By Dwain Hebda | Photography By Jamison Mosley
Once you’ve got your furry family member, it’s important to know where your resources are for boarding, exercise and socialization or even just to grab a quick bite and a pint.
Boarding facilities are numerous in central Arkansas, but you should always tour the facility in advance and come prepared with questions, says Timothy Wilkinson, manager of Wags & Whiskers in Little Rock.
“I think the first question I would ask would be about the facility and the time spent in their private space,” he says. “In our model, during full business hours, the dogs have full-time access to outside into a play yard. Questions about access and playtime and what they’re going to be doing there are very good to ask once you get the idea about the space and where they are going to be.”
It’s also important to ask about staffing levels, particularly since Arkansas doesn’t have licensing requirements that set pet-to-kennel worker ratio as there are in other states.
“That’s a great question to ask when you’re in a facility, the people-to-dog ratio,” Wilkinson advises. “You should be able to see those people working and not see groups of dogs unattended. A good boarder should be able to say what the ratio is on their busiest days.”
One of the best places to take your dog for both exercise and socialization are municipal dog parks. Most of the cities across the Natural State have their local dog parks listed on their official websites, along with descriptions and rules. To find the ones nearest you, simply visit your city’s website, search for dog parks, and then you and your dogs will be off and running.
Remember, dog parks are not babysitting areas; owners must be present and aware of their dog’s behavior at all times. While aggressive dogs are not permitted in municipal dog parks, animals can be unpredictable. Also, exercise good weather sense when considering visiting a dog park. Even with water provided, very hot temperatures can be harmful to your pet.
Finally, there are a growing number of restaurants, bars and businesses that allows owners to bring their dogs. In most cases, restaurants and bars restrict the animal to patios or other outdoor areas. However, you should never assume that an establishment with a patio will automatically allow your pet on-premises. And, because policies can change at a moment’s notice, it is always a good idea to confirm the dog policy of a place you’re frequenting for the first time.
One place that is about as dog-friendly as you can get is Bark Bar, located in downtown Little Rock, which as the name implies was built with pet owners in mind. Bark Bar is the city’s first indoor-outdoor dog park with a bar-restaurant, featuring craft brews and a menu of bar food for both you and your pooch.
To see how dog-friendly restaurants and bars near you are, check out:
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