By Stacey Kuhns
There are a number of dog-friendly places in North San Diego County but do not believe everything you read on the internet about a place being dog-friendly. Always call ahead, if it is a restaurant or business, to confirm they are dog friendly.
The information on the internet can be misleading, especially if you are looking at Yelp reviews or comments from people who have visited a certain place. Some of them say the place is dog friendly then a few comments later, someone else says it is not. Plan ahead so you are not disappointed (as I speak from experience). I am going to talk about some dog friendly places my boyfriend and I have visited over the last few months. I am not going to discuss dog parks as that is a given that they are dog friendly and I personally, do not let my dog go near them.
San Diegans appear to be big animal lovers for the most part. Businesses and local spots have become more pet friendly over the years, but we are still lacking a lot of amenities for pet owners, especially dog owners. San Diego is all coastal beaches down Highway 101. So it is surprising that there are very few places you can take your dog to the beach, and I mean go down on the sand, play in the water, relax on the beach kind of thing.
Of course, Dog Beach in Del Mar is dog friendly, but there are rules, such as leash laws, that need to be followed at certain times of the year. We had planned to go there one Sunday morning. We got up at 5:30 a.m., got our stuff together, and we checked the website one more time.
Turns out, for some crazy reason, they are closed on Sundays. I don't get it, but that is what the website said. I am not sure how exactly they close a beach, and I am sure if we had driven all the way down there, we would have found dogs and owners on the beach, but it was too far of a drive to chance it.
Anyway, I checked the internet to see if there was anything at all in North County, as far as dog friendly beaches go. I found a website for Swami's Beach. I made the mistake of reading the comments and reviews. One said, "Bring the kids, bring the dogs...dog friendly!" There were a number of comments that said the beach was dog friendly, so off we went.
Well, we got to Swamis, navigated the steep long stairway and set up our stuff on the beach then went exploring with the dog. He was great and loved it there. After a while, he got tired and we sat on our towels while he stretched out in the sand. He was on leash the entire time. A "concerned citizen" proceeded to come and tell us, in a very rude way, that dogs are prohibited on the beach. I had not even paid attention to the signs. So we left, discouraged and disappointed.
It seems North County is lacking in dog friendly beaches for sure. Would be great if Oceanside or Carlsbad had a dog friendly beach area.
So, on to restaurants. We have tried a number of dog friendly restaurants and I called ahead to each one to make sure they were still dog friendly. I do not recommend taking your dog if they are not calm and used to going to these places. We have been to places where a dog is acting up, barking, and disturbing the other customers. Not fun for the owner or the other patrons.
Do not assume if a restaurant has an outdoor patio, they accept dogs. One place I know of that has a huge outdoor patio, only accepts service dogs. We have been to The Yellow Deli in Vista which has a beautiful dog friendly patio area. I brought the dog's water dish, water, and snacks for him as some places do not provide these things.
Luna Grill, in Poway, is also a great place for dogs and their owners. Great healthy food and great service, as well as a nice outdoor area with umbrellas. I believe all the Luna Grills are dog friendly, but check before you go.
We also went to Oggies, in Vista. A bit pricey but they have an outdoor, wraparound patio area and a spigot that comes out of the wall to fill up your dog's water bowl. Also, Centre City Café, in Escondido, has friendly service, huge portions for a small price, and a large relaxing front shaded patio. They will provide a bowl of water for the dog if you request it.
Slater's 50/50 in San Marcos, actually has a dog menu. The patio area is nice and they will provide water and a bowl for your dog if you request it.
One place we love is the Continental Delicatessen, in Escondido (on Kalmia and Grand next to Vinz). They are very dog friendly. They will provide a water dish and water for your dog, as well as bring them a slice of meat for a snack (I thanked them for this but refused the offer as I do not feed Henson table food of any kind).
They have wonderful service and yummy homemade food. All the outdoor tables have umbrellas, but it can get very warm on the cement there on hot days so be careful and have plenty of water even to pour over your dog. I always bring a chew stick for him in case he gets restless.
Since Henson is still a puppy, we have to find places to take him as he is too young to leave in the apartment (and suffers from a bit of separation anxiety when I leave) so we are scoping out places we can all go together. It's been fun and for the most part, a really great pleasant experience. Let me know if you have discovered other dog friendly places that you like.