August 29  |  Our Communities

The Dog Owner’s Guide to Fort Collins

So you adopted a puppy. As a resident of Colorado, it was inevitable. Our tendency toward dog ownership and puppy love has become a bit of a stereotype. So first of all, welcome to the club!

Now, you need to know where to buy supplies, play, learn, explore and keep your pup healthy. Luckily, Fort Collins has all of that and more. And most of our favorites are locally owned so you can shop small while you spoil your dog.

Because we’re lucky enough to have a bounty of dog services and shops in FoCo, we weren’t able to name them all. If you don’t see your go-to groomer, day care, veterinarian or trainer in our round-up, make our guide even better and share them in the comments at the bottom of this post.


Jump ahead:

Food, Toy + Supply Stores | Off-leash Dog Parks | Dog-friendly Hikes | Local Dog-friendly Businesses | Groomers + Self-Wash Stations | Day Care + Boarding | Veterinary Hospitals | Training Services


Food, Toy + Supply Stores

In addition to small chains and franchises like Pet Supplies Plus, Kriser’s, Bentley’s Pet Stuff, and Pet Club, Fort Collins is home to several local, family-operated pet supply stores. Check out our favorites below and shop local for your puppy!

Wagz Pet Market & Grooming

Wagz was born in 2009 from a passion for the health and care of FoCo pets. Their market sells food, toys, leashes, treats — everything you need to keep your pup happy and healthy. While there, you’ll also find grooming, a self-wash station and Molly, the famous shop dog. She may be blind, but she covers the store like a pro!

Poudre Pet & Feed Supply

With four locations in Fort Collins, one in Loveland and one in Windsor, you’ll be able to find your pet’s favorite food, treat, toy or accessory no matter where you are in Northern Colorado. Poudre Pet even has products for cats, small mammals, reptiles, fish, birds horses and livestock as well. While you’re there, you can give your dog a bath, too!

Pet City

Pet City in Fort Collins is an independent, family-owned and operated pet store and has been serving our community for over 30 years. Alongside food, treats and accessories, you can meet adoptable puppies too! Learn more about their adoption practices and their history on the Pet City website.


Off-leash Dog Parks

One of the best ways to socialize a vaccinated and well-behaved dog is at a local dog park. Whether you’re looking for a neighborhood spot maintained by the city or a further option with extra amenities, there’s one nearby in NoCo!

Dog Parks in Fort Collins Colorado

Spring Canyon Dog Park

Get directions

Also called Horsetooth Dog Park, this park is maintained by the city and features a nearly three-acre fenced area for off-leash play. Developed in cooperation with the Larimer County Humane Society, the park includes a smaller fenced space for shy dogs and a water fountain.

Soft Gold Dog Park

Get directions

This fenced, one-acre dog park is located at Soft Gold Neighborhood Park. Bring your pup for a day of fun, but remember only three dogs are allowed per visitor!

Fossil Creek Dog Park

Get directions

Located at the entrance to Fossil Creek Community Park, this fenced dog park is nearly one acre in size and includes a drinking fountain and a smaller fenced space for shy dogs.

Front Range Village Dog Park

Get directions

You’ll find Front Range Village on our list of dog-friendly businesses in Fort Collins. In addition to allowing leashed dogs to explore the outdoor shopping and entertainment district, they go the extra mile with a fenced, off-leash dog park on site! Find it on the east side directly across from Five Guys.

Windsor Lake Dog Park

Get directions

Windsor Lake Dog Park is a nearby favorite for all the water dogs in NoCo. Just 20 minutes from Downtown Fort Collins, the park is located on the north side of Windsor Lake, accessible from the Windsor Lake Trail. Check out the rules, details and the second Windsor dog park, Poudre Pooch Park, on the town’s website.

Union Reservoir Dog Beach

Get directions

Though this park is further south in Longmont, we included it on our list because it features an amazing off-leash dog beach open to all the water loving pooches in NoCo! Located on the south side of the reservoir, your dog is allowed to jump in and swim as much as he likes but people are asked to stay out of the water. Get more details on the park website.


Dog-friendly Hikes

As a NoCo resident, it’s likely you’ll be taking your dog into the great outdoors; it is right here in our backyard, after all. Our guide, 11 Dog-friendly Hikes Near Fort Collins, has such favorites as Spring Creek Trail and Horsetooth Falls Trail. Preview a couple of the closest here and then learn more about how to get there, the difficulty and more in our blog post.

