You’ve got dog questions, we’ve got dog answers. Here’s a primer on owning a dog in Charlotte.
Where can I adopt a dog in Charlotte?
Charlotte is home to a number of organizations — from brick and mortar shelters to independent, volunteer-run, foster-backed rescues — working hard to re-home stray, abandoned and surrendered dogs.
If you’re dead set on a certain breed of dog, adoption is still an option. Keep in mind that shelters and rescues do take in purebred animals and some independent organizations are solely dedicated to breed-specific rescue.
Physical Shelter Locations
Independent Volunteer-Backed Dog Rescues
There are dozens of rescues in the Charlotte area. This is in no way a comprehensive list.
Where can I get my dog fixed and vaccinated in Charlotte?
In addition to primary care vet practices, Charlotte has a handful of low-cost clinics that offer affordable vaccination and spay/neuter services.
Humane Society of Charlotte’s Spay Neuter Clinic – 2426 Toomey Avenue, Charlotte NC 28203 – Spay/neuter surgeries are performed weekdays by appointment only ($65 male, $80 female). Low-cost vaccines, microchips and tests are offered on Critter Care Wellness Wednesdays (June – August 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., Fall/Winter 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.).
Spay Neuter Charlotte – 3 Charlotte-area locations; see all – Spay/neuter surgery days are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday ($75 male, $109 female + $15-$30 for dogs over 50 pounds). Low-cost vaccines are available for $15-$25 (no office visit required). Expanded veterinary services are also available and doctor visits are just $25.
Spay Neuter Clinic of the Carolinas – 8045 Providence Road, Charlotte NC 28277 – Spay/neuter services ($75 male, $100-$150 female) and low-cost vaccines and annual shots are available weekdays by appointment.
What should I do if my dog is lost in Charlotte?
Here’s what to do if your dog is lost in Charlotte:
Submit a lost pet report to CMPD Animal Care and Control – To submit a report, call 311 or fill out the lost dog registration form online.
Check the Stray Pets page at CMPD Animal Care and Control – Stray pets that arrive in the shelter are held for 72 hours to allow owners time to reclaim. CMPD AC&C updates its online record of stray and found pets hourly. See all currently held stray and found dogs here.
Create a lost pet flyer – Distribute the flyers near where your pet was last seen. You can also email a digital version to CMPD AC&C at email@example.com and they’ll post it in the lost pets Facebook album.
Reclaim your dog – If you find that your dog has landed at CMPD AC&C, notify the shelter immediately (by calling 311 or by visiting in person) to begin the reclaim process, which involves thorough requirements for proof of ownership. You’ll also expect to pay impound and boarding fees.
Post on the Lost and Found Pets-Charlotte Facebook page – This is an independent page (almost 12,000 members strong) created to help reunite owners and pets.
Does Charlotte have leash laws?
Yes. The city of Charlotte has strict leash laws that require dogs to be leashed in public spaces (excluding dog parks) at all times. The same is true for all of Mecklenburg County.
Even in your own yard, a dog should only be loose if it is fenced (physical or electric) or tethered or if the owner is directly next to it and it responds obediently to verbal commands.
Walking your dog unleashed but with the leash in your hand is still considered a violation of the leash law. The dog must be actively restrained.
Leash law violations can result in fines of $50 for the first offense to $500 and permanent seizure of the dog after the fifth offense.
What are the best dog-friendly hangouts in Charlotte?
Dog-Friendly Charlotte Bars
These are the bars where your dog can come inside and run around off leash.
Lucky Dog Bark & Brew – 2220 Thrift Road, Charlotte NC 28208 – An indoor/outdoor bar for the humans and fenced play area for the dogs. Your dog must be fixed and vaccinated to enter. They also offer daycare, boarding and grooming services. It’s basically a dog wonderland.
The Dog Bar – 3307 North Davidson Street, Charlotte NC 28205 – Well behaved dogs that are fixed, vaccinated and over 1 year old can hang out off leash at this laid back watering hold. Just get an annual membership for $10 and show proof of rabies vaccination.
Hattie’s Tap & Tavern – 2918 The Plaza, Charlotte NC 28205 – Your dog is free to roam the fenced patio and inside the bar.
