• Cuyamaca Animal Hospital

The Ultimate Pet-Friendly Guide to Santee

Updated: Feb 26

San Diego is probably one of the most pet-friendly areas of the world, but what about Santee? Cuyamaca Animal Hospital knows that many of our clients love spending quality time with their pets out in the community, as do we.


So, we decided to put together a list of the best pet-friendly places you can take your dog here in Santee from dog parks to restaurants.




Here is the ultimate guide to the best pet-friendly places in Santee:


Santee Dog Parks


1. Woodglen Vista Dog Park

With secure and safe fencing and a clean, fun atmosphere, Woodglen Vista Dog Park is a great place to take your pups! We love how spacious this park is, and the trees surrounding the area is very peaceful - a must visit! Woodglen Vista Dog Park also has a large playground and grassy area for the kids, too!


The Details:

Location: 10300 Woodglen Vista Dr.

Hours: Mon - Sun: 6am - 8pm



2. Big Rock Park

For any sporty visitor, Big Rock Park features basketball courts, tennis courts, and more. If your pup is in need of a free space to run and play, Big Rock Park also offers an off-leash dog area! 


The Details:

Location: 8125 Arlette St.

Hours: Mon - Sun: 5am - 10pm



3. Mast Park (now open!)

It's open - yay!! Mast Park now has modern facilities and updated play areas for your family and pets. The updated dog park is now also divided into three sections dedicated to puppies, small dogs, and big dogs!


The Details:

Location: 9125 Carlton Hills Blvd.

Hours: TBD



Santee Dog-Friendly Lakes and Trails


1. Walker Preserve Trail

Anyone who loves to hike will love Walker Preserve Trail, a dirt trail that’s good for the runner, walker, or even bike-rider! Walker Preserve Trail also offers drinking fountains for humans and their pets, with plenty of pet waste bag stations along the way. Visitors will also love the abundance of picnic tables and rest areas to just sit, rest, and enjoy the great outdoors. 


The Details:

Location: 9500 N. Magnolia Ave.

Hours: Dawn - Dusk




2. Mission Trails Regional Park

We love a park that goes above and beyond to offer the Santee community a space to get away from the noise of modern-day urban living. Mission Trails Regional Park clocks in at a whopping 7,220 acres of natural and recreational spaces. Whether you need a simple nature walk or want to be more involved with community events, Mission Trails is a great place to visit!


The Details:

Location: 1 Father Junipero Serra Trail

Hours: Mon - Sun: 9am - 7pm



3. Cowles Mountain Trail

The more experienced hiker will love Cowles Mountain Trail—3 miles long and accessible all year. The Cowles Mountain Trail is open to leashed-up dogs, too, so you can enjoy incredible scenic views alongside your best furry friend. Don’t forget to bring water for Fido, especially on warmer days, as this hike can get pretty steep!


The Details:

Location: 8282 Mesa Rd.

Hours: Open 24 Hrs. 



4. Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve


Tired of the same old route around the block with your dog? We all know that dogs need a change of scenery and scents, too. Take your pup to the Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve and check out their Pet Walk area (through the walk-in gate at Lake Canyon Road). 


The Details:

Location: 9310 Fanita Pkwy.

Hours: Mon - Thurs: 8am - 5pm; Fri - Sun: 6am - 5pm




Santee Pet-Friendly Restaurants


1. Janet's Cafe & Deli

If you and your pup are in need of a good brunch spot, Janet’s Cafe & Deli is the place to go! We love how pet-and-family-friendly Janet’s is, and it’s our favorite spot for breakfast and lunch. With popular classics like eggs benedict and country fried steak, you and your pup will love dining together on the patio at Janet’s Cafe & Deli.


The Details:

Location: 9225 Carlton Hills Blvd.

Hours: Mon - Sat: 6:30am - 2:30pm; Sun: 6:30am - 1:30pm



2. Phil's BBQ

Known for having the best barbecue (and ranch) and the best service, Phil’s BBQ is a Santee favorite. Better yet, Phil’s BBQ isn’t just pet-friendly, they’re pet-accommodating. Ask the staff for a water bowl for your dog, or even a bag of bones to take home after lunch!


