It isn’t difficult to find fun places to spend quality time with your pets in Orange County.
Spending time with pets is always a treat for everyone in the family.
Who doesn’t get a little sad when you can’t take the pets somewhere? Lucky for us in Orange County, there are actually plenty of places we can take them for some always-appreciated quality time.
According to Orange County Certified Professional Dog Trainer Kate Connell, locations can include hardware stores, pet stores, cafes with dog-friendly patios and outdoor shopping malls.
But she advises to remember to always be courteous, clean up after your dog and follow all leash laws.
“Be sure to let puppies explore at their own pace and don’t force them to go anywhere or be pet by anyone they aren’t comfortable with,” she says. “Always be ready to leave at a moment’s notice if your dog becomes stressed. Signs of stress may include panting, whining/barking, wide eyes, pacing, cowering or avoidance of people or things.”
If you’re looking to take your dog somewhere special during this month of love — or any other time — here are some ideas to get you started:
The LAB and The CAMP
If you’re looking to do a little shopping and want to take your pet on an adventure, Costa Mesa’s The LAB and The CAMP are pet-friendly. It is up to each individual business as to whether pets are allowed inside or in a restaurant patio, so ask in advance. But pets are always welcome in all the outdoor common areas. The LAB also holds regular events in its outdoor promenade, including a recent pet fashion show, that are pet-friendly.
The Park Bench Cafe
Open since 1988, this family-owned outdoor cafe in Huntington Beach offers a place for adults, kids and canines to have a nice breakfast or lunch together. It’s become a well-known hangout for dog lovers and their pets to eat and mingle with other like-minded locals. The best part? There’s a menu just for dogs including items like Bow-Wow-Wow chicken and Rover Easy scrambled eggs. The cafe is located at Huntington Central Park, where the family can take a nice nature walk following their meal.
Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve
On the nature side of things, Connell recommends Upper Newport Bay as a great hiking spot with both easy and difficult paths. She says you can start on the easy paths along Irvine Avenue if your dog isn’t used to more intense exercise. There will be plenty for your dog to see, including other dogs, strollers, joggers, bikers and even horses. But do make sure your dog remains on a leash of no more than 6 feet at all times.
One of Connell’s favorite parks for socializing dogs on-leash is Costa Mesa’s TeWinkle Park. She says it offers baseball fields on one side and a park with hills, ponds, wooden bridges and a children’s playground on the other. Across the street, there’s also a large open field next to tennis courts, a skate park and a dog park. She recommends staying at a comfortable distance from each area and only moving closer if your dog is calm and relaxed. She also recommends focusing on only one section of the park per visit to avoid overwhelming your dog.
This Corona del Mar garden and home decor center is definitely dog-friendly. However, Connell recommends taking your pup here only if he is very well-socialized and has good manners. With all of the plants and decor items, there’s a lot going on and an overly rambunctious dog can get into some trouble if he decides to pee on something, eat a toxic plant or knock things over. But there’s plenty for a dog to sniff and see if he’s well-behaved.
Spending some fun time with your dog could involve something as simple as taking him to a playground. Connell says that if children are present, practice calmly watching from a distance. But if the playground is empty, allow your pet to explore the equipment on-leash. Use a harness so you have firm control and keep him from leaping onto or off of anything. She says to be careful when moving around the equipment because your dog may accidentally hurt himself on the slide or pinch a toe on a moving bridge. Also, make sure your dog relieves himself before playing in the sand and moving around on the equipment, and don’t ever force him to do anything he doesn’t want to do.
By Jessica Peralta