. Romero’s has a laid-back atmosphere where dogs and people mingle about. If your pup has social anxiety, there are plenty of dog-friendly bars in the area that may give your pup some more space.
3. Kayaking or Stand-Up Paddleboarding: Boulder Res
This is another water-loving dog activity. Boulder is littered with magical lakes nestled next to the mountains. A few nearby lakes that we love are Boulder Reservoir, Gross Reservoir and MacIntosh lake. Imagine lazily floating in serene waters, your hand caressing the water, birds chirping overhead, your dog launching herself off the front of your kayak, tossing you sidewise into the water. You both laugh and laugh because life truly is better with a dog.
Local tip: A dog life jacket is a must. Most jackets have a handle to help you hoist your pup back onto your stand-up paddleboard. If you forgot to pack yours, stop by CRCG where they carry lifejackets in all sizes.
4. Try Doggie Reefer: Petreleaf or Charlotte’s Web
While your pets won’t actually get high on pet CBD, they will chill out. CBD hemp oil has anti-inflammatory properties, boosts the immune system, helps joints, helps anxiety and much more. So whether your pet gets anxious on long road trips, can’t settle down in the hotel room or you just want to give them a health boost, pick up some CBD from your local Boulder pet supply shop (McGuckin Hardware in the Village Shopping Center, Only Natural Pet and Bentley’s Pet Stuff on the Twenty Ninth Street Mall, to name a few).
The two companies we recommend most are Petreleaf and Charlotte’s Web. These companies are Colorado-based and certified organic. Visit their websites for more information and amazing transformation stories.
Local tip: THC is not good for your pets so while you are enjoying Colorado’s marijuana recreational activities, do not share them with your dog or cat.
5. Go Shopping: the Twenty Ninth Street Mall
While the Pearl Street Mall is known for street performers and specialty shops, the Twenty Ninth Street mall is known for high-end shopping and dogs. Well, maybe it isn’t known for dogs but dogs are very welcome. The mall is so dog-friendly that it provides disposable bag stations and a comfort relief area in the parking lot west of Five Guys Burgers and Mad Greens.
Some dog-friendly shops that we love include Bentley’s Pet Shop, Moosejaw and lululemon. Once you are done shopping, grab a salad from Madgreens, a vegan wrap from Native Foods Cafe or coffee from Peet’s Coffee & Tea. Most restaurants have dog-friendly patios for you to relax and enjoy your meal.
Local tip: It is illegal to leave your pet unattended outside of stores within Boulder so bring a friend, get coffee on a dog-friendly patio, but please don’t leave your pup with a stranger. Your dog is the best dog in the world and someone else is guaranteed to think so, too. Strangers cannot be trusted with your dog’s cuteness.
6. Visit a Dog Medium: JoLee Wingerson
Technically JoLee Wingerson is an “animal communicator.” She has been doctor-doolittling pets since 2002 and says she can communicate with any pet you have, including but certainly not limited to dogs, cats, horses, turtles and ducks. Wingerson is located on Conestoga Court near the restaurant Blackbelly but will happily hold video and phone sessions for you and your pet.
Spirit Whispering is Wingerson’s company and while she specializes in pet communication, she provides spiritual guidance for people as well. She says she can help strengthen the relationship between you and your pet, resolve your pet’s emotional issues and support you and your pet during their passing. Wingerson says she looks at the soul of your pet to help you understand them more.
Local tip: Come with a lot of questions and an open mind. If your dog is like mine, sitting still for an hour or more can be challenging so it may be best to exercise your pet beforehand.
7. Do Doga
For all the avid yogis or the first-time yogis, Boulder is a beautiful location to find peace and enlightenment. Doga is just what it sounds like: yoga with your dog. Dogs are known to have a calming effect, decrease stress and increase the lifespan of their human companions. Some dogs’ jobs are to help bring relaxation to humans. You can find these dogs as PTSD-service animals, in courtrooms with children and on college campuses during finals week.
Take advantage of your dog’s innate ability and try dog yoga. Just like regular yoga, you can practice anywhere but we recommend hiking up Mount Sanitas, overlook the city and find balance.
Local tip: It is best to wear out your dog first. Nothing to ruin your zen like a lick to the face.