Here in San Diego, we may be blessed with enviable weather nearly year-round, but there’s still something about the summer months that makes even spoiled Southern Californians rejoice and retreat to the great outdoors. From beaches and parks to festivals and outdoor concerts, there’s such an abundance of family- and pet-friendly activities to do in the summer, it’s hard to fit them all in—even with the added benefit of extra daylight hours.
“The best part of the summer is that it stays light so much longer and I have extra time to spend outdoors with my dogs,” says Dr. Gary Weitzman, San Diego Humane Society president and CEO. “My favorite thing to do with them is go down to Shelter Island, but I can do that all year long. In summer, I mostly enjoy the extra hours sitting with them on the deck at home.”
Whether you’re hanging in the backyard at home or exploring all that our fine city has to offer, there’s no reason not to spend time with your pets this summer. Here’s our guide to pet-friendly summer fun in San Diego.
Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) has become a San Diego mainstay in recent years, thanks to the calm waters of our local bays. Even four-legged water lovers are getting in on the action. Here are a few tips to help you and your furry friend stay afloat:
Test the waters.
Just because there’s a thing called a doggie paddle, don’t assume your dog loves to swim—or knows how to do it at all. Before committing to paddleboarding, test your dog’s capabilities and interest in shallow water.
Take a lesson.
Check out SUP Pups San Diego at sandiegosuprentals
.com for 60-minute SUP lessons from Liberty Station to the San Diego Bay.
Protect your pet.
As much as they might give you the evil eye, don’t forget a life vest. They’re not as embarrassed as they might pretend and it’s for their own protection.
TWO SUMMER STAYCATIONS (San Diego Style)
When you live in fantasyland, there’s sometimes no need to venture farther than a few miles to enjoy a vacation-like getaway. No matter your budget, it’s easy for you to bring your pet along.
Fairmont Grand Del Mar
Del Mar Court,
Even if your future vacation plans include a trip to the Mediterranean, it’s highly unlikely your pet will get to tag along. Treat them to the next best thing with a staycation—including their own hotel-provided bed and bowls—at this spectacular five-star resort nestled in the hills of the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve.
La Quinta Resort & Club
(49499 Eisenhower Drive, La Quinta)
When you think summer, you may not think desert, but the warmer months are a great time to get unbeatable deals on weekend getaways to pet-friendly destinations like this Old Hollywood retreat, where dogs are not only welcome, they are treated like royalty, with pet pampering packages that include in-room, hour-long dog relaxation massages.
Unleashed by Petco Surf Dog Competition
Fearless four-legged friends hang twenty at this popular surf event in Imperial Beach.
Cardiff Dog Days of Summer
Coastal North County goes to the dogs at this community festival, featuring a parade, contests, live music, and a beer garden.
Doggie Street Festival
What fun is summer without a cuddly companion? No fun at all. This adoption-centric event in Liberty Station makes it easy to add a furry friend to your home.
Dog Gone! Scavenger Hunt
Let your pet’s investigative instincts guide you on this inaugural scavenger hunt through Westfield UTC.
How to Prevent Heat Exhaustion
Of course, summer isn’t all about fun and games. It’s also a time to be extra careful about the extreme elements. According to Veterinary Specialty Hospital San Diego, the risk of heat stroke is especially great when seasons are changing. To reduce risk, “On warmer days, limit your dog’s activity outdoors, and watch for signs of heat stroke, such as excessive panting, hot skin, and weakness.”
With all the outdoor activities you want to enjoy in the summer—like hiking and running—it’s natural to want to take your dog along, but it’s not without risk. San Diego Humane Society encourages you to remember this: Dogs don’t sweat like people do; they’re dressed in their own fur coat 24/7 and their feet are always bare, making them extra sensitive to hot air and scalding pavement. Exercise with them in early morning or late evening hours, run near water or on soft or grassy surfaces to keep their feet cool, and always, always bring extra water for your canine workout buddy.
Dog-Friendly Dining and Drinking
Long summer nights are best spent enjoying a leisurely meal—and a frosty adult beverage—on an outdoor patio.
Luckily for our pets, most restaurants welcome leashed dogs in their outdoor dining areas.
Here are a few favorite spots for happy (yappy) hour and people-and-pet watching:
Liberty Public Market
Liberty Station is having a moment, thanks to the addition of this bustling marketplace, featuring food vendors, craft beer, wine, and Howlistic, a natural pet supply store for dogs and cats.
Iron Fist Brewing Co.
This North County craft brewery’s Barrio Logan outpost offers awesome views of the Coronado Bridge, a pet-friendly patio, and tasty grub from neighboring MishMash.
Hotel bars aren’t just for tourists. The famously pet-friendly Hotel Indigo downtown is a hot spot for local pet lovers who take in Yappy Hour food and drink specials and stellar rooftop views.
AleSmith Brewing Company
In the beer mecca that Mira Mesa has become, this mega-brewery stands out with a spacious, fun, family- and pet-friendly outdoor space, which includes a kids’ activity area and food truck fare.
Hotel del Coronado
An oldie but goodie, this spot wins for its history, seaside dining, proximity to Coronado’s Dog Beach, and its Sunday Yappy Hour.
Ask the Expert
Groomed for Summer
Q: What should I do about excess shedding in the summer months?
A. Most dogs do tend to shed more during the summer months; however, you might notice a change in shedding during drastic climate changes throughout the year. Shedding will also depend upon breed and coat type. To help prevent shedding, daily brushing is highly recommended, along with the regular use (every six to eight weeks) of a shedding treatment, such as Furminator brand shampoo and conditioner. A good tip for summer weather is to visit your local grooming salon, because even though you may wash and brush your dog at home, the force drying will help remove a lot of the excess hair.
– Melissa Kelso, Doozydog! Club stylist
Whether you’re cruising in your car with the windows down, working out with your pet, or simply chilling in your backyard, here’s a medley of music—from old classics to modern hits—for your pet-friendly summer playlist:
“Dog Days Are Over,” Florence and the Machine
“Three Little Birds,” Bob Marley and The Wailers
“Hound Dog,” Elvis Presley
“White Horse,” Taylor Swift
“Ol’ Red,” Blake Shelton
“The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” The Tokens
“Cat’s in the Cradle,” Harry Chapin
“Little Lion Man,” Mumford & Sons
“When Doves Cry,” Prince
“Blackbird,” The Beatles
“Dark Horse,” Katy Perry
“Eye of the Tiger,” Survivor