Pet Friendly Places in the KW Area
With the weather getting warmer, it’s human nature to want to take your pups everywhere you go. But it can be overwhelming with the number of places that are dog friendly in the KW area. We (Owen, Toby, and I) spent the last 2 weeks researching, visiting and interviewing different establishments on how they are dog friendly. We then curated our list of bakeries, breweries and shops that we enjoyed. We also got in contact with Dog Friendly KW and asked them a few questions to see what their favourite dog friendly places were.
Let’s see what Dog Friendly KW had to say about some places in KW.
- Could you please introduce yourselves and your dogs?
Hi! We will start off by introducing ourselves - we are Justine and Mackenzie Co-Owners and Co-Founders of Dog Friendly KW (DFKW)! We have been friends for almost twenty years and grew up in Muskoka together. Having lived in Kitchener for the last eight years, we have grown to call this community home. We love to explore new dog friendly spots, support local businesses and encourage and grow the local dog friendly community. Our vision is to make Kitchener-Waterloo the most dog friendly community in Canada. We are passionate about responsible dog ownership and education and are known to dig into spicy topics on the DFKW Podcast.
The dogs of DFKW are Willa and Alydar - our picture perfect Italian Greyhounds who are known for their sense of fashion, and Marshall, our 90 lb super mutt rescued from northern Manitoba who is known for being a big ball of sweet and sass rolled into one.
- What are your favourite places to visit with your pups (Breweries, patios, cafes, stores)?
Two years ago, this was an easy question to answer - but now, there are so many dog friendly spaces that it is really difficult to choose. Some places we really love include Short Finger Brewing, TWB Brewing, Rural Roots (okay, we really like beer), The Village Biergarten, Camellia Bakeshop, Talula Fields, Cafe Pyrus (and Cafe Pyrus Outpost) and Colour Paradise Greenhouse. There are also a lot of new spots featured in our summer business guide that we haven’t had a chance to visit yet, but are looking forward to checking out in the coming months.
- What are the best experiences you've had at a dog friendly place?
One of our favourite things about running this business and community is connecting with small business owners. Some of our most memorable experiences have been the days when we visit a dog friendly location and completely lose track of time chatting with the owner or the staff on-site. Whether it’s chatting about dogs or brainstorming future events, we love connecting with the people behind these businesses.
- What do you look for in dog friendly places (red flags and green flags)?
We would say that this varies depending on your dog’s personality and preferences. For example, if we are looking for a patio that is suitable for our sensitive Alydar, we may look for a spot that has less vehicle traffic and is a little less stimulating. However, if we are looking for a spot suitable for Marshall, we might look for a more spacious location with lots of space for him to lay down - so, if we’re visiting a super tiny patio, we might leave our big boy at home! If your dog sometimes gets over excited or overwhelmed, visiting somewhere with more space or multiple points of entry or exit can be helpful in case you need to take breaks. One of the reasons The Village Biergarten is one of our favourite places is because it checks off all of these boxes. We also LOVE when places are dog friendly inside and outside so that we have the flexibility to sit indoors should the weather not cooperate.
- In your opinion, what do you think dog friendly places should provide their dogs and owners to make them more accessible?
We definitely recommend that dog owners have everything they need on hand to ensure their dog has a good experience in dog friendly space - water, bowl, toy or comfort item, blanket or place cot, etc. That said, a dog friendly location can ensure that there is adequate space between tables to ensure dogs can be a comfortable distance away from others. It’s always a nice touch when businesses offer communal water - however, some dogs (and humans) choose to avoid it because there is always a small risk of illness when water is shared. For outdoor locations specifically, dog friendly locations can offer spots in the shade to ensure pups stay cool - especially in the warmer months!
As mentioned, we went around and visited some places off of DFKW Summer guide and talked to the owners to learn more about their establishments and what they do to be dog-friendly. We got tons of great information and some sneak peeks at the wonderful ideas these companies have come up with to keep the KW region the best dog-friendly area!
A new hotspot at 151 Charles St W, The Civil makes pizza from scratch and offers cocktails, local craft beers like TWB, boozy slushies and gin and tonic flights. Plus, you can bring your pup to the patio to enjoy the meal with you. For your pup, they have water bowls available on the patio for any dog in need of a drink. Visit their Instagram to see some of their delicious creations.
