By Erica Radhakrishnan


Springtime is just around the corner.  With the warmer weather, comes an increase in outdoor and social activity, of which, man’s best friend is often a part.  Lexington is an exceptionally pet-friendly community demonstrated by its number of pet-related businesses.  However, many establishments that are not animal specific are also opening their doors to our four-legged friends.

There are a number of restaurants with pet-friendly patios located in several areas around town including Hamburg, Chevy Chase and Downtown.  Bluegrass Paw Print and Bring Fido have a list of canine-welcoming restaurants, hotels, activities and events on their websites and Facebook pages.   They advise that you call ahead to be informed of any legal or policy changes.

Bars and breweries are also starting to welcome dogs at their establishments including Pivot Brewing, Rock House Brewing, West Sixth, Ethereal, Mirror Twin Brewing Company, Arcadium and Blue Stallion.  Dogs must be on a leash but permitted in areas such as the patio, beer garden or event spaces.  

Again, be sure to call ahead or check out their websites to verify their dog-related policies.

If you are need of some fruits and vegetables or need to pick up a bouquet of flowers for your Saturday date night, a stroll to the Lexington Farmer’s Market with your canine companion will fit the bill.  The main market located at 241 W. Main Street is open on Saturdays from 8 am to 1 pm through March, and 7 am to 2 pm April through October.  This is a great spot to visit with your dog.

If you are more of a sports guy, then running in a local dog-friendly race or catching a game at the ballpark with Fido may be more your speed.  The Lexington Legends began hosting Bark-in-the-Park events several years ago, and they are extremely popular.  The dates for the 2018 season are 4/5, 4/19, 5/10, 5/24, 6/14, 6/21, 7/19, 8/9, 8/23 and 8/30.  There is a $2 dog-entry fee in addition to your ticket price.  The proceeds go to benefit a local, animal non-profit organization.

Maybe you and your pup prefer to commune with nature.  If so, then check out a local dog park, the University of Kentucky Arboretum, or spend some time at the Kentucky Horse Park.   Lexington is home to four large dog parks located in Coldstream Park, Jacobson Park, Masterson Station Park and Wellington Park.  Dogs must be leashed when entering or exiting the park, licensed, current on vaccinations and supervised closely when off leash within the dog park confines.  Both the Arboretum and Horse Park allow leashed dogs in their outdoor spaces.

Regardless of the social environment, be sure to follow proper dog etiquette.  Dogs should be in control which means they should be on a leash unless in an approved off-leash area.  They should be healthy, licensed and vaccinated.  Owners must clean up after their pets.  Carefully introduce your pet to new settings.  Unfamiliar environments, sounds and smells can raise anxiety and lead to poor behavior.  Finally, always supervise your pet to help them adapt and socialize making the experience positive for you and your furry friend.