It is fun to get things like squeaky toys, clothing and treats for dogs, be they tiny Chihuahuas or giant Great Danes. But the greatest gift to offer your favorite canine companions is your attention, and spending some time together in the great outdoors is a perfect way to celebrate the human-animal bond. Whether relaxing together over breakfast or a brew on a sunny patio, swimming and hiking along the river or participating in the Doggy Dash, there are many places in Sacramento that will help get you on the fast track to canine happiness.
American River Parkway
4040 Bradshaw Road
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 875-6961

Residents of the capital city and their dogs are lucky to live so close to the American River Parkway, with 23 miles of puppy paradise that is accessible from numerous points between Sacramento and the Nimbus Fish Hatchery in Folsom. There are hiking trails, picnic and campsites, fishing, wildlife, beaches and a wide variety of flora and fauna, all of which contribute to a sensory smorgasbord that will keep your dog smiling all day. Maps, environmental facts and more information is available from the American River Parkway Foundation, which helps support and care for this valuable Sacramento resource.

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Lido Bar and Grill
7907 Fair Oaks Blvd.
Carmichael, CA 95608
(916) 944-8243

Lido offers good food in an upbeat setting that is as comfortable for family meals as for people in search of coffee, fresh baked goods or a few adult beverages. Best of all, the owners understand that your dog is part of the family too, so bring your pup to relax and dine with you on the covered outdoor patio. The menu includes snacks just for pooch patrons, with scrambled eggs, grilled chicken, a hamburger patty or large dog bone served with a bowl of water for under 3 dollars.

Sacramento SPCA Doggy Dash
William Land Park
3800 S. Land Park Drive
Sacramento, CA 95822
(916) 504-2802

The annual SSPCA Doggy Dash for 2015 takes place on June 6, and is a must-do for local dogs, their people and anyone else who loves to cavort with happy canines. The event includes a 2K walk, contests, vendors, exhibitions, a dog talent show and kid’s activities, as well as a race between gaggles of galloping pugs. It is a fun day in the sun, and your dog will love you even more since it is a fundraiser for the nonprofit shelter’s animal rescue efforts.

Der Biergarten
2332 K St.
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 346-4572

This outdoor beer garden in Midtown is a cool spot to hang out with friends of both the two- and four-legged varieties. There are games for the humans to enjoy, but keep an eye on things if your pup might choose to participate too by nabbing a Ping-Pong ball or Corn Hole beanbag. The dog-friendliness of Der Biergarten is evident as soon as you walk up to the counter, where you see a big jar of dog biscuits.

Marco Dog Park
1800 Sierra Gardens Drive
Roseville, CA 95661

Marco, named in honor of a local police dog, was the first dog park in Roseville. Let your four-legged friend play and romp with others in this grassy 3-acre off-leash lot, which includes both sunny and shady areas. There are kiddie pools for the dogs to slosh around in and drink from, a puppy poop receptacle and benches for the humans to relax on between throwing Frisbees and tennis balls for the fur kids. And never let it be said that municipalities do not support the arts – this City of Roseville puppy park also has a non-functional fire hydrant statue where your dog can express himself via pee-mail.

A dog and his family enjoying a sunny outdoor cafe (Photo Credit, Valerie Heimerich).

The Waffle Experience
4391 Gateway Park Blvd., Suite 650
Sacramento, CA 95834
(916) 285-0562

There is no need to leave your favorite canine at home on a sunny day, when he or she can hang out with you at this excellent Natomas eatery. There is ample patio seating and plenty of people-watching opportunities to keep the dog entertained, and the staff will happily bring out a bowl of cold water and a few organic dog jerky treats as well.

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Valerie Heimerich is a freelance writer out of Sacramento. She typically covers animals and community issues. She has volunteered and worked for many organizations helping animals and people.
Her work can be found at