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13 Dog-Friendly Date Night Ideas, Because Leaving Your Dog At Home Is The Worst

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Recently, my husband and I realized we share a bad habit. When we lived in an apartment, we could name every dog on our floor but only a handful of their owners. On walks around our neighborhood, we find ourselves greeting dogs before greeting the humans walking them. We're working on it. Unsurprisingly, we don't like going many places without our own pups in tow. With these 13 dog-friendly date night ideas, you can spend time with your human love without the soul-crushing guilt of leaving your four-legged love at home.

Fellow dog people know that guilt to which I am referring. It's that sinking feeling when you're greeted with sloppy kisses and spastic tail wags after a long day out of the house, only to promptly turn around and go back out again for the evening. In our house, a glass door means staring into two sets of sad, puppy dog eyes while backing out of our driveway, and it's the worst. I'm a firm believer that adding dogs to any activity makes it twice as fun. Whether you share dogs with your partner or you're finally asking out the person from the dog park you've had your eye on, these are all great ways to incorporate your dog into your date.

1. Grab dinner someplace with a dog-friendly patio.

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The best restaurants are the ones that let you bring your dog. If the weather is nice, head to a restaurant with a nice patio for a dinner or lunch date. This kind of date is always easier if your dog is pretty mellow... but it's certainly funnier if your dog isn't.

2. Go for a evening hike.

There really is no better date than one involving dogs, endorphins, and some vitamin D. Head to a local hiking trail or local park with your date and dog and stretch your legs. Make sure to bring water (for everyone!) and a flashlight if the sun is setting. Pro tip: A light-up dog harness is a game-changer – and excellent safety measure – for dimly-lit dog walks.

3. Have a picnic.

I'm a sucker for a romantic picnic. Pack up your favorite transportable meal, a bowl of kibble for your dog, and a comfy blanket for the ground. If you're lucky enough to live near a beach, a waterfront picnic is really unbeatable. Otherwise, a picnic in the park it is!

4. Cook a meal at home together.

Eating dinner at home can be just as romantic as eating dinner out, and naturally your pup will be thrilled that you're staying in. Pick out a new recipe you've never tried before, put on a good playlist, and get cooking. Don't forget to make something dog-friendly for Fido, too.

5. Watch the sunset together.

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With a little research, you can find the best sunset-watching hidden gems in your town. Pack a few snacks, a blanket, and grab a front row seat to nature's best show with your two favorite companions.

6. Netflix and chill...

But actually Netflix and chill! My husband and I love to clear out our coffee table and turn our living room floor into one big blanket and pillow fortress for a movie night. Obviously the dogs love the fact that we're joining them on the floor for once.

7. Splurge on a dog-friendly staycation.

You don't need to book an elaborate trip to "get away" for the weekend. If you have a special occasion to celebrate and room in the budget, look into dog-friendly hotels in your area. Book a room for a night or two, and spend the weekend playing tourist in your own city.

8. See an outdoor movie.

I always joke that it's a travesty that movie theaters don't allow dogs. Luckily, you can still catch a flick with your partner and pup if your town has any drive-in theaters or movies in the park. Bring some movie treats, comfortable lawn chairs, and a blanket (and maybe a few peanut butter Kongs if you're feeling generous).

9. Get ice cream.

Warm nights call for ice cream and dog walks, so why not combine the two? Grab two ice cream cones and take a stroll, or enjoy them on a dog-friendly patio.

10. Go to the local dog park.

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I typically don't believe "the more the merrier" when it comes to dates, with the exception of dogs. It's impossible to have a bad date when you're being swarmed by pups at the dog park, which is why I highly recommend it. If you can time your dog park trip for sunset, even better!

11. Go camping.

For the outdoorsy couple, a weekend camping trip is an excellent way to get out into nature, have a bit of romance, and include the dogs. If you're not up for sleeping in the elements, there's nothing wrong with pitching a tent just for an all-day excursion.

12. Plan a puppy playdate.

If the person you're dating has a dog, a puppy play date at a local park or at one of your homes is the perfect way to introduce them while spending some quality time together. If you and your love have a dog of your own, plan a double date with another couple who has dogs.

13. Head to a dog-friendly winery for a tasting.

Yes, you can actually combine two of your favorite things: dogs and wine. Some wineries are upfront about their dog policies, but you may have to call around to others to find out. Pick a day with lovely weather and take the squad to a winery with outdoor tastings. My only warning is that life may not get any better.