Even in sunshine-soaked San Diego, there’s just something special about summer.
One big perk: our enviable environment is full of places to go and things to do with your favorite furry buddy. Here’s a guide to some familiar, and some new, places, activities and tips that guarantee a season of fun.
ON THE WATER
San Diego’s beaches and pools are calling. Gear up with your pup and make some waves.
Summertime means beach and pool time! Most dogs adore the water and can’t wait to jump in. But don’t push them past their capabilities, and always use a life vest. They can also have fun playing fetch with water toys, or towing around floaties.
If you love to stand-up paddleboard and your dog has basic obedience skills, try taking him along. Experienced surfers find that inviting their pup aboard can be a great way to share some quality time out on the water. Or if sailing is more your style, dogs can enjoy a quick boat tour of the bay with you. Just be sure to avoid bad weather and rough conditions.
Dog-friendly dining AND drinking
On the menu: open spaces, fare for Fido and more.
This South Park mainstay is popular for its
outdoor kids’ play area, but the spacious
patio also welcomes dogs.
Taking your pupper for a romp
in the mountains? Stop and refresh
together at the quaint, cozy Julian Grille.
Claire’s on Cedros
A day of gallery gazing with your pup
in the design district isn’t complete
without a stop at Claire’s dog-friendly patio.
Vinz Wine Bar
The Mutt’s Menu at Vinz in Escondido
features snacks ranging from Puppy Pizza
to handcrafted Brew Bones and even nonalcoholic,
chicken-flavored Bowser Beer.
Anthony’s Fish Grotto
La Mesa pet owners head to Anthony’s
for its famous seafood as well as its large,
enclosed, grassy dog area by a private
lake complete with ducks.
DOG PARK DAY TRIPS
Pack some treats and make a day of it!
Del Mar Dog Beach
Del Mar’s North Beach area is one of the most popular hangouts for pups and people.
Orpheus Dog Park
You can’t beat the ocean views at this gorgeous neighborhood park, and your dog can enjoy them off-leash with you.
For designated times, check ci.encinitas.ca.us/resident/animal-services.
There’s still nowhere in San Diego that beats Fiesta Island for off-leash fun and lots
of cool stuff to see, like campers, bonfires, swimmers, and even horses.
Ann D. L’Heureux Memorial Dog Park
This large, fenced dog park in Carlsbad has a short trail that connects it to Hidden Canyon Park.
South Buena Vista Park
Vista allows leashed dogs in all of its parks, but South Buena Vista Park is the off-leash destination of choice.
Summer health and grooming tips for your pets
by Dr. Cynthia Mitchell, Medical Director, San Diego Humane Society
In the summer, be aware of how hot it gets, especially for dogs, who can easily suffer heatstroke or heat exhaustion. Never leave them unattended in a car, or outside without plenty of water and shade. Dogs with short noses, such as pugs and boxers, have a harder time staying cool and need extra care and monitoring.
Long-haired dogs may be more comfortable in the summer with a short haircut—think of it as as a great excuse to get a cute ’do! All pets can get sunburned in the unpigmented areas of their skin. Especially on lighter-colored dogs, use a strong sunscreen on their noses, ears, and bellies—everywhere they have bare skin exposed. This will prevent sunburn and the possibility of skin cancer down the road, just as with humans. Cats love to loll in the sun outdoors or in windows, so the same goes for them—sunscreen on the face, nose, and ears, especially. Keep pets in the shade when you can.
If your pups love to swim, be sure to rinse them off well afterward. Both chlorinated pool water and seawater can irritate their skin. Also, keep in mind that if your dog drinks seawater, it can give him diarrhea, so provide fresh water at the beach and don’t let him drink the salty stuff.
Summer is a time for parties, barbecues, and family get-togethers—great opportunities for your pets to ingest things they shouldn’t. Don’t give them people food, especially fatty treats that can upset their stomachs. Watch for them picking scraps up off the floor, or sniffing around alcoholic drinks. Ask guests to please not feed your pets snacks or let scraps fall where they can be snatched up.
Finally, spending more time outdoors in summer with your pets exposes them more often to fleas and ticks, so remember to keep up your flea and tick control year-round. With a little care and forethought, your pets will enjoy the summer months as happily and healthily as you do.
The first question when planning a family summer trip: Can we take Rover? The answer is: mostly yes, if you plan in advance.
Get your pet a checkup before going on a trip, and make sure vaccinations are up to date. Take a record of the shots with you, and any medications. To avoid an upset stomach on the trip, bring along your pet’s regular food and some bottled water.
Consider a crate if you’re road-tripping. Make sure it’s large enough to allow your pet to stand, turn, and lie down, and is strong, well-ventilated, and has a leakproof bottom. Label it well and throw in a mat, favorite toy, and water bottle.
Just in case your pet gets away from you on your trip, you have a much better chance of getting her back if she can be properly identified. Detailed collar tags are good; microchipping is even better. Also, bring a recent picture of your pet with you.
Avoid car sickness by letting your dog travel on an empty stomach, but make sure she has plenty of water at all times. Stop frequently for exercise and potty breaks. Keep the car well-ventilated, and never, ever leave your pet in a closed vehicle, especially in the summer.
We do not recommend flying with pets in cargo, but if you have to, avoid summertime especially. Small pets may be able to ride with you in the cabin. Call for more information and make arrangements well in advance of your trip; each airline has its own rules. Some airports have upgraded pet accommodations, including special pet restrooms to help ease the stress of flying with Fido.
Likewise, every hotel or rental has its own rules about bringing pets along. Find out in advance if the places you’re staying allow them, and whether there are any size or breed restrictions.