Pet Safety and Etiquette

In Durango, CO

Everybody loves to bring their favorite furry companion with them on adventures, and Durango is the perfect place! There are many hiking trails, lakes, and vibrant shops on Main Avenue to explore with your four-legged friends.

While in Durango, keeping your pet safe and respecting proper etiquette will help your trip go smoothly!

Here are some things to keep in mind when visiting Durango with your pet:

Pet Safety in Durango

Make sure your dog, cat, or other traveling pet stays safe with these tips!

Pet Safety in the Car/Parking Lots

Traveling with your pet makes adventure even more fun in Durango. Make sure your pet gets to the destination ready for adventure!

  • The safest way to travel with your dog in the car is to put them in a crate.

  • Place dog crates in the back of the vehicle, not on the back seat.

  • Do not let dogs or other pets ride with their head out the window - This puts them at risk of being hit with debris.

  • Cats should be put into a crate or carrier to help them feel secure.

  • Don’t leave your pet in the car, especially in the summer. The internal temperature of the car will rise quickly during Durango’s hot summers and puts your pet at risk for heatstroke or possibly death.

  • Put pets in your vehicle instead of in a truck bed, as an open truck bed makes pets more vulnerable in a rear-end collision. 

  • Ensure that pavement is not too hot for your dog or cat's paws by holding your hand to the pavement for 7-10 seconds - If you can’t hold your hand on the pavement, it may burn your pet's paws.

Pet Safety on the Trails

  • Bring water, a portable bowl, and snacks.

  • Have your pet wear booties on rough terrain, hot days, or for an extended time in the snow.

  • Teach and practice reliable recall and commands before getting on the trail - this will help your pet be well-mannered and stay safe when seeing wildlife.

  • Use a sturdy collar and a six-foot leash.

  • Make sure your pet is physically fit enough for the hike.

Pet Safety on the River/Lakes/Water

  • If you are unsure of your pet’s swimming ability while at Lake Nighthorse or at the Animas River, start out in the water with them and slowly introduce them to swimming.

  • Have your pet wear a life jacket if they are not a strong swimmer.

  • Check the water temperature and make sure it is appropriate for the breed

  • Rinse off your pet after swimming to remove any bacteria that may be in the water.

Pet Safety in Your Hotel, Motel, or VRBO

  • Make sure your pet is fully vaccinated and has its rabies shots.

  • Inspect your pet for fleas before entering.

  • Bring your pet’s medical records in case of emergency.

  • Inspect the room for forgotten small items, pills, or food that your pet might eat.

Pet Safety in Parks, Downtown, or Around Other People/Pets

  • When taking your pet to the park by the Animas River, know how your pet acts around other people and pets before letting them off-leash.

  • Take note of anything your pet eats- natural or unnatural.

  • Observe the behavior of other pets before letting your pet interact with them.

Pet Etiquette in Durango

Having a well-behaved pet is an important part of being a respectful visitor. Follow our local laws and recommendations so you can leave with more friends than you came with!

Durango’s Leash Laws

It is required that all pets are on a leash and not tied along the public streets within the city limits of Durango. 

Pets within sight and obedient to voice commands are allowed off-leash in Durango's many dog/pet parks, the Weminuche Wilderness Area, and the San Juan National Forest.

Pet Etiquette in Parks, Downtown, or Around Other People/Pets

  • Train your pet to reliably respond to recall and obedience commands like come, sit, stay,  leave it, and good leash behavior.

  • Use a short leash for courtesy to other people.

  • Ask permission before allowing your pet to play with other pets.

  • Have your pet stay near you at all times.

Pet Etiquette on the Trails

  • Check to see if your pet is allowed on each specific trail.

  • Obey leash laws.

  • Carry out waste in a bag.

  • Keep your pet on the trail to keep flora and fauna and other creatures alive.

  • Don’t allow your pet to disturb wildlife.

  • Only bring a friendly pet on the trails.

  • Store pet food in bear-resistant containers.

Pet Etiquette in Your Hotel, Motel, or VRBO

  • Follow pet-specific rules.

  • Never leave your pet alone.

  • Make sure your dog is housetrained or your cat is litterbox trained.

  • Don’t allow your dog to bark excessively.

  • Clean hair out of tubs if you bathe your pet.

Pet Resources/Organizations

There are plenty of resources for your pet in Durango. Food, life jackets, toys, and emergency veterinary services are easily accessible in the downtown Durango area. 


We all love our pets but must remember that no pet is perfect. As an owner, it is your responsibility to make sure your pet is safe, well-behaved, and courteous to other people. Prioritizing pet safety and etiquette in Durango helps keep trails, parks, hotels, and other public places open to our furry friends!