Dog Days of Summer: Here's how to spend a day with your pooch in Metro Detroit

I don’t know about yours, but when my dog has too much pent-up energy, she eats pencils and other stuff she shouldn’t. That's why it's nice to get her out of the house. But where to go?

Metromode spent some time researching dog-friendly outing options in 3 counties. Turns out there are plenty of ways to get out of the house without resorting to leaving your dog behind.

So whether you consider your dog your best friend, your furbaby, or simply your reason to wake up in the morning, spending time with a pup can improve your physical and mental health. So why not take a day to bond with your dog and enjoy your community together? It’s good for both of you. 

Oakland County

In the dog days of summer, nothing beats a swim. At Orion Oaks Dog Park in Lake Orion, your dog can play in the water in a dogs-only swimming area and run in a 24-acre fenced area that includes two trails. Another dog park in the area is at Karner Farm, a historic farmstead in West Bloomfield that also includes community gardens and wetlands.

The author's dog on a romp. Photo by Allison Burtka.If you’d rather stroll with your pup and take in some nature, you can head to the trails at Marshbank Park, along Cass Lake in West Bloomfield.

If your dog is well-mannered and likes to help keep you well-heeled, you can bring Fido along to shop in downtown Birmingham, where many of the stores allow dogs. And Ferndale's one-of-a-kind artist and vintage market, Rust Belt Market, welcomes dogs as long as they're quiet and well behaved. After shopping has worked up your appetite, you can have lunch or dinner in Café Via’s patio seating area with your dog.

If you’re in the mood for a pizza or a sandwich in Ferndale, Rosie O’Grady’s has a separate section of its outdoor seating area that is devoted to dogs and their people. Canine to Five also hosts Drinking With Dogs happy hours there.

When your pup needs a treat, you can get raw goat milk frozen yogurt and other store-made treats with locally sourced ingredients at Maestros Dog Haus in Bloomfield Hills. They’ll even make custom birthday cakes for your dog.

Wayne County

For picturesque outdoor spaces to roam with your dog, you have numerous choices in Detroit alone, including Belle Isle and Rouge Park. On September 24, the Michigan Humane Society’s Mega March for Animals will be on Belle Isle.

The Riverwalk and Dequindre Cut are prime walking and jogging paths. If you and your dog prefer to walk in a pack, Canine to Five leads “pack walks” along the Riverwalk and Dequindre Cut.

You can take the Riverwalk to Hart Plaza to expose Fido to some Detroit history. You might have a picture of yourself next to the Spirit of Detroit statue or Joe Louis’s fist, but do you have one of your dog?

Wayne County offers several dog parks to choose from, including Midtown Detroit’s dog park, which Shinola and Midtown Detroit Inc. opened down the street from the Shinola store. (Shinola makes a couple of pet accessories.) The Wayne County Parks Dog Park, at the Hawthorne Ridge Park in Westland, is a 3-acre park that has agility equipment.

When it’s time to take a seat and recharge, order a locally brewed Atwater Brewery beer at Atwater in the Park’s biergarten in Grosse Pointe Park. It’s at the site of a former church, and it’s a great spot to sit outside with your dog and enjoy some pub fare.

Does your dog deserve dessert? You can get a fancy treat at Bow Wow Baketique in Grosse Pointe Woods. On Thursday evenings, the shop holds ice cream socials, featuring Yöghund frozen yogurt for your dog and people-friendly ice cream for you.

If you practice yoga or drink wine to de-stress, and you’d like to combine the two—and bond with your dog while you’re at it—you’re ready for Doga & Wine in Garden City. In doga (yoga with a D for dogs), dogs and their people stretch and move together. Doga & Wine adds wine to the mix to deepen your relaxation.

If your dog likes to swim or you want him or her to take lessons, try Bubble Puppy Pool House in Trenton. At this indoor pool, dogs can play and even have birthday parties. The pool uses a salt water filtration system that’s better for dogs’ skin, coat, and eyes.

Macomb County

Indoor shopping centers are often off-limits to four-legged friends, but leashed, well-behaved dogs are welcome at the Mall at Partridge Creek in Clinton Township. Dogs are allowed in the common areas, and individual merchants that allow dogs display a sticker on their door or window.

The Clinton Township Dog Park offers 1.5 acres of grassy playing area, along with drinking fountains for dogs and people.

Dodge Park in Sterling Heights and Stony Creek Metropark in Shelby Township are good walking and running spots for you and your dog. At Dodge Park on August 13, Paws for Life Rescue will hold Paws in the Park, an event that includes a dog walk, picnic, and games for dogs and for kids.

For outdoor dining options that welcome your pup, try Caffe Far Bella in St. Clair Shores, which offers coffee and espresso, sandwiches, paninis, soups, and smoothies. You and Fido can also sit outside at Bath City Bistro in downtown Mt. Clemens. The restaurant is so named because the city was once called “Bath City, U.S.A.,” for its mineral bath houses.

On September 23, the Clinton Township Festival of the Senses Art Fair will hold its sixth annual Dog Parade. Dogs will be judged in three categories: best costume, best trick, and owner look-alike.

Across the Metro Area

Many community pools have “pooch plunge” events at the end of the summer. Right after the pool closes to people for the summer, they let the dogs come in and swim for a day.

Throughout metro Detroit, rescue groups such as the Michigan Animal Rescue League, Last Day Dog Rescue, Almost Home, Saving Tails Animal Rescue, and Detroit Dog Rescue hold events, some of which welcome your dog. They include adoption events—where you can stop by and say “arf” and consider adding another dog to your family—as well as fundraising events. When your dog is allowed, he or she can serve as an ambassador of sorts, but even if the events are people-only, you get to connect with other dog people and help other dogs find homes as great as yours.

Read more articles by Allison Torres Burtka.

Allison Torres Burtka is a freelance writer and editor in Metro Detroit. You can view her online portfolio here.
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