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Are Dogs Allowed At The Zoo? 3 Surprising Answers (2023)

Are Dogs Allowed At The Zoo

Like most fur parents…

You want to bring Fido everywhere you can. 

And this time…

You’re visiting the zoo. 

Oh, the thought of it just excites you. 

It makes you curious…

How would your dog react to all those animals?

But wait. 

Are dogs even allowed at the zoo?

Continue reading to find out: 

  • 3 surprising answers about dogs visiting zoos.
  • Ways to bring Fido to the zoo (tip #1 works best).
  • Reasons why dogs might not be allowed at the zoo (3 must-knows).
  • And many more…

Are dogs allowed at the zoo?

Dogs aren’t allowed at the zoo. Most wildlife parks have this rule. But exceptions might apply to service dogs. However, it still depends on the zoo’s policies. If a wildlife park allows canines, the rules should be strictly followed. This is for your dog’s safety and the zoo animals too.

Are there any dog-friendly zoos?

There are a few dog-friendly zoos in the United States.

But most of them only accept service dogs.

And a good example of that would be Henry Vilas Zoo, located in Wisconsin.

Though, therapy dogs are an exception to this place.

However, as of today…

There’s only 1 zoo that accepts most Fidos. 

And that would be Elmwood Park in Pennsylvania.

But some dogs can’t visit this zoo. I’m talking about Fidos who are: 

  • Sick.
  • Injured.
  • Puppies.
  • In heat (especially females).

Aside from this, there are more options for dogs. 

But they’re mostly outside of the US.

For example, there’s Cotswold Wildlife Park in the UK. 

Though not all areas there are open for dogs, it’s still better than nothing. 


In Germany, there’s also Zoom. Another park that’s open to friendly Fidos. 

Now, these are just a few examples. 

To wrap this up, here are other dog-friendly zoos outside of the US:

  • Aalborg (Denmark).
  • Hannover (Germany).
  • Rostocks (Germany).
  • Munkholm (Denmark).
  • Arnhem (Netherlands).
  • Zoo Salzburg (Austria).
  • Prague (Czech Republic).
  • Hobro minizoo (Denmark).
  • Berlin Tierpark (Germany).
  • Jyllands Park zoo (Denmark).

Note: Wildlife park policies might change over time. So before you book your tickets, always inquire with the zoo first. 

3 reasons why dogs aren’t allowed at the zoo 

#1: Peace disruption 

Dogs Aren't Allowed At The Zoo Because They Cause Peace Disruption

Though Fido could have lots of fun at the zoo…

You can’t ensure that they’ll always stay calm

After all, the presence of other animals might excite them too much.

Especially if Fido’s the hyperactive type.

So if that happens, your pooch could end up: 

  • Barking a lot.
  • Scaring the animals.
  • Causing sudden noise.
  • Stressing out other visitors.

Note: This isn’t only harmful to the zoo animals. Your furry friend could get affected too. 

That said…

Animals at the zoo might make your pooch: 

Don’t believe me? 

Check out what this research says: 

Fido’s heart rate increases when they smell predators 

With a dog’s great sense of smell

Scientists tested how they’d react to their enemy’s scent. 

Specifically, those animals are: 

  • Lynx.
  • Bears.
  • Beaver.

And the moment Fido sensed these predators…

Their heart rate increased. 

Now, vets say that’s a sign of anxiety or anger in dogs.

Check out also: 19 Proven Ways To Calm Your Anxious Dog (How-To Guide)

#2: It can lead to accidents 

Though this one might sound obvious…

It can still make you think: 

“How bad could these accidents be?” 

Here’s an example:

First, Fido could get into the animal’s den. 

After all, a few enclosures have an open area. 

Or sometimes, the cage is wide enough for small dogs to slip into.

That’s how your pooch can easily trespass the zoo.

And this could lead to scary things. 

Either the wild animal strikes Fido…

Or your pooch attacks them. 

You’re a lucky fur parent if nothing happens. And your dog gets out alive unharmed. 

Though, this might still result in some penalties from the zoo.

Anyways, here’s a video of what I’m talking about… 

This pooch gets into a gorilla’s enclosure. 

Just watch how the wild animal chases after Fido: 

Now that’s terrifying.

#3: Zoonotic diseases

Zoos also ban other animals, not just dogs. 

