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Traveling With Your Dog to Minneapolis, Minnesota: Pet-Friendly Flights, Hotels, Activities and More

Written by: Tarit
| 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

Minneapolis, Minnesota, is a fantastic destination for dog-loving tourists. This city boasts a plethora of dog-friendly parks, trails, and attractions. From the serene paths around Lake Calhoun, perfect for on-leash walks, to the spacious Minnehaha Off-Leash Dog Park, where your furry friend can run free, Minneapolis offers a range of outdoor adventures for both you and your canine companion.

Many local cafes and breweries offer dog-friendly patios, and pet-friendly accommodations make it easy to find a comfortable stay for you and your pup. With its welcoming attitude towards four-legged friends and a variety of outdoor and indoor activities, Minneapolis ensures that your dog can be part of your unforgettable travel experience in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Minneapolis 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 Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minneapolis, Minnesota, is a vibrant city with a wide range of popular tourist attractions and events to enjoy:

  1. Minnehaha Falls: This stunning urban waterfall is located in Minnehaha Regional Park and is a must-see natural wonder. Visitors can hike, bike, or walk along scenic trails and enjoy picnics by the falls.
  2. Walker Art Center: One of the country’s premier contemporary art museums, the Walker Art Center features a diverse collection of modern art, sculpture gardens, and rotating exhibitions.
  3. Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA): MIA houses an extensive collection of art spanning 5,000 years, including works from various cultures and time periods. Admission is free, making it accessible to all.
  4. Mill City Museum: Explore Minneapolis’s rich history as a flour milling capital at the Mill City Museum, housed in a historic mill building. It offers engaging exhibits and panoramic views of the city.
  5. Guthrie Theater: Theater enthusiasts can catch a show at the Guthrie, known for its world-class performances and distinctive architecture overlooking the Mississippi River.
  6. Chain of Lakes: Minneapolis is famous for its beautiful Chain of Lakes, including Lake Calhoun, Lake Harriet, and Lake of the Isles. These offer opportunities for boating, biking, swimming, and picnicking.
  7. Sculpture Garden: Adjacent to the Walker Art Center, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden features iconic sculptures like the Spoonbridge and Cherry, making it a delightful outdoor art destination.
  8. Minnesota State Fair: Held annually in nearby St. Paul, the Minnesota State Fair is a summer highlight featuring food on a stick, live entertainment, carnival rides, and agricultural exhibits.
  9. Twin Cities Pride Festival: This LGBTQ+ pride festival, one of the largest in the Midwest, includes a colorful parade, live music, and a vibrant celebration of diversity and inclusion.
  10. Holidazzle: During the holiday season, Holidazzle transforms downtown Minneapolis into a festive wonderland with lights, markets, and entertainment.
  11. Minneapolis Aquatennial: This summer festival celebrates the city’s lakes and waterways with events like the Torchlight Parade, fireworks, and water ski shows.
  12. Minnesota Vikings and Minnesota Timberwolves Games: Sports fans can catch NFL football or NBA basketball action by attending games at U.S. Bank Stadium and Target Center, respectively.

Minneapolis offers a dynamic blend of cultural attractions, natural beauty, and exciting events year-round, making it an appealing destination for tourists seeking a diverse range of experiences.

Picking Activities Your Dog Can Join in Minneapolis, Minnesota

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.

Minneapolis, Minnesota, is a dog-friendly city with plenty of activities to enjoy with your furry friend. Here are some dog-friendly activities in Minneapolis:

  1. Minnehaha Off-Leash Dog Park: This spacious, fenced-off area near Minnehaha Falls allows dogs to run and play off-leash. It’s a favorite spot for both locals and tourists.
  2. Lake of the Isles: The scenic walking and biking trails around Lake of the Isles are perfect for on-leash walks with your dog. Enjoy beautiful views of the water and the surrounding greenery.
  3. Theodore Wirth Regional Park: This expansive park offers hiking trails, picnic areas, and designated off-leash areas for dogs to roam freely. It’s a great place to spend a day outdoors.
  4. Bassett Creek Dog Park: Located near downtown Minneapolis, this dog park provides an off-leash area for dogs to socialize and play. It features separate sections for small and large dogs.
  5. Dog-Friendly Breweries: Minneapolis has several dog-friendly breweries with outdoor seating, including Lakes & Legends Brewing Company and Sociable Cider Werks, where you can enjoy a drink with your pup.
  6. Paddleboarding and Kayaking: Some local rental companies offer dog-friendly paddleboarding and kayaking experiences on the city’s lakes. Your dog can join you on the water adventure.
  7. Dog-Friendly Restaurants: Many Minneapolis restaurants with outdoor patios welcome well-behaved dogs. Some popular options include Aster Cafe and Red Wagon Pizza Company.
  8. Pet-Friendly Accommodations: Numerous hotels, motels, and vacation rentals in Minneapolis are pet-friendly, ensuring a comfortable stay for both you and your dog.
  9. Loring Park: This centrally located park offers pleasant walking paths and green spaces where you can take your dog for a leisurely on-leash stroll.
  10. Pet-Friendly Shopping: Some shops in Minneapolis, such as Bone Adventure and Urban Tails Pet Supply, allow dogs to accompany their owners while shopping for pet supplies and treats.
  11. Dog-Friendly Events: Keep an eye out for special dog-friendly events in the city, including dog festivals, charity walks, and pet adoption events.

