So you’re ready to hit the road with your furry bff to see all of the great sights Canada can offer. Before you hop in the car, you may be wondering what you should pack, how to plan, and finally, where should you go.
Once you have the basics down, now comes the fun part—planning the trip itself! Canada offers some awesome dog-friendly destinations.
Dog-friendly road trip destinations in Canada
Each province offers its own perks. As you map out your destinations, you’ll want to keep the season in mind. You may not want to visit the northern territories in the middle of winter—or maybe you do. Here are just a handful of great destinations across Canada.
Canadian National Parks
Leashed dogs are allowed in most areas of the 47 Canadian national parks, with some areas restricted to protect wildlife. These parks offer breathtaking views, long hiking trails, and pet-friendly accommodations in every province. Some favourites include Banff National Park and Jasper National Park in Alberta, Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Nova Scotia, and Forillon National Park in Quebec.
Vancouver, BC, is the perfect destination for a dog owner and relatively mild in temperature all year round. The city and surrounding area have plenty of dog-friendly attractions, bars, hotels, and off-leash parks. Take your dog for a stroll around famous Stanley Park or Granville Island. Some businesses are dog-friendly—just ask before you bring your dog inside.
The Vancouver Peninsula also has some beautiful dog-friendly hikes and destinations. BC Ferries allow dogs on the car decks so you can feel the wind in your hair and get an up-close view of the Gulf Islands. Once you’re on the peninsula, visit Victoria, BC, with its European-inspired charm and dog-friendly attractions like Butchart Gardens.
Calgary, AB, is another great dog-friendly city, with plenty of off-leash dog parks and gorgeous hiking for outdoorsy types. Call ahead to see which breweries and patios in Calgary are dog-friendly, or take your pet to a dog-friendly attraction, like the Latitude Art Gallery.
If you’re looking to get away from the crowds, take your dog to a pet-friendly lakefront cottage. You can take a swim, play fetch, hop in a canoe, or relax in an Adirondack chair with your dog by your side.
More tips for a successful road trip with your dog in Canada
Book accommodations and map your route ahead of time. Not every hotel will have room for your dog and campsites may be booked early, especially in peak season.
Plan to have your pet with you at all times. Many hotels will not allow you to leave your pet unattended in your room, and you should never leave your pet alone in the car on a warm or especially cold day. This may mean you have to pack a picnic for lunch and stay out of a museum along your journey.
Keep an eye on the weather and any natural disasters like wildfires in the summer or winter storm warnings from fall to spring. Be ready to change your route if needed.
Know the laws of each province you visit. Ontario and Montreal have a breed specific law banning bully breeds who can be seized by law enforcement and even euthanized based on looking like a Pit Bull. If you have a bully breed, or a dog that looks like a bully breed, it may be best to stay out of Ontario or Montreal. Find full details of the law from the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General.
What are some of your favourite road trip destinations in Canada? Share in the comments below!
Kathryn works at Trupanion alongside her little sidekick, a rescued Papillion mix named Modie. She loves all animals big and small but is a dog enthusiast at heart. By the third grade, she had memorized every dog breed and their characteristics and dreamed of being an agility dog trainer or the next Steve Irwin. When not at Trupanion, Kathryn spends her time playing soccer, baking cookies, and exploring the Pacific Northwest with her little sidekick.