Dog-friendly hikes near Fort Collins Colorado

Fossil Creek Trail

Fossil Creek Trail is a popular 5-mile paved trail running through Cathy Fromme Prairie Natural Area along Fossil Creek. With no usage fees, free parking and just a 15-minute drive from Old Town, this is the perfect place for a last-minute nature walk!

Maxwell Natural Area Trail

The Maxwell Natural Area Trail is part of the 9.6-mile Foothills Trail and features scenic views of both the mountains and the city. This is a short but challenging hike located in the Maxwell Natural Area, just 20 minutes from Downtown. As is custom, make sure you bring water for you and your dog during this outing!


Local Dog-friendly Businesses

Fort Collins is famously a dog-friendly city which must be why so many dog-lovers move here year after year. And because we love our pups so much, many local businesses offer dog-friendly shops, patios and even taprooms so our furry friends can come along on every adventure! We already rounded up our favorite dog-friendly businesses. Learn about a few of them here, then check out the full blog post!

Maxline Brewing Dog-Friendly

Photo courtesy of Maxline Brewing

Wilbur’s Total Beverage

If you call Wilbur’s Total Beverage and ask if they’re dog-friendly, you’ll likely hear something like this: “Heck yeah! We love dogs!” As long as your furry friend is friendly and on a leash, they’re welcome to peruse the aisles with you.

Maxline Brewing

Dog-friendly, kid-friendly, community-friendly — Maxline Brewing is all about creating a welcoming atmosphere (and delicious local beer!). Not only do they donate and fundraise for local nonprofits, they’re also committed to serving 30 hours per month volunteering and working at local farms. Bring your furry friend along while you get a taste for local FoCo and become part of the family at Maxline!

JAX Mercantile Co.

JAX Mercantile is a FoCo favorite for all things outdoor, from clothing and hunting gear to tents and even dog accessories! That’s right, while you and your dog shop at JAX, he can pick out his own treats, food, toys and coats.


Groomers + Self-Wash Stations

After your dog park and hiking adventures, your pup probably needs a bath. Check out a few of our local favorites for in-home services, full-service spas and even alternative medicine practices! If you want to bathe Fido yourself, you’ll find self-wash stations at Poudre Pet & Feed Supply, Pet Supplies Plus, The Dog Pawlour and Camp Bow Wow.

Animal House Rescue & Grooming

Animal House is already one of our favorite places to adopt a dog in Northern Colorado. In addition to hosting fundraisers and events throughout the year, the rescue is also one of the city’s best places for grooming! Because the shelter is financially supported by every appointment, your dog can get fresh and clean while helping homeless pets in our community. Meet the groomers online and call to schedule your pup’s next bath.

Pampered Pets Parlor

This well-reviewed groomer is entirely mobile so your dog’s bath, haircut, nail trim, ear cleaning and blow dry can be done right to your home in Fort Collins, Loveland, Johnstown, Windsor or Berthoud. And for many dogs, being in a familiar place can relieve the stress of grooming appointments. Learn more on their website.

Wagz Pet Market & Grooming

In addition to being one the city’s best pet supply shops, Wagz offers full grooming services right in their Old Town store! Using only all-natural products, the professionally trained groomers at Wagz bathe, cut, trim brush and clean in a low-stress environment. Find your breed on their list to get a cost estimate and schedule your appointment today!

Spa 4 Paws

Locally owned and operated, Spa 4 Paws grooms every breed of dog and cat. With 33 years combined experience the team offers all the services you’d expect in addition to wellness massage, micro bubble bath therapy and Reiki, a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation. Download their app for Apple and Android to make your visit worry free!


Day Care + Boarding

When we eventually have to leave our furry family members — whether it’s for a day or for a week — we can get a bit worried. Leaving them with trained professionals can ensure their safety, health and happiness. But if you’re simply looking for a way to keep them entertained during the workday, day camp is an ideal way to get exercise, socialization and to ensure they’re tired out when you’re ready to pick them up.

Four Paws Pet Hotel and Resort Fort Collins Colorado

Photo courtesy of Four Paws Pet Hotel & Resort

Four Paws Pet Hotel & Resort

At Four Paws, they offer daily dog daycare, overnight boarding for dogs and cats as well as grooming services. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the facility has comfortable, open rooms rather than small kennels and a brand new indoor pool! Get more details on daycare and boarding then try out the free introduction and evaluation trial.

