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Traveling With Your Dog to Columbus, Ohio: Pet-Friendly Flights, Hotels, Activities and More

Written by: Tarit Das
Tarit is a Special Projects Coordinator at,, and The Hero Company. He likes pets for their honesty and loyalty and believes they have no match. They are one of the most selfless creatures and just love to be around their owners.Read more
| Published on December 18, 2023

Reviewed by: Dr. Theresa Fossum

Reviewed by:

Dr. Theresa Fossum

Meet Dr. Theresa (Terry) W. Fossum, DVM, MS. Ph.D., Diplomate ACVS – a remarkable animal lover whose passion for animal care and innovative solutions has left an indelible mark on the veterinary world. As the CEO of both Phoenix Animal Wellness and Epic Veterinary Specialists, she's ensuring dogs and cats receive the highest level of care and compassion.Read more

Columbus, Ohio, is a welcoming destination for travelers with dogs, offering a variety of pet-friendly attractions and amenities. The city boasts numerous dog parks, such as the Scioto Audubon Dog Park and Wheeler Memorial Dog Park, providing ample opportunities for your furry friend to play and socialize. Pet-friendly accommodations, including hotels and vacation rentals, ensure a comfortable stay for both you and your dog.

Exploring Columbus is a breeze with your canine companion, as many restaurants and cafes offer pet-friendly patios where you can enjoy a meal together. The city’s rich history, vibrant arts scene, and beautiful parks, like the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, provide diverse experiences for you and your dog to enjoy. Columbus’s friendly atmosphere and dog-loving culture make it a fantastic destination for travelers eager to explore the city while accompanied by their beloved pets.

Columbus Dog Friendly

Should You Travel with Your Dog?

Whether or not you should travel with your dog depends on your dog’s personality and health. If your dog gets anxious easily, bringing them on a trip isn’t ideal. However, some dogs are great at adapting to new situations and love exploring different places, so those dogs would probably do well on the go.

Regardless of your dog’s temperament, there may be times when they need to travel with you, such as if you’re moving to a new location. If that’s the case, you may need to take extra precautions to ensure they’re as comfortable as possible. That could include stopping more frequently during a long drive or asking your vet about whether or not medications could help.

What to Pack When Traveling with Your Dog

Your dog may not need as much stuff as you do for a trip, but they still need the essentials. Plus, bringing items that look and smell familiar to your furry friend can help them feel more comfortable.

Here’s a list of supplies you should bring for your dog:

This list is just a general guide of things you may need. Your packing list may vary based on where you’re going, how you’re getting there, and what activities you have planned. If you have space to spare, it can’t hurt to pack extra pet supplies out of caution.

Dog going for road trip

What to Include in a Dog First Aid Kit

A dog first aid kit should include essential items like bandages, antiseptic wipes, tweezers, a thermometer, and a muzzle for safety. It’s also important to have saline solution for eye washing and a blanket for shock or cold. For a complete list of everything you need, see a comprehensive dog first aid guide here!

Finding a Dog-Friendly Hotel

While planning your trip, make sure you find a dog-friendly place to stay. Many lodging options, whether they’re a large hotel chain or a small local property, are willing to allow pets with some restrictions. The best way to know if your dog is welcome is to call the property before booking.

Looking for a pet-friendly Hotel so you can share your vacation with your four-legged friend? We’ve partnered with top travel sites to find you the best possible deals around. Just enter your travel plans below, and you’ll find pet-friendly hotels wherever you’re traveling. 

Dog sleeping at hotel

Other Lodging Options

Even though most popular hotel chains allow pets to some extent, they still might not be the right choice for you. Many prevent large dogs or more than two dogs at a time. Some may also prevent you from leaving your dog alone in the hotel, which can be difficult if you have some plans that aren’t pet-friendly. In this case, consider finding your pup a pet sitter who can take care of your dog while you’re enjoying a quiet dinner, seeing the sights or even taking in a show.

Book a Rover dog sitter and give your dog the best day ever!

