Dog Is My Co-Pilot: Traveling With Your Pooch

By Jeanette Hurt

Many innkeepers leave little treats by your bed to induce sweet dreams, but at The Feathered Star Bed and Breakfast in Door County, a dog treat was sitting alongside our two pieces of cherry fudge.

Our four-footed friend Olivia was allowed to spend the night in our deluxe guest room, which featured a fireplace and semi-private porch. Better yet, she was welcomed with open arms by host Sandy Chlubna -- and the wagging tails of her dogs Thunder and Hannah. Olivia played with Thunder and Hannah in the inn’s back yard, outfitted with toys and pooper scoopers that made play-time and clean-up a breeze.

Except for visits to wineries and the Peninsula Players, Olivia joined us on all of our adventures during that trip. She hiked to lighthouses, dined al fresco on patios, even shopped at a funky pet store.  In short, it was everything a Door County vacation should be, and we got to take our dog along too.

Though it might take a bit more planning, traveling with your dog is one of the best things about vacationing in Wisconsin. Unless you stay in a resort that doesn’t take dogs, pretty much all four corners of the state are dog-friendly.

To enjoy the best vacation with your pooch, first make sure that you have pet-friendly accommodations. Just click the "Pets Welcome" orange checkbox on the right side of our Bed and Breakfasts, Cabins and Cottages, Condos and Vacation Homes, Hotels and Motels, or Resorts pages. Other resources include The Dog Friendly Web site, and Pets Allowed.  Most destination Web sites, including Door County’s, will let you search for pup-friendly places.  Some major hotel chains also welcome canines, including La Quinta, Sheraton and Motel 6.

Many dining destinations that have patios also invite dogs. In Door County, we took Olivia to Shipwrecked Restaurant, Brewery & Inn, and whenever we’re in Madison we just pick a patio on State Street. When dining al fresco and al poochie, do ask before sitting down with your dog – not all patios are pet-friendly, so inquire first.

Hiking, running and even roller blading can be more fun with your dog.  State parks and many local parks allow them, and there are also many off-leash dog parks to also explore. Call the local convention or visitor’s bureau – they’ll give you the inside scoop on where to romp, and will often direct you to stores that hand out dog treats.

There are plenty of canine-centric events to experience. The Scottie Rally in Door County brings together Scottish terriers and their owners for a weekend of fun every spring. The event includes a Parade of the Scots, a cookout and plenty of other terrier delights. There’s also the annual Washington “Bark” Dog Day in Milwaukee. Visit for updates and for other pooch-friendly activities in the area. Anytime it’s not too cold, you can run your dogs at the Luring Course, a fenced-in running course for dogs in Kenosha.

Tips for traveling with a pooch

•  Only travel with your dog who’s well behaved. Dogs who howl or bark the moment you leave them alone in the hotel room often aren’t welcomed back. Nor are destructive dogs or dogs who are unclear about the concept of potty training.
•  Make sure you have food, bowls, toys, treats and bedding packed. Your dog will feel more comfortable traveling with some of her favorite things.
•  Always pick up after your dog. It should go without saying, but some dog owners give the rest of us a bad name.
•  Have fun. Fun comes naturally to a dog, so if you bring your dog along, you’re guaranteed to have a memorable vacation.

Jeanette Hurt is freelance writer based in Milwaukee. Content produced in cooperation with Wisconsin Trails,  For a complimentary copy of Wisconsin Trails magazine please e-mail

This entry was posted in Places to Stay and tagged Features and Profiles