The Best Places for Dogs (& Dog Parents) in Iowa City

As a recent first-time dog mom, I wanted to scope out all of the local favorites for furry friends before bringing my little Cannoli home. I’d much rather go local when it comes to providing for my little pupper over the big name pet stores any day. Here are a few of my absolute favorites!

Thornberry Off-leash Dog Park

I’m lucky to live within walking distance of Thornberry, Iowa City’s own off-leash dog park. Cannoli isn’t old enough to go just yet – dogs have to be at least 16 weeks old and have proper licenses to use the space – but once he’s of age he’s sure to be a regular! Thornberry has 11 acres of space divided up into sections to suit any dog’s playtime needs. From the Small Dog Yard for shorter puppers to Lily’s Pond for the water lovers, there’s room for fun for everyone.


Woofables is a doggie bakery located just off of Route 6 in Coralville. They sell gourmet dog biscuits on site and ship them to doggie boutiques throughout the United States. As a health coach turned dog mom, I was super excited to find out that Woofables makes all of their human-grade treats with locally sourced ingredients. And all of them are soy- and corn-free! Cannoli is particularly fond of their cannoli cookies (of course), but Woofables makes tons of seasonal and sport specific cookies, too. Pop on in and find a new favorite treat for your furry friend!

Leash on Life

Leash on Life is a locally-owned pet supply store that opened back in 2006. It has been providing high quality pet supplies and healthy pet food alternatives ever since. The staff is super friendly and knowledgeable about all things dog-related, and they’re even willing to help find products for you that they may not carry in stock. If you want to drop in, you have two locations to choose from: the flagship off of Highway 1 in Iowa City, and a second store on Pacha Parkway in North Liberty. Bring your pupper along and let him or her pick out a new favorite toy!

Dog Friendly Restaurants

The weather is finally starting to improve and patio season will be here before you know it. Once the snow finally clears, many restaurants across Iowa City open their patios to patrons and their furry friends! Bluebird Diner and Pullman Bar & Diner are two you can find downtown, and Marquee Pizzeria and Backpocket Brewing are great spots in the Iowa River Landing. Big Grove, a brewery near the river, even has a special “Dogs of Big Grove” Instagram account to show off all of the brew pups at their brew pub. Go on out and soak up the sun, grab a bite to eat, and relax with your doggo.

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