So, if you’re struggling to find a good hotel, you may want to check other types of lodging, such as campgrounds or booking sites like Airbnb and Vrbo. Those options are often more flexible with pet restrictions because they don’t need to follow the policies of big chain hotels. Like with hotels, you should always contact the property to get the most detailed information on their pet restrictions.

Dog-Friendly Transportation Options

For most dogs, the scariest part of going on a trip is getting there. Dogs who aren’t used to riding in a car are likely to be anxious during a road trip and even more so on an airplane. So, here are some tips for how to keep your dog safe and comfortable when heading to your destination.

Driving with Your Dog

If possible, driving long distances with your dog will usually be easier and more comfortable than flying, especially if you have a large breed. However, you should make sure your dog is okay with riding in the car before you bring them on a road trip. If they don’t ride in the car much on a regular basis, start by taking them for short drives in preparation for the trip.

Here are some tips for taking a road trip with your dog:

  • Get your dog’s energy out before the long drive (take them for a walk, play fetch, etc.)
  • Make sure your dog is secure and comfortable (use a crate or dog seat belt, and make sure they have a cozy bed)
  • Stop more often than you need to so your dog can stretch their legs and do their business
  • Offer your dog fresh water every time you stop
  • Never leave your dog alone in the car on a warm/hot day

Buckling dog into car

Flying with Your Dog

Most dogs have ridden in the car at one point or another, but flying with your dog is a much different experience. If your dog is under 20 pounds, they can ride in the cabin on most airlines, but if your dog is larger than that, they may have to fly in the cargo hold. Not being able to see your dog during the flight can be stressful, which is why families with larger dogs typically prefer to drive when possible.

Almost every airline allows dogs, but some have stricter rules than others. Always check an airline’s pet policy before planning to fly on it with your pup.

Dog in airplane carrier

How to Travel with an Anxious Dog

If you have an anxious dog, driving and flying might both seem tricky. Luckily, there are things you can do to help a stressed-out dog feel more at ease while on the go.

  • Get your dog familiar with travel – take them to places they enjoy, such as the park, instead of only the vet.
  • Bring familiar items, such as their favorite beds and toys.
  • Keep their feeding times and bathroom breaks as close to their normal routine as possible.
  • Give them lots of exercise before getting in the car or entering the airport.
  • Stay calm – your dog may pick up on if you’re stressed and become more worried as a result.
  • Try anti-anxiety products, such as ThunderShirts and heartbeat toys.

While the above tips may reduce your dog’s anxiety, extremely anxious dogs will likely still show some fear in unfamiliar situations. Pet CBD Products, such as those made by Cannanine, can help calm down nervous pups during travel. Cannanine offers CBD oil and soft chews, both of which effectively calm dogs while being THC-free. Plus, every Cannanine product purchased donates meals to shelter dogs.

Top Tourist Attractions in Columbus, Ohio

Columbus, Ohio, is a diverse and dynamic city with plenty of attractions and events to enjoy. Here are some of the most popular tourist attractions and events in Columbus:

Tourist Attractions:

  1. Columbus Zoo and Aquarium: Home to thousands of animals from around the world, this renowned zoo offers an immersive wildlife experience.
  2. Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens: Explore beautiful gardens, stunning plant collections, and captivating art installations.
  3. Ohio Statehouse: Tour the historic Ohio Statehouse, where you can learn about Ohio’s government and history.
  4. COSI (Center of Science and Industry): A hands-on science museum that’s perfect for families and curious minds.
  5. Columbus Museum of Art: Discover a diverse collection of art, including American and European masterpieces.
  6. German Village: Stroll through this charming historic neighborhood with brick streets, quaint houses, and European flair.
  7. Topiary Park: Inspired by Georges Seurat’s painting “A Sunday Afternoon on the Isle of La Grande Jette,” this park features living sculptures.
  8. Scioto Mile: A scenic urban park along the Scioto River with walking paths, fountains, and beautiful city views.
  9. North Market: A bustling marketplace with a variety of food vendors, local products, and artisanal goods.
  10. Short North Arts District: A lively neighborhood known for its art galleries, boutiques, restaurants, and vibrant street art.

