Many visitors to Perth notice how many dogs there are around. While we don’t know the stats for Perth in particular, we do know that 62% of Australian households own a pet. Of these, 38% are dog owners (Source: Canstar).
In other words, there are estimated to be 4.8 million dogs in Australia. With a human population of just over 24 million, that’s quite a lot. So, if there are that many dogs around… is Perth Dog-Friendly?
What Makes Perth Dog-Friendly
To give you the answer straight away, it depends on who you’re asking and to where you compare it. Booo. Boring, I know. So let’s dig a bit deeper into the topic, shall we?
Overall, it’s fair to assume that the general population in Perth likes dogs. Loves dogs. Is obsessed with dogs. Ok, I might be biased here, but if this wasn’t the case, I don’t think the dog ownership rate would be so high. We also wouldn’t see so many people walk their dogs, and we certainly wouldn’t have so many dedicated dog exercise areas and dog beaches.
There are plenty of dog-friendly activities you can participate in if you have a dog in Perth. Dog owners are a friendly bunch too, and having a well-trained dog will likely make you more social (check out this article from the Harvard Medical School: Pets can help their humans create friendships, find social support).
What Doesn’t Make Perth Dog-Friendly
Having said all that, there are some laws and regulation that might make you think that Perth as a city is not so dog-friendly after all.
1) You can’t take dogs on public transportation
If you’ve been to Europe or the US, you might have noticed dogs on public transport. Take Austria, for example, where dogs are allowed on all forms of public transport (as long as you buy a ticket for your dog).
Or NYC, where dogs are allowed on the subway, as long as they’re in a carrier. In Perth however, no animals are permitted on any of the public transport services or facilities, unless they’re assistance dogs.
2) Dogs are not allowed inside food premises
In many countries across the world, it’s not a big deal if you bring a dog inside food premises. At least there aren’t legal regulations, but rather it’s up to the business owner if they choose to allow dogs inside food premises or not.
In Australia however, it’s prohibited to allow live animals in areas where food is handled (does not apply to assistance animals). This usually results in dogs not being allowed inside, whereas the business owner may allow pet dogs in outside dining areas.
3) Travel restrictions
As mentioned at the start of this article, when it comes to the dog-friendliness of Perth it really depends on who you ask and where you compare it to. When I think about dog-friendly travel options overseas, I think about pretty dog-friendly hotels in London. Like, normal, nice hotels that allow dogs. They’re not specifically dog hotels, dogs are just welcome guests alongside others. Around Perth, we often have to be happy if we can find a dog-friendly campground, caravan park, or Airbnb. It’s just more limited and restricted.
Another thing that pops to mind when thinking of dog-friendly holidays overseas is that you can bring small dogs inside the cabin on planes in Europe! I mean, think about it – how awesome would it be to fly somewhere with your dog on your lab?
4) The difficulty of finding pet-friendly homes to rent
Similar to the dog-friendly accommodation when travelling, it’s often difficult to find a rental home that allows dogs (according to data from rent.com.au only 13% of rental properties have been labelled as pet-friendly).
Speaking from personal experience, if you do find a place that will consider applications with dogs, it’s often a very old house where you end up paying a premium for the ‘luxury’ of being allowed to put a dog on the lease.
5) Lack of pet-friendly policies for the workplace
For many people, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to bring their dog to work with them due to a lack of pet-friendly policies for the workplace.
Even if you’re lucky enough to have an employer who won’t mind you bringing your dog, there are often policies for the overall building in which the office is located. Those policies can restrict you from being able to bring your dog despite your employer’s approval.
Summary: Is Perth Dog-Friendly?
While the overall attitude of the general population is very positive towards dogs, when it comes to infrastructure, laws and regulations, there are certainly some things we could improve.
The more dog-friendly a city is, the more opportunities there are to bring our dogs with us. Doesn’t that sound nicer than leaving our dogs home alone for most of the day? It seems to work in many countries overseas, so what’s keeping us from making public spaces more inclusive for dogs in Australia?