Dog-Friendly Hartford Area

By Marilyn Marks

Hartford has become “hip,” at least as far as dogs are concerned. Day cares, parks and bakeries especially for dogs have long been popular in “way cool” California and “sophisticated” NYC. Now you can enjoy these things in and around Hartford.

Day care for dogs?

Kids need a place to learn social rules and to get out their excess energy, so why not dogs? Here is a list of dog day care facilities in the Hartford area (alphabetical by town):

– Bloomfield, The Good Dog Spot!
– Colchester, John Gagnon’s Dog House
– Farmington, Canine Clubhouse
– Glastonbury, Central K9
– Manchester, The Dog House
– Manchester, Canine Country Day School
– Newington, Behavior Bound Canines
– Newington, CT K9
– Rocky Hill, Best Friends Resort
– South Windsor, Brady’s Place
– West Hartford, Planet Dog

Be sure to check out the facility thoroughly; your dog’s safety depends on the ability of the staff to select friendly dogs and control the play. There is a new dog day care opening up every minute, so look for one near you soon!

Dog parks?

In NYC where space for everyone is at a premium, dog loving owners have lobbied for and received specific fenced-in areas where dogs can romp, tug and wrestle while the owners chat. In CA, dog parks are often much larger open spaces where dogs and owners are free to hike and hang out.

In the Hartford area, Granby & West Hartford are in the process of creating space for dogs. Granby has agreed to space in Salmon Brook Park and West Hartford is determining feasibility. You can contact the Granby group at 653-4090. Watch the West Hartford papers for info on the development of the West Hartford park or try [email protected] In Avon, there is Nod Brook off of Rte. 10/202. This open space hosts hunt trials and allows dogs off leash for hunt-training purposes. When not being used for trials, others can romp there too, but must respect the dogs in training.

At you will find a list of other places where local “dog people” congregate to exercise their dogs. Most Connecticut State Parks allow dogs but leashes are required. Find specific parks at The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy has a Farmington River Trail and a Stratton Brook Trail.

Bakeries for dogs?

If you haven’t been to the Three Dog Bakery on Farmington Avenue in West Hartford Center, you’ve missed quite a sight. The bakery case has cookies and cakes that look delectable, but only dogs would like them. Made with human-grade ingredients but without sugar, they taste bland to us but the dogs eat ‘em up. Right across the street is a store called Reigning Cats & Dogs. Along with a few baked goods, they sell select gifts for people and pets as well as super premium dog foods. In Granby, check out Pampered Paws where you will find doggie delicacies and the best in dog foods Glastonbury has The Animal Bath House, which has delightful dog-themed gifts for people as well as top-of-the line dog foods.

Until recently, dog and owners could enjoy many restaurants with outdoor seating in West Hartford Center. Unfortunately, State Health Codes prohibit this use and the town has recently cracked down on enforcement due to complaints. Dogs are allowed to sit outside the fencing while owners dine, but space and dog behavior limit feasibility. Nevertheless, you will find many people walking well-behaved dogs in West Hartford Center at almost any time of the day or night. Many stores have dog bowls out in front for the dogs and some permit dogs to browse inside, on-leash, with their owner.

Whenever you’re out enjoying life with your dog, remember to be respectful of others who may be less dog-crazy than you: pick up poops & handle your dog with care that he/she not be a menace.

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