We all need a little vacay from the daily perils of life now and then – work, school, bills – but that doesn’t mean we want to take a break from man’s best friend. On the contrary, statistics show that hanging out with your furry companions actually helps you relax even more. Thankfully, Houston is a city that has a growing number of hot spots that show lots of love to those four-legged friends. The Dog-Friendly Houston organization actively advocates for businesses to become more accommodating to pooches, so now when you visit the Bayou City, Fido can have just as good a time as you.

Restaurants

If there’s one thing Houston is known for, it’s the plethora of restaurants that blanket the city, and some of the most popular eateries welcome dogs to dine alongside their owners. Sit outside and enjoy Houston’s ever-changing weather on the dog-friendly patio at The Barking Pig or check out budget-friendly Barnaby’s Café in Midtown. A few other puppy-friendly diners include Good Dog Houston, Backstreet Café, Tacos a Go Go, and Liberty Café.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Bars

Happy hour just got a lot more happy at Porch Swing Pub, where there are 38 beers on tap and a spot for Spot to hang out. Black Labrador Pub loves dogs so much, it’s named after one, so you know you and your favorite pet can have a good time here. Check out Axelrad, Saint Dane’s and Cottonwood.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Pet Salons

You’re not the only one who enjoys a great spa day on vacation. Houston has a number of pet salons that specialize in pampering your dog. So while you’re out having a blast around town, leave your pooch in good hands over at Dog House Pet Salon. Don’t fret. You can check in on your dog through their pet cam. If you’re staying in for the day, Haute Pets Salon will come to you to give your pet a massage, a puppy pedicure, dental checkup and more. A couple of other options include A Dog’s Dream and John Andrews Pet Spa.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Parks

There is no shortage of parks in Houston, including dog parks, where you can hang out, meet cool people and have a doggie date with other pets. The Bay Area Dog Park features a fenced-in area with separate sections for small and large dogs as well as plenty of open space to burn off some energy.  If you’re staying downtown, Discovery Green is one of the best places to hang out with your dog, and Hermann and Tranquility parks are not far away. Be sure to bring a leash.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Dog Day at Minute Maid Park

September is the perfect time of year to visit Houston (anytime is great, really) because the weather is mild and the Astros are at play. It’s also when you can enjoy “Dog Day” at Minute Maid Park. While the team is scoring on the field, you can catch the Pooch Parade and the Bark at the Park Vendor Alley. And you can’t miss doggies dressed up during the Houston PetTalk Magazine Costume Contest.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Beach Trip

What’s a vacation without a little beach action? We’ve got that covered for you and your dog. Public beaches on Galveston island are just a quick drive away (less than an hour), or you can head to Freeport and toss a frisbee with man’s best friend and get a little sand between your toes. If you prefer to avoid the beach but still take a dip, try the warm waters of Rummy’s Beach Club, a private swimming pool for dogs and their two-legged owners.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Dog Show

All dogs go to heaven… or The Houston World Series of Dog Shows. This 5-day annual event takes place in July and offers everything a dog lover can imagine. A doggie dance contest, breed judging, art show, vendors, dog house competition, silent auction and so much more await thousands of canine enthusiasts. You can even enter your dog to compete in a few contests while you’re here.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Hotels

There’s nothing better to help take the worry away from traveling than finding great dog-friendly hotels, and Houston’s got a bunch. The posh Le Meridien Hotel allows guests to bring dogs under 50 pounds for overnight stays. The Sam Houston Hotel, also downtown, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and offers 100 rooms from which to choose for you and your pet. Aloft Houston in the Galleria area goes all out for your dog, with a bed, bowl, treats and toys, so your furry friend will has much fun as you do.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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With so many options for you and your dog to have a great time in the Bayou City, you may decide to turn that Houston vacation into calling Houston home.