Remember to always follow local leash laws and clean up after your dog when visiting public spaces. Minneapolis’ welcoming attitude towards dogs and its abundance of outdoor activities make it an ideal destination for travelers looking to explore the city with their four-legged companions. 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 Minneapolis

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are dogs allowed on public transportation in Minneapolis?

Yes, dogs are generally allowed on public transportation in Minneapolis, including buses and light rail, but they must be on a leash or in a carrier. Be sure to check the specific rules and guidelines of each transit service.

2. Are there any dog-friendly hotels in Minneapolis?

Yes, Minneapolis offers a variety of pet-friendly hotels, motels, and vacation rentals. It’s advisable to call ahead and confirm their pet policy and any associated fees.

3. Can I take my dog to restaurants or cafes in Minneapolis?

Many restaurants and cafes in Minneapolis have dog-friendly outdoor seating areas. Some even offer special dog menus or water bowls for your pet. Always check with the establishment for their pet policy.

4. What are the rules for visiting parks and lakes with a dog in Minneapolis?

Minneapolis has several dog-friendly parks and designated off-leash areas. In general, dogs should be on a leash in most city parks unless it’s a designated off-leash area. Be sure to clean up after your dog to keep the parks clean.

5. Where can I find dog-friendly hiking trails near Minneapolis?

Nearby parks such as Theodore Wirth Regional Park and Afton State Park offer dog-friendly hiking trails. Always check trail rules and leash requirements before heading out.

6. Is there a dog beach in Minneapolis?

While Minneapolis itself doesn’t have a dog beach, nearby Lake Minnetonka offers dog-friendly beaches, such as Excelsior Commons Beach, where dogs can swim and play.

7. Are there any doggy daycares or pet-sitting services in Minneapolis?

Yes, Minneapolis has several doggy daycares and pet-sitting services where you can leave your dog in safe hands if you have other plans or need some alone time.

8. Are there any pet supply stores in Minneapolis?

Minneapolis has numerous pet supply stores, including national chains and local shops, where you can find pet food, supplies, and accessories.

9. What should I do in case of a pet emergency in Minneapolis?

Research the location of the nearest veterinary clinics or emergency pet services in advance so you know where to go if your pet needs medical attention.

10. Can I bring my dog to local events or festivals in Minneapolis?

Some events and festivals in Minneapolis are dog-friendly, but it’s best to check the event’s website or contact the organizers in advance to confirm their pet policy.

Final Thoughts

Traveling with a dog to Minneapolis, Minnesota, can be a rewarding experience, but it requires thoughtful planning to ensure a positive trip for both you and your furry companion. Here are some final thoughts and tips for a successful visit:

  1. Plan Ahead: Research dog-friendly accommodations, restaurants, and activities in advance. Make reservations when necessary, especially for pet-friendly lodging.
  2. Check Local Regulations: Familiarize yourself with local leash laws and pet policies in public spaces, parks, and transportation systems. Always follow these rules to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit.
  3. Pack Essentials: Bring your dog’s essentials, including food, water, bowls, leash, collar with ID tags, poop bags, and any necessary medications. Don’t forget their favorite toys and a comfortable travel crate or bed.
  4. Weather Considerations: Minneapolis experiences diverse weather, so pack appropriate gear for your dog, including sweaters for cold winters and protection from the sun in the summer.
  5. Health and Safety: Prior to your trip, schedule a vet checkup to ensure your dog is up-to-date on vaccinations and in good health. Keep a copy of your dog’s medical records on hand.
  6. Exercise and Play: Minneapolis offers numerous parks, trails, and outdoor spaces for your dog to enjoy. Make sure your pup gets enough exercise and mental stimulation during your visit.
  7. Pet-Friendly Accommodations: Many hotels and vacation rentals in Minneapolis are pet-friendly, but confirm their specific policies, fees, and amenities for dogs.
  8. Courtesy and Cleanliness: Be a responsible pet owner by cleaning up after your dog in public areas and respecting the property and rules of dog-friendly establishments.
  9. Emergency Contacts: Know the location of the nearest veterinary clinics or emergency pet services in case your dog requires medical attention during your stay.
  10. Alone Time Planning: If you plan to visit attractions or dine at non-dog-friendly restaurants, arrange for pet-sitting or doggy daycares to ensure your dog’s well-being.
  11. Enjoy Together: Lastly, enjoy your time in Minneapolis with your furry friend. The city’s dog-friendly atmosphere and beautiful outdoor spaces make it an ideal destination for pet lovers.

With careful preparation and a respectful attitude towards local regulations, traveling with your dog to Minneapolis can result in a memorable and enjoyable experience for both you and your canine companion.

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