The Not-So-Secret Life of Pets: Dogs live their best life this summer in South Florida

Your furry friends will be pampered like princes and princesses at the W South Beach.

We won’t be so cliché as to dub this the “Dog Days of Summer,” but you can have a blast with your canine bestie in South Florida this season. Don’t worry — they don’t need to don an emotional support dog jacket to join you for movies, lake swims and luxe vacations — everything is BYOD (Bring Your Own Dog).

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Because we all like indoor activities where they crank the air conditioning, head to SILVERSPOT Cinema in Downtown Miami the second Tuesday of every month for Movie Night with your Dog. Fur babies can sit on the floor or cuddle with you on a reclining seat to peep the latest feature like “The Secret Life of Pets 2.” Free treats and pup-tinis for dogs, generous menu for you. ($15 for owner and one dog, $5 for additional dogs.)

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Dog costumes are strictly optional at SILVERSPOT Cinema’s Movie Night with your Dog.

And, who needs Cannes when we have the Canine Film Festival? This two-day film festival featuring original short films about dogs (and cats!) hits the SILVERSPOT on July 13-14 along with a doggy fashion show, dog yoga and brunch at Miami Lakes Hotel and Golf. Funds raised support local shelters and rescues. Well-behaved dogs on a leash and up to date on vaccines are welcome.

Cool for the Summer.

In the words of Anchorman Ron Burgundy: “Cannonball!” Your dog can live the lake life at Performance Pups in Dania Beach, where the expansive freshwater lake is open for swimming, retrieving balls and toys, or leaping off the docks. (Humans can wade into the water to interact with their pups but aren’t allowed to swim.) If you’d rather have the lake to yourself, rent it for private play or doggie birthday parties.

Pet Party!

Fact — there’s nothing cuter than a dog in a party hat hanging with his tail-wagging best buds, and Doggie Bag Cafe & Pet Boutique will throw your dog a bash to remember. They’ll take care of everything from the pup-cakes to the accessories and toys for the whole dog gang. They also offer classes to teach owners how to cook healthy meals for their pets.

Pack Your Pet.

Can’t stand the thought of leaving your dog behind while you vacation? Escape with your pet to W South Beach where dogs are treated like royalty thanks to their Pets Are Welcome (PAW) Program. Dogs receive a plush pet toy and delicious treats, as well as an exclusive W Hotels pet bed, food and water bowl with floor mat.


At Loews Miami Beach, where the motto is “Loews Loves Pets,” there are amenities like loaner pet beds and litter boxes, special in-room menus, an on-property private pet park, and Miami Joe Coffee Co just launched frozen yogurt cups for dogs. And, who doesn’t like free stuff? The new-ish Aloft Miami Aventura welcomes pups under 40 pounds for no charge and their pet-friendly program offers a special bed, bowl and a comped doggie bag of treats and toys. Even restaurants like International Smoke — located inside (pet-friendly) Aventura Mall — are treating dogs to gourmet dishes like ground beef on top of steamed white rice, a slow-smoked beef bone, and a variety of biscuits.

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Kyle Chesser. Juicy treats and delicious snacks at International Smoke.

If your summer vacation takes you down to the Florida Keys, there are so many new resorts that welcome dogs, like the laidback Baker’s Cay Resort in Key Largo where dogs roam free on the beaches, exuberantly splashing in the water. Expect beachside tikis meant for lounging, custom life jackets for water activities, and every Friday after 4 p.m. at Dry Rocks restaurant, the resort’s Director of Pet Relations, a husky named Maya, leads the Paw Happy Hours complete with bacon-flavored appetizers and dog beer.

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Maya knows what's cool for the summer — bacon and beer for her #squad.

Key West is a top dog destination with a long list of dog-friendly restaurants and bars, and upscale hotel stays like The Perry Hotel and eco-chic The Gates Hotel. Hop on a kayak or paddle board to glide through the mangroves with Lazy Dog Adventures in Key West, founded by dog lover Sue Cooper, who brings her Border Collies to work.

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Sue Cooper and Jax paddle through a perfect sunlit day on the ocean.

“The joke was that they were lazy because they were always laying around, but the truth was that they were tired because we did everything with them, from kayaking to boating,” says Cooper.

The crew at Lazy Dog will teach you how to paddle with your dog, so everyone feels comfortable on the water.

“What I love most is the connection that the dog has with its owner during these activities.”