Desert Companion

When your pet wants to party ...

When pets want to party — or just unwind with their humans — Las Vegas has plenty of doggone good options

Hot Diggity Dog Daycare

Admit it, pet lovers: Sometimes it’s hard to say goodbye to our fluffy, feathered and scaled friends when we leave the house. But after you’ve played in the park, relaxed on the patio of your favorite coffee spot and perused the aisles of a big chain pet store, it’s hard to know where else you and your pets are welcome.

What if your cat wants to hang out at a bar? Or your dog likes to go swimming? Or your ferret enjoys watching movies? You’re in good company. There are a whole litter of businesses in the valley whose pet-friendly policies and perks may surprise you.

You probably know Crown & Anchor (1350 E. Tropicana Ave., 739-8676, as a reliable source of English pub food, drink and sports-watching. They do whatever they can to create an authentic pub atmosphere for their customers, including darts, Stilton cheese — and a pet-friendly patio at their eastside location. When I used to visit my great aunt and uncle in their small English village, we would never walk to the neighborhood pub without their Jack Russell terrier. At Crown & Anchor, visiting pets have to stay on the patio, so maybe they don’t have a great view of the rugby matches on TV, but feel free to order a bowl of water and some dog biscuits for your canine friends. (I’ve also been told that at least one visiting cat on a harness and leash likes to the sit in the beautiful shade tree in the corner.)

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There are a few outdoor shopping districts in the valley where families are welcome to walk their dogs. But Town Square (6605 Las Vegas Blvd. S., has them beat for all-around pet friendliness. There’s the manicured grassy pasture, water stations and well-stocked doggy bags for cleaning up after our friends. Marketing Director Jameson Mapes is particularly fond of the gentleman who brings his ferret for a regular constitutional around the square. In fact, most leash-trained animals are welcome to window shop — even enter many stores — and join their humans for outdoor dining and free summer movies. The summer movie series begins every Tuesday at sundown from June through August.

Town Square

Debra Heiser, who co-owns the Arts Factory with her husband Wes Myles, welcomes pets and their people enjoying themselves on the Bar + Bistro patio (107 E. Charleston Blvd., #155, 202-6060, So, if your pets love bluegrass, jazz, reggae, spoken word or a just a quiet night out, this is the place. Its landscaped patio with table service, full bar and fire pit feels like a friendly backyard party for artists, poets and musicians.

For the athletic family with furry members, Paddle to the Core (567-6128, is waiting for you at Lake Las Vegas. Have you ever seen a goat paddleboard? Owner Kathy Holesapple has. As long as your pet is used to swimming in a properly fitted life jacket, Holesapple encourages pet owners to try paddle boarding with their companions. Pets can be on the paddleboard or just swim behind their owners. “We just want to encourage people to get out with their pets. That’s the bottom line,” she says. If you’re coming with a pet, plan on making reservations for a Wednesday. They prefer pets have their own life jackets, but they’re also available for an additional $10 rental. And if you have recently adopted a local rescue dog, bring in proof of adoption within 30 days and Paddle to the Core will give you and your new furry friend one free paddle session.

[HEAR MORE: Do pit pulls have a bad reputation for no good reason? Hear a discussion  on KNPR's State of Nevada.]

You may have heard of dock diving as a canine sport. But Dock Dogs Las Vegas ( is more than just a competitive organization. It’s a volunteer-run social group promoting health, wellness and fun for both people and dogs. The organized practice diving sessions at places such as Cold Creek and Lake Las Vegas are open to dogs training for matches as well as dogs just having fun. A $35 annual membership includes diving practice and regular seminars for people and dogs taught by veterinary professionals. Learn more about canine chiropractic, summer safety, nutrition and first aid, all while socializing with like-minded dog lovers.

Crown and Anchor patio

If you prefer cocktails to wellness seminars and your dogs like to make new friends, then put Yappy Hour on your calendar. Rumor Boutique Hotel (455 E. Harmon Ave., 877-997-8667, hosts this event 6-9 p.m. on the third Thursday of every month. Humans can relax to the DJ’s mix with drinks and “yappetizers” while dogs play safely on- or off-leash in the hotel’s enclosed courtyard. Big dogs, little dogs, pedigree dogs, rescue dogs — any pooch who’s friendly, obedient and up-to-date on vaccines is welcome. This event attracts a wonderfully diverse crowd of people and dogs — even people without dogs because it’s just so much fun. For a small cover charge, the hotel provides doggie goodie bags, plentiful bowls of water and staff to clean up any doggie accidents.

Where can you go if your dog already has lots of friends? Throw your canine compadre a private birthday party. The amiable and thoroughly professional staff at Hot Diggity Dog Daycare (3290 N. Buffalo Drive, 405-7774, will help you choose a theme, provide costumes, take photographs, order the cake from Three Dog Bakery and send out the email invitations. Only dogs and humans are allowed, and canine guests must show proof of vaccinations before the party can begin. The private party room can comfortably fit up to 20 partying dogs and their people. Party packages start at $50. For that price, you can afford to be just a little eccentric.  

Rebecca Zisch owns Friends Forever Counseling and co-hosts the Meowster Podcast at She is a cat behaviorist, pet grief counselor and veterinary technician.

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