Dog-Friendly Charlotte Bakeries
Where to go to get elaborate treats made with dog-friendly ingredients because obviously you celebrate your dog’s birthday
Canine Cafe – 125 Remount Road, Charlotte NC 28203 – Stop by for treats like cannoli, petit fours, cookies, pizza and elaborate “birthday pawty” cakes free of salt, sugar, sweeteners, dyes, fillers and preservatives. Sorry, not for people.
Barks, Bones & Biscuits – 11300-B Lawyers Road, Mint Hill NC 28227 – Homemade dog-friendly baked goods from traditional biscuits to “pupcakes” and “woofles”.
Dog-Friendly Charlotte Breweries
Although dogs are no longer allowed inside taprooms due to a recent health department crackdown, they can still hang out with you (leashed!) on the outdoor patios unless otherwise specified. There’s a chance some breweries will still let dogs into the taproom if they don’t have a foodservice permit that prohibits it.
Dog-Friendly Restaurant Patios in Charlotte
Many Charlotte restaurants and bars allow well-behaved, leashed dogs on their outdoor patios. This is in no way a comprehensive round up but will give you a starter list of go-to places where you can get food with your dog in tow.
Angry Ale’s – 1518 Montford Drive, Charlotte NC 28209
Brazwell’s – 1627 Montford Drive, Charlotte NC 28209 and 11318 North Community House Road, Charlotte NC 28277
Cantina 1511 – 4721 Park Road, Charlotte NC 28209
Jack Beagle’s – 3213 North Davidson Street, Charlotte NC 28205
Lebowski’s – 1524 East Boulevard, Charlotte NC 28203
Mac’s Speed Shop – 2511 South Boulevard, Charlotte NC 28203
Moo & Brew – 1300 Central Avenue, Charlotte NC 28205
Pizza Peel Plaza Midwood – 1600 Central Avenue, Charlotte NC 28205
RuRu’s Tacos & Tequila – 715 Providence Road, Charlotte NC 28207
Seoul Food Meat Co. – 1400 South Church Street, Charlotte NC 28203
Thomas Street Tavern – 1218 Thomas Avenue, Charlotte NC 28205
VBGB – 920 Hamilton Street, Charlotte NC 28206
Zada Jane’s – 1601 Central Avenue, Charlotte NC 28205
Related story: 12 unexpected places you can bring your dog in Charlotte
Related story: The 10 best restaurant patios for people with pups
Where are the best dog parks in Charlotte?
Mecklenburg County dog parks are open daily 7:30 a.m. to sunset and are all free to access. To utilize off-leash areas, your dog must be up to date on rabies, DHLPP and bordatella vaccines. NOTE: Children under 12 are not allowed in dog parks.
William R. Davie District Park – 4635 Pineville-Matthews Road, Charlotte NC 28226
Reedy Creek Park – 2900 Rocky River Rd, Charlotte NC 2821
Frazier Park – 1201 W 4th Street Ext, Charlotte NC 28202
Where can I turn for doggy daycare, dog boarding and dog walking services in Charlotte?
In-home sitting and dog walking services in Charlotte
The Waggle Company – A tech-savvy, on-demand, Charlotte-based petsitting service offering in-home visits and walks from 10 minutes ($10) to a full hour ($30). It’s easy to book online and they provide you with photos and a map of your pet’s experience.
Little Friends Pet Sitting – Offers in-home visits and walks from 10 minutes ($10) to a full hour ($35) as well as overnight care, pet taxi and errand services. Online scheduling available.
Fluffs of Love – Offers visits and walks from 20 minutes ($16) to 45 minutes ($28) as well as “yard doo-doo cleanup” and overnight care services. Online scheduling available.
Boarding and daycare services in Charlotte
Most doggy daycares in Charlotte are $25 – $30 per day with volume discounts and monthly memberships available. Check our guide to 6 Charlotte doggy daycares below for a break down on pricing, application process and other details.
Related story: Confessions of Charlotte’s doggy daycare workers
What are the must-do dog-friendly events in Charlotte?
Pet Palooza – An annual festival and 2K walk benefitting the Humane Society of Charlotte. There’s a vendor fair, live music, food, a beer garden and an interactive agility course for the dogs.
Bark in the Ballpark – Dog-friendly promo nights at select Charlotte Knights games.
Rescue Me 5K – American Pit Bull Foundation’s annual race at McAlpine Creek Park benefitting Operation Sidekick, a program that trains rescue dogs to work as service dogs for veterans battling PTSD
Header photo at Lucky Dog by The Dog Photog