The Details:

Location: 9816 Mission Gorge Rd.

Hours: Sun - Thurs: 11am - 10pm; Fri - Sat: 11am - 11pm



3. Jimmy's of Santee

If you need a good home-cooked meal but don’t have the time, head straight to JImmy’s of Santee, the neighborhood restaurant of your all-American dreams! Their menu offers classic comfort food for all three meals, making it a great spot to eat any time of day. If the weather is nice (which, let’s be honest, is about 90% of the time), you take Fido out to their dog-friendly patio!


The Details:

Location: 9635 Mission Gorge Rd.

Hours: Mon - Fri: 7am - 9pm; Sat - Sun: 6am - 9pm



4. Gillespie Field Cafe

How cool is a restaurant located right next to the Tower at Gillespie Field Airport? Aircraft and car fanatics will love hitting up Gillespie, not only for their model vehicles and special events but their classic American fare and pet-friendly patio. 


The Details:

Location: 2015 N. Marshall Ave.

Hours: Mon - Sun: 7am - 3pm



Santee Pet Businesses


1. Essential Grooming

We at Cuyamaca Animal Hospital know that your pets deserve expert, quality care for all their needs. That’s why we recommend Essential Grooming, a salon that cares and builds special relationships with your dogs so that they can get the grooming they deserve according to their unique needs. They’re one of the only groomers with Master Groomers in the area, so if you’re looking for experts, they’re at Essential Grooming. :)


The Details:

Location: 9225 Carlton Hills Blvd, Suite 22

Hours: Tues - Sat: 8am - 5:30pm



2. Furry Friends Resort

How can we not recommend our favorite neighbors and partners!? Located right next door to Cuyamaca Animal Hospital, Furry Friends Resort is the place to take your pet for any boarding or daycare needs. Did you know that they also have some staff members who are Fear-Free certified? That means Furry Friends has the same values we at Cuyamaca Animal Hospital do—creating spaces for pets to feel less stress, less fear, and more happy!


The Details:

Location: 8790 Cuyamaca St., Suite G

Hours: Mon - Fri: 7am - 7pm; Sat - Sun: 8am - 6pm (Closed 12pm - 2pm every day)




3. K-9 Aquatics & Wellness Center


Aquatics & Wellness Center offers beautiful facilities for your pet to swim, play, and exercise. Warm water exercise is also GREAT for the special pets in our hearts: senior pets or pets with any special physical needs. It’s ideal for many dogs with arthritis, post-surgical conditioning, paralysis, dysplasia, and just overall wellness, flexibility, and endurance.


The Details:

Location: 10925 Hartley Rd.

Hours: N/A



4. Cuyamaca Animal Hospital


We might be biased, but we are proud to offer the Santee community the care that your pets deserve! With state-of-the-art facilities, separate entrances and areas for cats and dogs, and Fear-Free certified staff-members, our veterinarians are committed to expert and quality care for every client that walks through our doors. We are proud to be the best veterinarians in town because of our passion for education, health, and happiness.


We also offer many surgical procedures and emergency services that other veterinarians in the area do not - think of us as your veterinarian specialist at a fraction of the cost!


The Details:

Location: 8802 Cuyamaca St.

Hours: Mon - Fri (minus Wed): 8am - 7pm; Wed: 8am - 5pm; Sat: 8am - 2pm



Each and every day, we at Cuyamaca Animal Hospital are grateful to support the Santee community in the ongoing pursuit of health and happiness for every animal. Did you know that we not only treat cats and dogs, but rabbits, guinea pigs, and other small animals, too? Not only that, but we offer a wide variety of services you won’t find at other healthcare clinics, like pet acupuncture and nutrition counseling. 


We are always looking for ways to inform our clients and the greater Santee community with ways to improve the lives of our beloved pets. Follow us on Facebook @CuyamacaAnimalHospital or give us a call at (619)-448-0707 for more tips and recommendations.

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