Necessity is the mother of invention. In Andrea Servadio’s case, she needed a doggy day care facility equipped to exercise her feisty Jack Russell Terrier Brecken, but she found Los Angeles’ selection a bit lacking. Thus came the invention: Servadio and her partner, Brandy Han, founded Fitdog Sports Club in 2009, which has since blossomed into the equivalent of an Equinox for dogs.
What started out as a business with only 30 clients, Fitdog now has over 1,000, though Servadio and Han cap the number of dogs they’ll take in at 75. “Our play area could technically accommodate up to 150 dogs, but we like to give each dog more attention, plus we want them to have space,” she says. The company offers a superabundance of services, including boarding, grooming, day care, beach excursions, canyon hikes, and even treadmill workouts.
According to Servadio, most dogs need at least 35 to 40 minutes of exercise per day. For working breeds—pitbull mixes, shepherds, terriers—the numbers skew a bit higher. “Those dogs need to be walked multiple times a day, and often need to be taken on runs or hikes,” she says. Want to be part of your pup’s exercise regime? Servadio has curated the below list of five summertime walks and hikes you and your furry companion can take in together.
What you’ll need: Water, a water bowl, poop bags, and Musher’s Wax (or doggie footwear) to protect your pup’s paws from heat-induced blisters. If you plan on being out for a long period of time, bring a baggie of treats or even kibble—dogs need snacks, too.
Griffith Observatory West Trail Loop
“Dogs are welcome in the Griffith Park and West Trail Loop. There is a quaint picnic area at the base where you can relax with friends and have lunch before taking off on the path to the top, where you’ll enjoy views of the city and observatory. Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed in the observatory, but if you are with a group of people, you can rotate in and out.”
Malibu's Sandstone Peak
“At 3,111 feet, Sandstone Peak is the tallest point in the Santa Monica Mountains. The summit can be reached via a 6.25-mile loop with 1,075 feet of elevation gain that offers expansive views of the range. Forty minutes from Santa Monica, you will feel like you are embarking on a true adventure.”
Palisades Park in Santa Monica
“If there was a ‘see and be seen’ place for dogs, this would be it. I go every Sunday morning with my runners group, and for my dog it’s like a social hour. Whether it’s early in the morning or the sun is setting, there is never a shortage of dogs walking, running or hanging out with their owners. There are also meet-up groups and social gatherings where dogs can get together and play.”
Santa Monica Beach and South Bay Bike Path
“Quintessential Southern California, this path will take you from Santa Monica through the oddities of Venice Beach all the way to Marina Del Rey. The only caveat: At the start of the path in Santa Monica, you will be sharing road with bikers, roller bladers, walkers, and runners, so it’s important to have your dog securely by your side. If you are heading south towards the Santa Monica Pier, a pedestrian path immerges, which is recommended for walkers (and dogs).”
Loyola Marymount University Running Trail
“This unknown trail offers runners and walkers a little serenity from the city only a short drive away. Right off Lincoln Boulevard, this dirt trail provides views of Playa Vista and the ocean. Since it’s never crowded, dogs are mostly found off-leash running the trail with their owners.”