Pets: 9 Ways to Bond With Your Dog in Philadelphia

Walks around the neighborhood and Frisbee tosses? So boring. Instead, consider these unusual ideas for taking your four-legged friendship to a new (perhaps disturbing) level.

Cantina Los Caballitos | Photo by Christopher Leaman

Cantina Los Caballitos | Photo by Christopher Leaman

Drink with your dog at Cantina Los Caballitos • When you’ve got a bowl of guac on the table, a margarita in your hand and your BFF (yes, that would be your dog) by your side, what more do you need? This South Philly watering hole offers dog-friendly seating all around its outdoor tented area. Pooches ready to party can expect a complimentary cold bowl of water. (It’s no mango margarita, but it’ll do.) 1651 East Passyunk Avenue, East Passyunk, 215-755-3550.

See a psychic with your dog at New Age Psychic • Wondering if your four-legged pal will be rich or find the bitch of his dreams? This psychic specializes in reading your pet’s paw and energy to tell you things he might not be able to express by way of a simple bark. Hey, if nothing else, it makes for a good dog-park story. 1000 Pine Street, Washington Square West, 610-931-8896.

Sleep with your dog at Hotel Monaco • From time to time, everyone needs a staycation — otherwise known as an excuse to don a plush hotel robe and watch endless episodes of Law & Order without shame. But the struggle of finding a good dog sitter can kill that dream before it even enters your brain. That’s where this swank Old City hotel comes in: They’ll happily welcome your tail-wagging sidekick and provide everything you need, from a dog bed to dog bowls to dog-walking services, so you can take a break from the world with your cuddle buddy by your side. 433 Chestnut Street, Old City, 215-925-2111.

Beautify your dog at Duross & Langel • Next time you find yourself pulled into this shop by wafts of blood orange margarita-scented soap, don’t skip over the small but mighty selection of locally made dog products. Our picks: the dry rub, which chases that awful wet-dog smell away with lavender and lemongrass, and the shampoo, which is specially formulated to come as close as possible to the pH of a dog’s eyes, so they don’t tear up. 117 South 13th Street, Midtown Village, 215-592-7627.

Downward dog with your dog at Yoga on the Pier • All are welcome — kids and fur babies alike — at these outdoor, donation-based yoga classes held daily at Race Street Pier. If your dog isn’t the flexible type, she can hang out in corpse pose (that’s yogi for lying down, if you don’t know) while you get your sweat on. Note: If you’re reading this while daydreaming about a pet you wish you had, know that PAWS often has adoptable dogs for you to meet at the start and end of class. Race Street and North Columbus Boulevard; go to for class times.

Fine-dine your dog at Kensington Quarters • Pups who turn up their snouts at meat that isn’t local, pasture-raised and hormone-and-antibiotic-free will no doubt drool at the scent of the Swizels — cute shorthand for twisted dehydrated pig skin — and cow-liver treats made by this quality-focused Fishtown butcher shop and restaurant. Go ahead and grab yourself a snack while you’re here, too. 1310 Frankford Avenue, Fishtown, 267-314-5086.

Crossfit your dog at Ridley Creek State Park • More than 2,600 acres of meadows, woodlands and streams and 13 miles of trails, both paved and unpaved? Setting out for a jaunt through this sprawling park, just a 30-minute drive from Center City, is like giving your dog (and yourself) a multi-terrain workout and a mini-vacation from city living. 1023 Sycamore Mills Road, Media.

Brunch with your dog at Square 1682 • The only downside of this Rittenhouse restaurant’s bring-your-own-dog brunches, which run on weekends through Labor Day, is the pang of envy you’ll feel when you order Fido a dish off the doggie food menu (yes, really) that you wish you could eat yourself. Think: Chili Chow, made with grass-fed beef and organic veggies, followed by house-made peanut butter biscuits for dessert. 121 South 17th Street, Rittenhouse, 215-563-5008.

Pygmalion your dog at Zoom Room • Whether you’re looking to bring a shy dog out of its shell or tame an overly outgoing puppy who can’t keep its paws to itself — or just looking to get your pet some basic manners so you can quit shouting “Stop jumping on the guests, Fluffy!” at every dinner party — Zoom Room has a class that fits the bill. As a bonus: Most sessions don’t require you to commit to a strict schedule, so you can drop in when it works for you. 180 West Girard Avenue, Northern Liberties, 267-825-7375.

Published as “This Town Has Gone to the Dogs” in the July issue of Philadelphia magazine.