Cafe Pyrus has been open for 12 years. They have a big shaded patio and love having the dogs out there. They are a vegan cafe located in downtown Kitchener at 305 King St. The cafe serves light bites, salads and baked goods that are accompanied by refreshing cold drinks or a smooth cup of coffee.
The Outpost has been open for 4 years and is an extension of Cafe Pyrus. The outpost is located off of the Spur Line trail or you can drive down to 105 Roger St. For humans they have a selection of baked goods, drinks and vegan gelato, and for your pups, they offer free dog treats and have a water bowl near where you order. Inside the Outpost, you will be able to find a wall full of pictures of dogs that were taken there when you were still able to go in. Every Saturday from 9-1 they host a market that offers organic vegetables, apples and wraps. Check out both The Outpost and the Cafe on Instagram, and watch their video from Business Unusual.
Camellia Bake Shop
Camellia Bake Shop is a newly opened, women owned business and allergy friendly bakeshop in the Waterloo area. Located at 305 Northfield E, Alisha has opened up an adorable pet friendly cafe. Alisha had always wanted to open up a cafe at a young age and finally got the opportunity to do so. After some storefronts turning them down, she found the perfect building just off of the Health Valley Trail, and the surrounding stores (Linen and Lore and The Timeless Material Company) makes for a lovely afternoon with your pet. Since opening Camellia bake shop has always been a pet friendly store. As soon as you walk in they immediately ask to pet your dog and then serve you some decadent treats and coffee. They offer an outside patio with umbrellas for those sunny days, or you can sit inside as they offer your dog a bed for them to relax. Along with the bed they have water bowls, treats and of course puppuccinos. As for making their own dog treats, that idea is still in the works. Want to see what they’re up to? Check out their Instagram.
Together We’re Bitter (TWB) Co-Operative Brewery
Together We’re Bitter (TWB) is a cooperative brewery located at 300 Mill ST Kitchener, but you can also find booths at the St Jacob’s and Kitchener market. Community supported, Worker Owned, is what's printed on their beer cans and they stand by that tagline. As a co-operative business anyone who works there has a say in the business and if the workers put in 2000 hours they have the opportunity to buy in and become a worker-owner. Some of the worker-owners are tradespeople, an example of that is they have a maintenance team inhouse, which not many breweries do.
TWB has a beautiful patio with umbrellas to give you and your pup some shade or a few tables inside where you can sit and have a house beer. TWB offers a variety of different events including jam sessions every Thursday from 6 pm - 9 pm, starting June 29th, 7:30 pm - 11:00 pm, once a month they are hosting Together We’re Boisterous which is a variety show including stand up comedy, improv and burlesque, and starting July 9th from 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm for every other week, they collaborated with Dog Friendly KW and is doing Barks & Brews Yappy Hour and live music on the patio every Friday. TWB runs fundraising events where proceeds of their sales go towards an organization, more recently organizations like Spectrum Waterloo, American Caribbean Black Waterloo Region and they support local artists like Morningstar designs. Check out more of their events on their Instagram and their video with Business Unusual
Words Worth Books
Open for 35 years, Words Worth Books is an independent bookshop located in Uptown Waterloo at 96 King Street S. Ever since they opened, Words Worth has always been a pet friendly shop allowing your pups inside the store. When walking in you are greeted with a warm welcome and your pups are greeted with a treat that they have stored behind the counter and water bowls outside. Words Worth is a great location to stop at if you’re having a day in Uptown Waterloo especially if you’re with your pet. If you’re a book lover you should definitely check them out on Instagram.
Only a 5 minute drive from our store, Counterpoint Brewing Company on 935 Frederick St, has permanently opened a patio after having it only temporarily for the last 2 years, a great place to take your pet if you love a cold glass of beer. They’re always rotating through beers but love to brew hops, IPAs and pale ales. They always have a dark beer on tap, and recently put out a cream ale and a dessert beer that tastes like a pecan pie. If you’re stopping in to buy some clothing or some beer from the fridge you can bring your dog inside but if you’re sitting down for a drink you and your dog can sit on their patio. Every year, Counterpoint hosts a fundraiser annually for Pound dog rescue and are aiming to host it in September this year. Counterpoint Brewing Company is a community-oriented culture. Every month they have a beer that acts as a fundraiser and proceeds go towards an organization of their choosing. Want to see what they’re up to? Find them on Instagram and Twitter
Lots of cool places and new ideas were talked about throughout this article but we want to hear from you. We only listed 6 places in the KW area. Did we list yours? If not, what’s one of your favourite places to go with your pets.