All About Dogs and Cats in Nashville: Emergency Care, Pet-friendly Hotels & Restaurants, Dog Parks and More

You’re visiting Nashville with your cat or dog. Or you’re trying to get a handle on all the pet resources Nashville offers. Here’s one page covering lots about pet-centric topics.

Emergency Pet Care

Let’s deal with crisis situations first. What if your pet gets really sick after hours? Although the headline at the top mentions cats and dogs, these facilities treat a wide range of pets–no tigers, please. I won’t waste words; here are numbers, locations and websites.

Nashville Veterinary Specialists

Open 24/7. You can call your vet first or head straight to their clinic. If your vet is affiliated with NVS, they can access your pet’s medical records. In addition to emergency care, they offer a wide range of specialties including including surgery, cardiology, oncology, neurology and dermatology. Near 100 Oaks: 2971 Sidco Drive (615-386-0107).

Blue Pearl Vet

Three locations: Nashville: 2000 12th Avenue S. (615-383-2600); Rivergate/Goodlettsville: 910 Meadowlark Lane (615-859-3778); and in Franklin (Cool Springs) at 3020 Mallory Lane (615-333-1212) .

The Nashville and Rivergate office hours are M-Th: 6pm-7am and Fri-Sun, 24 hrs. The Franklin emergency center is open 24/7 and by appointment for specialty work including cardiology, neurology and dermatology. When our dog messed up his leg, they did a great job on his orthopedic surgery.

Veterinarians

vet examining catPeople are picky about their pets. Obviously I can’t crown the best-in-show but I will say that the fine folks at Belle Meade Animal Clinic have treated our dogs well for years. I’m going to turn you over to comments made by Nashville pet lovers on Yelp and Google for their reviews and opinions. Note: neither of these lists is comprehensive so you might want to zoom in on a map to a convenient neighborhood and search for vets. And keep in mind, people are more inclined to complain than praise.

Dog Parks

Nashville dog parks

Although few private dog parks including BarkPark have started to spring up, most people take their fur babies to these established public dog parks. Owners tend to come at the same time every day so you can build familiarity naturally. Before you go, you might want to bone up on the rules of dog park usage. Here are your destinations.

Riverfront–Downtown

Adjoining Ascend Amphitheater and almost beneath the Pedestrian Bridge at First Avenue S. Unlike most of the other parks, pups run on Astroturf in a fairly small area. However, high marks for convenience if you’re a downtown dweller or visitor. Won’t be much shade until trees mature. If you’re looking for a longer traffic-free walk, head north (toward downtown) beyond Fort Nashboro to pick up the Cumberland River Greenway.

Shelby Park–East Nashville

Located in East Nashville’s Shelby Park. Some shade amid the mostly flat, expansive field. One report says that larger dogs dominate the park–but that’s one person’s view.

Centennial Park–Vanderbilt/West

Just up the hill to the west of the Parthenon. Actually two parks in one: a petite enclosure for smaller pooches and a large sloped area for medium and larger dogs.  Eclectic mix of folks and dogs with the occasional famous dog-owner dropping by.

Fairgrounds Nashville–Wedgewood/Houston

The newest dog park is right out in the sun near the Fairgrounds at the corner of Bransford Avenue and Craighead Avenue. Covered in astroturf, there are separate areas for large and small dogs. Bonus points for a mini-agility area.

Edwin Warner Park–Bellevue/Forest Hills

Run with the big dogs here on this flat open field. I’ve seen a bunch of retrievers and labs bounding about.

William A. Pitts Park–Tusculum

Probably more geared to locals than tourists because it’s located in the bedroom community of Tusculum. There’s a two-acre fenced area adjoining a four-acre nature park with a one-third-mile trail if your beast prefers something more rustic.

Two Rivers Park–Donelson/Opryland

If you’re in the Opryland or Donelson area, this is your most convenient dog park. There’s a huge area including tree lines on three sides and a wide concrete walking path.

Percy Priest Dam–Hermitage/Old Hickory

A 2.5-acre area is part of the Stones River Greenway, located between I-40 and the dam.

Pet-Friendly Restaurants and Hotels

Nashville pet-friendly hotels
Traveling with your pet for business or pleasure

It seems like these lists are expanding daily. Bring Fido keeps track of pet-friendly restaurants and pet-friendly hotels. It’s always wise to call ahead and verify that your pooch or howler monkey is welcome.

Of special note, 51 Dog Park adjoins 51st Kitchen and Bar so you can eat and sip while you watch your pup romp and stomp.

Don’t have your own cat? Not a problem. Visit Mewsic Kitty Cafe where they supply the cats (all of which can be adopted through Nashville Cat Rescue). The menu is quite limited but there’s plenty of love to go around.