Annual Events:

  1. Ohio State Fair: A beloved summer tradition with rides, concerts, agricultural exhibits, and delicious fair food.
  2. Columbus Arts Festival: A three-day celebration of visual and performing arts, featuring local and national artists.
  3. Columbus Pride Festival: One of the largest LGBTQ+ pride events in the Midwest, featuring a colorful parade and festivities.
  4. Columbus International Film + Video Festival: The longest-running film festival in the United States, showcasing independent and international films.
  5. Red, White & BOOM!: Central Ohio’s largest Independence Day celebration, featuring a spectacular fireworks display.
  6. Ohio Chinese Lantern Festival: A winter event featuring intricate lantern displays, cultural performances, and holiday festivities.
  7. Columbus Italian Festival: A celebration of Italian culture with food, music, and cultural activities.
  8. Columbus Marathon: A popular race event that takes participants through the city’s scenic neighborhoods and landmarks.
  9. Columbus Food Truck Festival: A delicious festival featuring a wide variety of food trucks from the region.
  10. HighBall Halloween: A creative and extravagant Halloween celebration in the Short North Arts District, known for its costume couture.

Columbus offers a blend of culture, entertainment, and outdoor beauty, ensuring there’s always something exciting to explore. Whether you’re interested in art, science, history, or simply enjoying the vibrant atmosphere, Columbus has attractions and events to captivate every traveler.

Picking Activities Your Dog Can Join in Columbus, Ohio

If you’re traveling with your dog for vacation, you should make sure they can join you for most, if not all, of your activities. Since dogs aren’t allowed indoors in many places, you should travel when the weather is nice to ensure you can spend time outside with your furry friend.

Columbus, Ohio, is a dog-friendly city with plenty of activities to enjoy with your furry companion. Here are some popular dog-friendly activities in Columbus:

  1. Dog Parks: Columbus has several dog parks where your pup can socialize and play off-leash. Some well-known options include Wheeler Memorial Dog Park and Godown Dog Park.
  2. Hiking and Trails: Explore dog-friendly hiking trails like the Scioto Audubon Metro Park Trails and the Alum Creek Greenway Trail, where leashed dogs are welcome.
  3. Scioto Mile: Enjoy a leisurely walk along the Scioto Mile, a scenic urban park along the riverfront, with designated areas for dogs.
  4. Paddleboarding and Kayaking: Some local water sports companies offer dog-friendly paddleboarding and kayaking experiences, allowing your dog to join you on the water.
  5. Dog-Friendly Breweries: Columbus has a thriving craft brewery scene, and many of them have dog-friendly outdoor seating areas. Grab a local brew with your pup by your side.
  6. Pet-Friendly Patios: Many restaurants in Columbus offer pet-friendly outdoor seating on their patios. Explore dining options while your dog relaxes with you.
  7. Frank Fetch Park: Visit this charming neighborhood park in German Village, known for its dog-friendly atmosphere and beautiful gardens.
  8. Dog-Friendly Events: Keep an eye out for dog-friendly events like “Bark in the Park” baseball games at Huntington Park or pet-friendly fundraisers and festivals.
  9. North Market: Dogs are welcome in the outdoor seating area at North Market, where you can enjoy diverse culinary options.
  10. Shopping: Some local shops and boutiques, especially those in pet-friendly neighborhoods like the Short North, may welcome well-behaved dogs inside.

Remember to keep your dog on a leash where required, clean up after them, and be mindful of other visitors. Columbus’s friendly and inclusive atmosphere ensures that both you and your furry friend can enjoy the city’s outdoor beauty and social scene. This is just a list to get you started because the dog-friendly activities will vary based on where you’re visiting. While most outdoor events welcome pets as long as they’re well-behaved and you clean up after them, it’s always a good idea to check the event’s details to be sure. With enough planning and good weather, you can hang out with your dog the entire vacation!

PLEASE NOTE: We make every effort to provide accurate information, but locations change their policies regarding dogs from time to time. Always check location websites or reach out to them directly to ensure that dogs are still allowed.

Dog Friendly Columbus

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are dogs allowed on public transportation in Columbus?

