Author Kristen Wilke is a Project Manager at Larisa Ortiz Associates

Many downtown organizations host kid-friendly events to attract shoppers to their districts. Well, I don’t have any kids. But what I do have is a puppy, so I (selfishly) present to you a round-up of some dog-focused downtown events.

First some stats:

My dog, Pig, shopping in Brooklyn.
  • According to the American Pet Products Association’s 2011-2012 National Pet Owners Survey, 62% of U.S. households own a pet (72.9 millions homes).  
  • 32% of dog owners take their pets with them in the car when they are away for two or more nights. 

When planning your next downtown event, whether it is for locals or visitors from out of town, consider some pet-friendly programming to attract attendees and increase foot (paw?) traffic. Here is some inspiration:

Annual Pet Parade, Milwaukee, WI
Organizer: Brady Street Business Improvement District
Highlights: Discounts at local businesses during the event, pet parade, pet blessing, Human Bark Contest, tail wagging contest, and pet/owner look alike contest

Annual Pet Parade, San Diego, CA

Gaslamp Pet Parade, via San Diego Pets Magazine


Organizer: Gaslamp Quarter Association
Highlights: Costume contests, pet expo, parade

Downtown Dog Day Afternoon at the Cathedral, Los Angeles, CA
Organizer: Downtown LA (Downtown Center Business Improvement District)
Highlights: Doggy FroYo, pet expo, DJ
The BID’s website also includes itineraries for “Dog-Friendly Tag Alongs” including Beverages with your best wingman, classy dining with your furry pal, and office space for professional pooches.

Boardwaddle, Ocean City, NJ
Organizer: Tri-State Basset Hound Rescue
Highlights: Walk-a-thon for homeless basset hounds, awards to the top 10 pledge-getters, best trick, best costume, best float, and the basset look-alike contest.

Do you have any events or programs to bring pet owners to your community? If so, let us know so we can pay you a visit!