Cool Things to Do in Southern California During the Covid Crisis 5: Places for Pets and Their People
by Scott S. Smith and Sandra Wells
The good news regarding pets and their companion animals, humans, is that, according to the Centers for Disease Control, there have been very few cases of dogs and cats catching COVID-19 and there is no evidence that viruses are transmitted when they are petted: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/expert-answers/can-pets-get-coronavirus/faq-20486391.
Some places where your dog might drag you to or your cat may order you to chauffer her there:
The Urban Pet https://www.theurbanpet.net/ has locations in West Hollywood, Silver Lake, Los Angeles on Beverly Blvd. and Eagle Rock Blvd., and Pasadena
The Urban Pet calls itself a “lifestyle store” and the Beverly one we visited was so designed, with earth-toned color schemes, industrial flooring, globed lighting, big photos of customers’ dogs and cats along the walls, and a Buddha presiding serenely over a koi pond. Among the 80 brands of food (free from byproducts, corn, and soy) were products with water buffalo, wild salmon, quail, venison, and a weight loss formula of sweet potato and oatmeal. There were also edibles for calming anxious animals like Pet Relief (90 mg. of active hemp CBD), Holistic Hound’s hemp and mushroom bites, Cana 4’s raw, organic sprouted snacks, and frozen raw goat’s milk in a pumpkin spice flavor. Non-food goodies included Thunder Shirt (a wrap that keeps animals feeling calm when noises or situations are upsetting), elaborate birdfeeders, and a hammock that can be stretched between the front and back seats of a car on which an animal can lie comfortably.
City Dog Club http://citydogclub.com/ has locations in West Hollywood, West L.A. on Pontius Ave., in Culver City, and San Diego.
City Dog Club is best-known for the joy anyone walking by can have just watching dogs at play, “the coolest dog park ever.” Each is sanitized, has high frequency ventilation, screens members for overall health, and the skilled sitters keep each hound’s personal chow separate, provide organic treats and filtered water, give medication, and administer first aid as needed. There are also places for the dogs to take a break or snooze (with chill music). Club membership gives discounts on daycare 7 am-9 pm, boarding, taking walks, training, grooming, and other services and products. You can come for a meet- and-greet with your best friend to check out the vibe. The Hollywood Reporter puts the Club on its A List.
The Cat Cafe Lounge https://www.catcafelounge.com/ on Sepulveda Blvd. in West L.A.
This is L.A.’s only nonprofit lounge and coffee shop where anyone could hang out with rescue cats and see if they wanted to adopt a human. Under COVID restrictions, the cafe is closed at the time of writing, but you can make a donation of $35 for a reservation to schmooze for an hour in the outdoor Catio, rain or shine.
Animal Lovers Pet Shop https://www.animalloverspetshop.com/index.html in Torrance.
If you prefer a bird, reptile, or amphibian as your roommate and find it hard to find a store that serves them, you’ll be delighted by Animal Lovers. “We hand feed, nurture, and socialize baby birds from local reputable breeders, taking pride in raising well-adjusted birds that make a welcome addition to any family,” the website says. “It is not uncommon for customers to lose track of time while interacting with the birds in our Bird Room.” They specialize in macaws, amazons, conures, budgies, and cockatiels. They also have an impressive assortment of geckos, bearded dragons, lizards, tortoises, and frogs. Store tours and workshops are scheduled. They also provide grooming, nail and wing clipping, DNA testing, microchipping, and boarding.
The Petstaurant https://www.thepetstaurant.com/ is located in Sherman Oaks, Santa Monica, and Los
This retailer offers its own recipes in quality frozen meals, the sort of thing your companion animal would expect served at a species-appropriate diner. They’re not only tasty, but full of probiotics, organic vegetables, and meats from grass-fed, free range, or wild animals. “Dry pet food is not something natural that animals eat,” they explain. Gourmet brands they also carry include Fussie Cat, Honest Kitchen, BFF OMG, and Cats in the Kitchen. And they have holistic products for everything from kidney infections to immunity boosting.
Foothill Feed & Grain in Sylmar (they were revamping their site at time of writing, so call 818/834-9552)
In case you thought horses weren’t particular about their exact type of hay and its freshness, this store has generated rave reviews about it having by far the best in L.A, knowledgeable staff, and great customer service: https://www.yelp.com/biz/foothill-feed-sylmar-3. They also cater to rabbits, dogs, chickens, and other critters.
Foothill Feed https://foothillfeed.com in Orange
You can also horse around at this O.C. feed outlet (unconnected to the Sylmar store), which has had a fan base for half a century: https://www.yelp.com/biz/foothill-feed-orange
Dog Beaches and Hound Hikes
Huntington Beach Dog Beach https://www.dogbeach.org/ may be the best-known in SoCal, especially if you’re a surfer. You do have to follow a dozen rules, such as having a hound who is fully vaccinated, has tags and is wearing a collar, not sick, nor a female in heat. You need to enter and exit the beach with the dog on a leash, but otherwise s/he can be leashless (humans don’t yet need to have leashes, either).
Ocean Beach Dog Beach https://oceanbeachsandiego.com/attractions/beaches/dog-beach near San Diego was the first officially leash-free beach in the U.S. in 1972, “a melting pot for people and dogs of all sizes, shapes, colors, creeds, and breeds.”
There are zillions of dog parks in our region, most pretty similar, but the Los Angeles Times in 2017 noted some often overlooked places to take a hike together:
*Along the L.A. River in Sherman Oaks, a 2.3 mile flat loop.
*Los Angeles State Historical Park, 32 acres near downtown.
*Frank Bonelli Regional Park, San Dimas, up to three miles alongside the Puddingstone Reservoir.
* Wildwood Canyon Trail in the Verdugo Mountains overlooking Glendale and Burbank, two miles that will take an hour because it’s hilly.