Dog Is My Co-Pilot: Wisconsin Pet Travel Tips

By Jeanette Hurt
Special to

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 the B&B's resident pooches in the backyard, which was outfitted with toys and pooper scoopers that made playtime and cleanup a breeze.

Except for visits to wineries and the Peninsula Players Theatre, 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.

How to Plan Your Wisconsin Trip

To enjoy the best vacation with your pooch, first make sure that you have pet-friendly accommodations. Just look for the "Pets Welcome/Inquire" feature on listings in Bed and Breakfasts, Cabins and Cottages, Condos and Vacation Homes, Hotels and Motels, or Resorts pages.

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.

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 Your 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.

This entry was posted in Places to Stay