Dress your pets up in their best costumes Oct. 29 during Mount Pleasant Towne Centre’s Fall Fest | Photo by Jeff Nass

With the scorching heat of summer in Charleston behind us, there’s no better time than the fall to enjoy the great outdoors with your furry friends. 

“This is the perfect time of year to start a walking program,” said Kay Hyman, Charleston Animal Society’s director of community engagement. “And what better companion to have to walk in the neighborhood or our local parks than a dog friend?”

There are dozens of dog-friendly places and events around town that are fun for humans and canines alike, from events at breweries to fall festivals. 

“The most important thing for people to remember,” Hyman said, “is that dogs are part of the family. Include them in whatever they feel comfortable doing. Don’t push your dog to go to things if it’s really loud or if they don’t feel comfortable. Pay attention to your dog’s signals and make sure they’re enjoying what you’re doing.”

Mount Pleasant Towne Centre is hosting a Fall Festival this Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. This event, hosted by former radio personality Richard Todd, includes live music, children’s activities and a pet Halloween costume contest. Registration for the contest is $10 per pet and benefits the Charleston Animal Society (CAS).

Head to one of Dog & Duck’s three locations in Belle Hall, Park West or Clements Ferry for the Hazy Howl-O-Ween Pup Patio Party this Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. for another chance to show off your pup’s Halloween best. The event also features a costume contest plus adoptable dogs from Charleston Animal Society. Adoption fees at this event will be waived.

The weekly Sunday Brunch Farmers Market at the Charleston Pour House is the perfect weekend activity to enjoy with your pet. Hosted in the back of the Pour House, this farmers market features vendors, food trucks and live music. 

Charleston Beer Week starts this Friday and runs through Nov. 6 with more than 35 participating breweries offering craft beers and beer-related events. Many breweries in the Charleston area are dog-friendly, but check individual locations before bringing your pup along for a day of brews and sunshine.

As the weather cools down, some beaches allow well-behaved dogs to be off-leash at certain times. But familiarize yourself with the rules at each location before heading out.

Dogs can be off-leash on the Isle of Palms 4 p.m. to 10 a.m. Sept. 15 through March 31. Visitors are not required to have a dog license, but IOP residents are. There is also a nearby dog park at 24 Twenty-Eighth Ave. 

Sullivan’s Island welcomes well-behaved, unleashed dogs 5 a.m. to noon Oct. 1 through April 30. Dogs can be on the beach with a leash from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. All owners are required to have a dog permit, including day visitors and vacationers. 

Dogs are allowed on Folly Beach after Sept. 30, but they must be leashed at all times.

Dogs are allowed off-leash at Edisto Beach Nov. 1 through April 30. 

Dogs are allowed off-leash between Nov. 1 and March 15 on Kiawah Island. Owners must have control over the pet and carry a leash with them. Be mindful of ponds on Kiawah Island as alligators are commonly found here. 

If you’re an animal lover but don’t have a pet of your own, or you’re a pet owner considering adding another furry friend to your family, sign up for Charleston Animal Society’s Paws Around Town program. This one-day “field trip” foster program allows interested individuals to take a dog out for a playdate. CAS supplies all the necessities — collapsible water bowl, waste bags and a list of places to go. 

“Right now, we’re so packed with adult dogs,” Hyman said. “It’s a really good thing to [sign up for]. … It helps alleviate the stress of being at the shelter.”

CAS is also looking for temporary fosters lasting two days to two weeks. Right now is a great time to adopt, according to Hyman, as Jeff Cook Real Estate has sponsored the adoption fee for 100 animals, and Crews Subaru of Charleston has sponsored 10 pet adoptions for the month of October.

Stay cool. Support City Paper.

City Paper has been bringing the best news, food, arts, music and event coverage to the Holy City since 1997. Support our continued efforts to highlight the best of Charleston with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.