Daycare and Boarding

In addition to the many vets that offer boarding, Nashville has an ever-growing pack of daycare and housing options. I’m not going to favor one and frankly, the reviews run all over the place. One person says it’s the only place she will take her dog; the next person will tell a horror story about the same place.

Rather than list all your options, I’m going to defer to Google Maps for doggie daycare (which frequently also includes kitty care).

Lost and Found Pets

The quickest way to locate a lost dog is posting on NextDoor.com (if your neighborhood is within its coverage area) or a local listserv. There’s more extensive info found on the East C.A.N. website.

A number of public Facebook groups are dedicated to reuniting pets and owners including:

And for goodness sake, keep your contact info on your pet’s collar or have it chipped.

Pet Adoption

Pet adoption, Nashville Humane society
Bonding with an adoptable dog at Nashville Humane Society

Looking for a cat or dog? In addition to those who sell pedigreed pooches, there are a number of places you can turn. All of our delightful dogs through the years have been rescues.

  • Nashville Humane Society Puppies, kittens, dogs and cats; they also operate a mobile spay/neuter clinic called Rover where the typical procedure is just $10.
  • Metro Animal Care and Control Puppies, dogs, kittens and cats. Instead of hosting pet profiles on their own site, the link you to the searchable PetHarbor website which also includes some of the agencies listed below.
  • Crossroads Campus This non-profit is a combination of retail pet supplies store, skills training center and residential housing for young adults….and an adoption center for dogs and cats.
  • Proverbs 12:10 Animal Rescue Instead of a physical kennel, available pets are fostered in homes and their profiles are presented on the website. And they’re always looking for dependable foster homes.
  • Love at First Sight Founded by two veterinarians who wanted to take action to solve the problem of strays and overpopulation, this facility specializes in adopting unexpected litters of puppies and kittens.
  • Noah’s Ark Society In addition to dogs and cats, this modest operation also facilitates adoptions for horses, livestock and small animals.
  • Agape Animal Rescue Specializes in dogs that are being fostered in homes until they find a forever friend.
  • Music City Animal Rescue Works in association with PETCO. In addition to dogs and cats, you might find a goat, horse or other animal listed.
  • Big Fluffy Dog Rescue Truth in advertising: not all of their lovable clients are big or fluffy so don’t let the name throw you off.
  • Fluffy Nashville Cats and kittens who are fostered as they await curling up in your window sill.
  • Snooty Giggles Dogs are fostered in homes so check the website to see who’s available for adoption. The last time I checked, they seem to have a higher percentage of smaller dogs.

I’ve not listed every adoption agency. Additional organizations may specialize in a breed (greyhounds, for example) or cover a more expansive area than Nashville alone.

Laws

Here are the basics of pet ownership in Metro Nashville-Davidson County:

  • Leash law. All dogs must be on leash unless in a properly enclosed area; Invisible Fence and similar products qualify. No dog is allowed to roam free in Metro-Davidson County. Owners are liable for any damage or injury caused by a pet.
  • Vaccinations. All pets must receive rabies vaccinations which are available through animal clinics, many adoption agencies and through Metro Animal Care and Control. Through Metro, the cost of the three-year license and three-year vaccine is $26. The owner must provide proof of previous vaccination, such as their previous rabies vaccine certificate.
  • MACC hosts a low-cost vaccination clinic from 8:00 a.m. until Noon on the third Saturday of each month from February-November. The monthly clinics are held at MACC’s shelter, located at 5125 Harding Place, in Nashville. An optional microchip with registration is available for $10.00.
  • Animal waste. If it’s your pet, it’s your poop. Pick up what your animal leaves behind and dispose of it properly. Some neighborhoods are downright hostile toward those who disregard this law.

Pet Supply Stores

Nashville Pet Products--for dogs, cats and other pets
Nashville Pet Products, one of several locations in town.

You’ll find locations  for Petsmart and Petco here along with a number of regional and local businesses.

Nashville Pet Products The stores vary in size including the mega-location above off Thompson Lane in Berry Hill.

Wags and Whiskers The link will take you to the list of its shoppes around town. Two of its three locations also have a dog wash.

Spot’s Pet Supply Both its Green Hills and East Nashville locations offering dog and cat supplies as well as grooming. The East Nashville shop also welcomes DIY dog washing.

Baxter Bailey & Company Located in East Nashville, it aims for the upscale pet.

The Cat Shoppe and Dog Store Formerly in Berry Hill, it is seeking a new location.

Crossroads Pet Shop In a cool old house in Germantown, the shop skews toward healthy pet food and animal accessories.

Great FAQ Resource

East C.A.N. (Community Action Network) has an abundance of information on its website, answering most questions you may have. If I haven’t covered it, they probably have.

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