Generally, small dogs in carriers are allowed on public transportation in Columbus, such as buses and the COTA (Central Ohio Transit Authority). Policies may vary, so it’s best to check with the transportation provider for specific guidelines.

2. Can I bring my dog to restaurants with outdoor seating in Columbus?

Many restaurants in Columbus offer dog-friendly outdoor seating areas. Always check with the individual restaurant for their pet policies and patio availability.

3. Where can I find off-leash dog parks in Columbus?

Columbus has several off-leash dog parks, including Wheeler Memorial Dog Park, Godown Dog Park, and Scioto Audubon Dog Park, where your dog can play and socialize off-leash.

4. What are the rules for dogs in public parks and trails in Columbus?

In most public parks and trails in Columbus, dogs are required to be on a leash. Some parks may have designated off-leash areas, so always follow posted rules and regulations.

5. Are there dog-friendly hiking trails near Columbus?

Yes, there are dog-friendly hiking trails near Columbus, including those in the Metro Parks system and the Alum Creek Greenway Trail. Keep your dog on a leash and clean up after them.

6. Can I take my dog to cultural attractions like museums in Columbus?

Most cultural attractions in Columbus do not allow dogs inside. However, you can often explore outdoor areas, gardens, and surrounding grounds with your leashed dog.

7. Where can I find pet supply stores and grooming services in Columbus?

Columbus has numerous pet supply stores and grooming salons, including national chains like PetSmart and local boutiques. Check online directories for locations.

8. What should I do in case of a pet emergency in Columbus?

Familiarize yourself with the locations of veterinary clinics and emergency animal hospitals in Columbus. Keep their contact information and your dog’s medical records accessible in case of emergencies.

9. Are there any dog-friendly events or festivals in Columbus?

Columbus hosts dog-friendly events and festivals throughout the year, such as Bark in the Park at Huntington Park, which offers fun activities for dogs and their owners.

10. Can I take my dog to shopping areas in Columbus?

Some local shops and boutiques, especially those in pet-friendly neighborhoods like the Short North, may welcome well-behaved dogs inside. It’s always best to ask the shop’s staff for their policy.

Final Thoughts

Traveling to Columbus, Ohio, with your dog can be a rewarding experience, given the city’s pet-friendly amenities and welcoming atmosphere. To make the most of your trip, consider these final thoughts and tips:

  1. Check Pet Policies: Before your trip, research the pet policies of your accommodations, dining choices, and planned activities. Ensure your dog is welcome, and be aware of any associated fees or rules.
  2. Leash and Clean-Up: Always have a leash for your dog and carry waste bags to clean up after them. Respect local regulations and dispose of waste properly to maintain a clean environment.
  3. Hydration: Columbus experiences varying weather conditions, so carry water for your dog during outdoor activities and offer regular breaks for hydration.
  4. Identification and Records: Ensure your dog wears identification tags with your contact information. Carry proof of vaccinations and medical records, just in case.
  5. Emergency Preparedness: Familiarize yourself with the locations of veterinary clinics and emergency animal hospitals in Columbus. Keep their contact information and your dog’s medical records accessible.
  6. Pet Comfort: Pack essentials like your dog’s food, medications, bedding, and favorite toys to ensure their comfort during the trip.
  7. Weather Awareness: Be mindful of the weather, especially in colder months. Prepare accordingly with appropriate clothing and protection for your dog.
  8. Respect Local Regulations: Follow local leash laws, off-leash areas, and specific pet regulations. Always adhere to posted rules to ensure a positive experience for all.
  9. Dog-Friendly Activities: Take advantage of Columbus’s dog-friendly parks, trails, and dining options. Explore the city together and create lasting memories.
  10. Enjoy the Community: Columbus has a welcoming and inclusive pet-friendly community. Connect with local dog owners and explore shared interests, making the trip enjoyable for both you and your furry friend.

With proper planning and consideration for your dog’s needs, Columbus offers a diverse range of experiences, from cultural attractions to outdoor adventures, that you can enjoy together. Embrace the city’s friendly atmosphere and create cherished memories with your loyal companion.

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