And they have a very valid reason to do so. 

After all, this research warns the public: 

Exposure to animals at zoos could cause viral infections

And that’s also known as zoonotic diseases. Those are illnesses that could spread from 1 animal to another.

Wanna know what’s worse? 

You can catch those diseases too. 

Let me give you a few examples from experts

Here are the common zoonotic diseases in the U.S:
  • Rabies.
  • Plague.
  • Brucellosis.
  • Lyme disease.
  • Salmonellosis.
  • West Nile virus.
  • Emerging covids.
  • Zoonotic influenza.

Warning: Some of these issues can be fatal. Not just to Fido, but also to humans.

And that’s why even if a zoo allows dogs…

It’s best to not risk their health or safety. 

Especially when it can affect you or other people too.

After all, with so many animals mixed in the zoo…

Who knows what kind of disease your pooch might get? 

3 ways to bring your dog to the zoo 

Despite these reasons…

Some fur parents still wanna find ways for their pooch. 

Especially if they’re confident in Fido’s good behavior. 

So here are some tips for you.

#1: Fido must be a registered service dog

As I stated in the intro…

Service dogs are exempted from some zoo rules. 

But this doesn’t mean any pooch could get inside these parks. 

It still depends on the establishment’s owners.

That said, some zoos won’t allow service dogs at all. 


Others might also have specific rules.

For example, service dogs under training won’t be accepted. 

So if you want to ensure Fido’s entry to the zoo…

It’s best to contact an admin there first. 

Find out the rules and exceptions for service dogs.

#2: Ensure your dog’s fully vaccinated 

Ensure Your Dog's Fully Vaccinated

Now, let’s say the zoo accepts other Fidos. Even if they aren’t service dogs.

But in exchange…

Your pooch must be fully vaccinated. 

Especially for concerns like: 

  • Rabies.
  • Distemper.
  • Parvovirus.

Warning: These are examples of zoonotic diseases I mentioned earlier. And they can be fatal to dogs. 

So if you have proof that your furry pal’s protected against these…

You can try to ask the zoo if they’ll let your pooch in.

#3: Check the events at the zoo

Some zoos might accept dogs at certain times. 

For example…

Elmwood Park calls these: dog days. 

That’s the only time they would let Fidos in the zoo. 

Though, like I said before…

Zoos would have strict rules about this. 

So always check before you book a visit.

Can zoos kick out dogs?

Let’s say you found a way to bring Fido to the zoo. 

It doesn’t mean you should relax. 

“Why not?” 

The zoo can still ask you and your pooch to leave. 

But of course…

That depends on certain scenarios. 

For example, your dog keeps barking at the birds. 

And this scares the animals away. 

So despite being a service dog…

Most zoos have the right to make you and Fido leave. 

“What if my dog’s not making any noise?” 

Even if your pooch is just minding their own business…

Some animals at the zoo might not. 

To be clear, they could get agitated to see dogs. 

It’s almost like those wild animals are saying: 

“You look new here. Are you a friend or a foe?” 

And that could cause the animals to make a fuss. 

Now, in other cases…

Zoos can kick Fido out if they’re not potty-trained

So before you bring your dog to the animal park…

Ensure that they won’t leave a mess at the zoo. 

After all…

They’re already cleaning up big elephant poo in there.

So you shouldn’t let your pooch add to the dirty work. 

Not only is that embarrassing…

But zoos might penalize you for that, too.

Do zoos have dogs?

Zoos do have dogs. But only some of them.

And they’re not there as wild animals for tourists…

Instead, Fidos work in zoos. 

That’s why you might spot a pooch with cheetahs. 

Like in the San Diego Wildlife zoo. 

But what kind of job do these furry friends have? 

You see, humans aren’t the only ones that Fidos can support. 

In fact, even science says: 

A bond between dogs and cheetahs isn’t strange at all.

So how do these Fidos comfort a big, wild cat? 

The answer is…

Dogs get rid of a cheetah’s anxiety 

And they also bring these cats out of their shell. 

With canines around…

Cheetahs start to play more. 

And for zoo keepers, it’s a fascinating bond to watch. 

Since these animals stay in captivity… 

Having a supportive dog brightens up their day. 

And that’s a surprising thing you’d see in some zoos.