According to a recent survey by Toronto-based Logit Group, over one-half of Canadians currently have a pet in their household and of those 55% have a dog. Looking at the stats provincially, residents of British Columbia and the Prairies are more likely to own a dog compared to any other region.

So, that means there are approximately 20 million people in Canada who own pets and of those 11 million have dogs. If British Columbia accounts for 13% of the country’s population, then a rough estimate would place a minimum of 1,430,000 dog owners in the province. That’s a lot of puppies! But where should we take them all?

We humbly recommend Castlegar. We’re a very dog-friendly city as evidenced by the many grooming establishments, pet stores, and veterinarian clinics here. Plus we have plenty of lakeside walks, forested hikes, and spectacular viewpoints for Fido, Fluffy, and Ferdinand to enjoy. In this article we list our favourites as well as stores, clinics, and even a brewery where dogs are allowed on and off leash.


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Before we get to that list, here are a few safety tips to remember when going out with your puppy:

  • For the safety of other people, dogs, and wildlife, please abide by the rules and keep your pet on a leash except in areas where they’re allowed off leash.
  • Always remember to carry doggy bags and pick up after your pet.
  • If going for an extended hike, bring snacks, a bowl, and water for your dog, especially in the summer months when smaller streams dry up.
  • Never leave your pet in the car on a hot day.
  • Remember that hot pavement in the summer months can damage your pet’s feet. Stay off it on particularly warm days. And during the winter, regularly inspect their paws for ice that can collect between their pads and cut the sensitive skin there.
Hanging out at Cycology bike shop. Photo by Ryan Flett.

Hiking Trails For Your Dog In Castlegar

There are dozens of trails, forest service roads and pathways in and around Castlegar where your dog will love to roam. Our favourite off-leash zones include the Selkirk College Trails and the Mir Centre For Peace, also located at Selkirk College, because they are easy to get to and offer large, open spaces and a variety of terrain from river banks to maintained pathways. Other excellent trails where your dog must remain on a leash include the following:

Going for a rip with the pup. Lee Orr photo.

Off-Leash Parks For Your Dog In Castlegar

In another article we wrote about 18 reasons why Millennium Park is the best urban park in the Kootenays and one of the reasons listed was the fact there are four off-leash dog walking areas. The 23-hectare park is located only five blocks from downtown Castlegar and boasts everything from natural swimming ponds to the largest bike park in the region. There’s also a dog-friendly riverside zone where pups can explore untethered, a small dog area, a large dog area, and a spacious run with a pond where they can all mingle. Eighteen kilometres from downtown, on Broadwater Road, is Syringa Provincial Park where you’ll find another expansive off-leash dog beach on the shores of Lower Arrow Lake. Also, if the water levels of the lake are low, there are many spots along Broadwater Rd. from Rialto FSR to Syringa where you can stop and let your pup explore the rocky beaches.

On the patio at Tailout Brewing. Andrea Ryman photo.

On-Leash Parks For Your Dog In Castlegar

You can take your dog pretty much anywhere in Castlegar provided it’s on a leash but there are some specific green spaces and parks that we recommend. The first is Millennium Park because, as mentioned above, it’s located close to downtown and there are four off-leash dog areas but there are many other walks where dogs on leashes are welcome including the Twin Rivers Trail, the Millennium Walkway, and Zuckerberg Island.

Dog-Friendly Stores And Restaurants In Castlegar

There are many locations in Castlegar where you and your pup are welcome provided they are on a leash and one of our favourites is the Farmer’s Market, which takes place at the CPR Station Museum every Saturday from 9am to 1pm during the warmer months. Your dog is also welcome on the patios at Lions Head Smoke and Brew Pub in Robson and Tailout Brewing, Castlegar’s first brew pub located at 1810 8th Avenue. Here are some more stores where you can take your dog on a leash:

  • Pharmasave
  • LifeStyles
  • BMO
  • Home Hardware
  • Canadian Tire
  • Cycology

Dog Services In Castlegar

Whether you’re looking for the latest in puppy chew toys, or want to sheer Fluffy’s unruly locks, there are plenty of places in Castlegar to consider. Or, if you’re too busy to get out for a stroll with your pet, there are multiple dog-walking services in the city including Mountain Paws, Unleashed Dog Adventures, and Into The Wild Off Leash Adventures. You’ll also find vet clinics including Arrow Lake Veterinary Hospital and Castlegar Veterinary Hospital. Here’s a list of pet supply stores and grooming establishments:

  • Hair of The Dawg
  • Julie’s Dog House Grooming
  • Fido’s Bubbles
  • Kootenay Critters Pet Care and Supplies
  • Pet Valu
  • Blue Barn Pet and Hobby Farm