Camp Bow Wow

Though Camp Bow Wow is now a franchise, the first shop opened in Denver in 2000 as one of the very first dog day cares in Colorado. Now with more than 130 locations, their care operations have been tried and tested for more than a decade. Take a virtual tour, meet the team and then watch your dog play all day on their live web cams!

The Dog Pawlour

At The Dog Pawlour on South College, you’ll find a retail shop, grooming services, self-wash stations, daily day care, and in-home pet sitting services which can include overnight stays and/or dog walking!

Lazy Dog Ranch and Dapper Dog Salon

Whether it’s day care, boarding or full-service grooming you’re looking for, you’ll find it at Lazy Dog Ranch. Located on East Prospect near Timnath Public Open Space, their facilities include a wide open lawn outdoors and individualized care from staff that will soon become family. Check out their Facebook page to preview their facilities!


Veterinary Hospitals

Here in Fort Collins, we’re lucky enough to have an abundance of outstanding veterinarians. We picked out a few of our favorites but if you don’t see yours, please recommend it in the comments at the bottom of this post so our readers can find their family’s perfect fit.

Fort Collins Veterinary Emergency and Rehabilitation Hospital

As one of the top-rated veterinary hospitals in NoCo, this emergency and rehabilitation center offers regular check-ups and vaccines, surgery and radiology, regenerative medicine and even acupuncture. Learn more about the veterinarians and staff before you schedule your visit and follow the hospital on Facebook for adorable animal-themed motivation and tips throughout the week!

Friendship Hospital for Animals

Friendship and comfort are the basis behind any successful trip to the vet and at Friendship Hospital, they know just how to keep your best friend happy and healthy. In their completely wind-powered facility, they have a full laboratory and a pharmacy on-site so your vet visit can be a quick, painless one-stop shop.

South Mesa Veterinary Hospital

South Mesa Veterinary Hospital combines every aspect of pet care in one, convenient location. The hospital has been locally owned and operated in Fort Collins since in 1972, but they also offer boarding, day care, professional grooming and training through their Come-Play-Stay program. As a patient at South Mesa, pet care is made easy — whether you need a bath, a playdate or a check-up.

Advanced Animal Care of Colorado

Advanced Animal Care of Colorado is a full-service animal hospital and will take both emergency cases as well as less urgent medical, surgical, and dental issues. As professionals in cutting edge services, they offer treatments using Chinese herbal medicine in addition to classic dentistry, surgery and rehabilitation. They can also guide you through breeding and offer daycare, boarding, grooming, training and an indoor swimming pool through the Dog Tales Center!


Training Services

Whether you have a brand new puppy who needs to learn a few manners or an adopted dog dealing with behavioral issues, training services can help ensure he’s happy and comfortable in every situation. We all need a little education once in awhile so check out our picks for FoCo trainers!

Summit Dog Training Fort Collins Colorado

Photo courtesy of Summit Dog Training and Maddie Mae Photo

Summit Dog Training

Summit Dog Training knows Colorado dogs (and Colorado dog owners). Their mission is to help dogs and their people have amazing outdoor adventures together, whether it’s a peaceful walk in the park or hiking off leash in the backcountry. With over 20 private and group classes in addition to workshop offerings, Summit will train both you and your dog to be perfect companions on and off the trail.

The Dog Wizard

As one of the best-reviewed trainers in the region, The Dog Wizard team believes no dog is beyond training. They offer obedience, aggression rehab, puppy preschool, rescue rehab, separation anxiety, socialization, group classes and more. See their full lineup of services and learn more on the website.

Complete K-9

Ashley Foster, the owner and lead consultant at Complete K-9 has been working with dogs professionally since 1994. With a Bachelors in Zoology, a Professional Dog Training Certification and a Certificate in Behavior Consulting for Canines, she trains both dogs and their humans to be better companions and build happy relationships.

Good Dog!

We love Good Dog! Behavior Training for a lot of reasons. Using positive reinforcement techniques, you can build excellent manners at home, create a good canine citizen around town, and have a reliable and responsive hiking companion. But our favorite thing about this local trainer are the fun group classes that take you and your dog out on the town! Learn more here and follow them on Facebook for class updates.


Still looking for a puppy?  

If our guide has convinced you that owning a dog in Fort Collins can be fun and convenient, check out our favorite places to adopt a dog in Northern Colorado and bring your new family member home today!

Posted InOur CommunitiesUnder, , , , , , ,

Never Miss a Post!

We write about local events & home inspiration.

Looking for Your Dream Home?

Search real estate in Northern Colorado.

Leave a Comment