Everyone knows how the saying goes, dogs are your best friend. Another heartbeat in the house, a wagging tail that greets you every time you come home, and someone that will literally never judge you or your poor decisions. But our hearts just break when every day we have to pack up, go to work and we have to shut the door on those big puppy eyes that stare into our souls.
To all the dogs out there calling for an intervention, this one is for you. We present to you the ultimate guide to Melbourne’s dog-friendly cafes, events, groomings and parks. We hope to see all those dogs out and about within the next few weeks, we’ll be waiting for them.
Dedicated Dog Cafes
Melbourne’s first dedicated dog cafe, Dog House, can be found in the heart of Collingwood along Johnston Street. With a gated courtyard for dogs to dine on the special of the day, such as chicken-flavoured pup-corn, turkey muffins and brisket bones, they can also chase this down with a dogachino. Inside, your furry little friend can also be spoilt by a pampering sesh in the wash, cut and dry area, or try on a huge range of accessories and costumes (your dog won’t know whether to hate you or love you). Getting home late this week? Pick up some organic meat to take-away so your little pup will forgive you quicker for leaving them. Looking for an excuse to party? The Dog House doubles as a venue for weddings and birthday parties. Make sure you make your little friend knows how much they’re appreciated.
The Dog Café
Open Thursday to Sunday, the Dog Café will be your dog’s favourite new hangout. We’re not kidding. We’re talking swimming pools, sandpits and a movie room with beanbags and couches. The dog food will put your cooking to shame, with doggy doughnuts, muffins, lollipops and more. The food is just as good for humans, so this is the perfect meeting spot for a playdate. They also cater for doggy parties which is absolutely pawfect (sorry) for your next celebration. You’ll be dragging your furbaby away from here.
The Farm Café (Abbotsford) | This outdoor café is calling all animals - they can even venture around the grounds of the Convent after (double points).
West Beach Bathers Pavilion (St Kilda) | Two pugs literally got married here in 2015 and if that isn’t enough to convince you, I don’t know what will. Grab a drink and your dog and watch the sunset over the glorious bay.
Welcome to Thornbury (Northcote) | This permanent food truck park is the perfect place to unwind, de-stress and let the dogs out.
The Great Northern (North Fitzroy) | The Great Northern doesn’t just allow dogs, they encourage them. Make sure to bring your pooch to your next Sunday drinks, and even take a picture to be featured on their dog-dedicated Instagram @dogs_of_gnh
A Minor Place (Brunswick) | They seriously love dogs at A Minor Place - so if your dog has had a rough week and you want to treat them to a bit of a B.L.A.T., head to this beloved converted cottage.
Edinburgh Castle (Brunswick) | Who knew that Brunswick’s longest-standing pub has a big dog-friendly beer garden? Dogs, that’s who.
The Palace Hotel (South Melbourne) | Looking for a good spot for the next hot date night with your dog? The Palace Hotel has you covered with their alluring beer garden overlooked by the resident dog Billy the Staffy.
Dish & Spoon (Camberwell) | Uncover one of Melbourne’s best-kept secrets at Dish & Spoon. There’s even a special doggy door for your four-legged friend to enter the awesome, dog-friendly courtyard.
Leonard's House Of Love (South Yarra) | This dive bar is the perfect spot for a Sunday session with your mates, and your dog.
GOURMET PAWPRINTS DOG-FRIENDLY EXPERIENCES
From high teas to winery tours to picnics, Gourmet Pawprints has an experience for all dogs no matter what their shape, size or interests are. Each experience is designed to be effortless and enjoyable, so whether you’re having a glass of wine, trekking around Phillip Bay or enjoying a picnic at Hanging Rock, you can now bring your furbaby with you on all your adventures.
ROYAL MELBOURNE ALL BREEDS CHAMPIONSHIP SHOW
Entries have officially opened for Australia’s leading dog competition, The Royal Melbourne All Breeds Championship Show. Does winning prizes, discounted tickets and getting your dog assessed by experienced, world-accomplished judges sound good to you? If you don’t want to participate, you can still go and enjoy the show between 21-28 September. Get those cameras out and at the ready, and be prepared for hundreds of dogs to melt your heart.
Doggy Fashion & Grooming
Diggidy Doggy Daycare
Multi-award-winning Diggiddy Doggy Daycare is here as a comforting option for you when you need someone to care for your little furry friend. Located in South Melbourne, Diggiddy Doggy Daycare is here with not only daycare support, but lifestyle help too. If your dog needs a bath, haircut or paw-dicure then look no further. The team are certified in animal care and trained in canine CPR, so you can relax and know your little friend is getting more than enough attention (and cuddles).
Divine Dog Grooming Saloon
Another award-winning salon hits our list, this time located in Mulgrave. Divine Dog Grooming Salon prides itself on gentle handling and stress-free experiences for doggies. If you really want, you can even get your dog a semi-permanent hair colour. No, we’re not kidding. We’re also not kidding when we say that they can also have a spa day filled with mud wraps and ‘paw packs’. Is it weird if we’re semi-jealous of our dogs?
Want your dog to be the coolest one on the streets? You better grab your dog and head to Hachi then. A boutique pet shop selling luxury clothing, accessories and homewares for dogs (and cats). Looking for something more? How does a private photo session in their Pet Photo Studio sound to you? Your dog is going to feel spoilt rotten by the time you walk out of Hachi.
THE PAW PRINCIPALITY
Have a special event coming up soon but no outfit? Fear not, The Paw Principality is here to save you (well actually, your dog). We’re talking bowties, ballet dresses, suspender pants, fur jackets and much, much more. Your furbaby is going to be looking sharp and slick when they strut out of here. If you’re also in need or a backpack carrier or car seat box, this is where to shop. You can also find a few toys and food treats here too if you’re running low.
Dog-Friendly Parks & Beaches
Altona Dog Beach | West is best, and Altona Beach is providing us with the goods. It has plenty of water bowls and bins though it’s probably best to bring your own poop bags.
Caulfield Dog Park | Located in Princess Park in Caulfield South, the off-leash Caulfield Dog Park is so popular it basically enables dog speed-dating.
Citizens Park | A destination for dog lovers in Richmond as well as local footy and cricket teams, dogs are allowed off-leash when the grounds are not in use.
Edinburg Gardens | If you’re in need of petting a dog, look no further than Edinburgh Gardens. You’ll be guaranteed to find on in their off-leash area
St Kilda Dog Beach | Technically there are three spots along the St Kilda foreshore that permit dogs to roam free, but we like the West Beach the best.
And if you're looking for the best food, and treats for your doggo friend, look no further than The Pet Grocer in South Melbourne.
A big thanks to the star of our header image @gusthegroodle.
Image credit: Griffin Simm