Pet-Friendly Flights, Hotels, Activities and More

Louisville, Kentucky, known for its southern charm and iconic Kentucky Derby, offers a welcoming experience for tourists traveling with their canine companions. The city boasts numerous dog-friendly parks and attractions where you can enjoy the scenic beauty of the Bluegrass State alongside your four-legged friend.

Many hotels and accommodations in Louisville are pet-friendly, providing comfortable stays for both you and your dog. From charming bed-and-breakfasts to well-known hotel chains, there are options to suit various preferences and budgets. Additionally, the city features an array of dog-friendly dining establishments, enabling you to savor Southern cuisine or sip on local bourbon while your pup relaxes by your side on outdoor patios. Louisville’s combination of history, culture, and outdoor spaces ensures an enjoyable visit for travelers exploring with their dogs.

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 Louisville, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky, is a city steeped in history and known for its unique attractions and events. Here are some of the most popular ones:

  1. Kentucky Derby: The world-famous Kentucky Derby, held on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs, is one of the most iconic horse racing events globally, drawing visitors from around the world.
  2. Louisville Mega Cavern: This former limestone cavern now serves as an underground adventure park, offering zip lines, tram tours, an underground obstacle course, and more.
  3. Louisville Waterfront Park: A scenic park along the Ohio River, it hosts numerous events, festivals, and concerts throughout the year, including the Forecastle Festival, a major music event.
  4. Muhammad Ali Center: This museum and cultural center celebrates the life and legacy of the boxing legend, Muhammad Ali, with interactive exhibits and memorabilia.
  5. Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory: Learn about the history of baseball and see how Louisville Slugger bats are made during guided factory tours. Don’t miss the giant baseball bat sculpture outside.
  6. Bourbon Distillery Tours: Louisville is part of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, and you can tour several bourbon distilleries such as Maker’s Mark, Evan Williams, and Buffalo Trace.
  7. Louisville Mega Zips: For adrenaline seekers, this zip-lining adventure course in the Mega Cavern offers a thrilling experience beneath the city.
  8. Louisville Zoo: Home to over 1,700 animals, the zoo features exhibits like Gorilla Forest, Glacier Run, and the Australian Outback.
  9. Louisville Science Center: A family-friendly attraction with hands-on exhibits, an IMAX theater, and interactive displays that make learning fun.
  10. Falls of the Ohio State Park: Just across the river in Indiana, this park showcases the fossil beds and history of the Ohio River, with scenic trails and educational opportunities.
  11. Churchill Downs: Even if you’re not visiting during the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs offers guided tours where you can learn about the history of horse racing and the track.
  12. Iroquois Park: A large urban park with hiking trails, a golf course, and scenic overlooks, perfect for outdoor enthusiasts and picnics.
  13. Kentucky Center for the Arts: Enjoy a wide range of performing arts, including ballet, theater, and concerts at this cultural hub in downtown Louisville.
  14. The Louisville Palace: A historic theater that hosts live performances, concerts, and events in a stunning and ornate setting.
  15. Louisville International Festival of Film: An annual film festival featuring independent films and documentaries from around the world, providing a unique cultural experience.

Louisville’s diverse attractions, cultural heritage, and lively events make it a captivating destination for travelers. Whether you’re interested in sports, history, bourbon, or the great outdoors, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this vibrant Kentucky city.

Picking Activities Your Dog Can Join in Louisville, Kentucky

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.

Louisville, Kentucky, offers a range of dog-friendly activities, allowing travelers to explore the city with their canine companions. Here are some options to enjoy with your dog:

  1. Cherokee Park: This scenic park features a designated off-leash dog run, allowing your pup to socialize and play freely with other dogs. The park also offers miles of trails for on-leash walks.
  2. Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest: Located just outside Louisville, this beautiful natural area welcomes leashed dogs and offers hiking trails, gardens, and scenic landscapes.
  3. Big Four Bridge: This pedestrian bridge spans the Ohio River, connecting Louisville to Jeffersonville, Indiana. Dogs are welcome, and it provides a picturesque setting for a stroll.
  4. Louisville Waterfront Park: This park along the Ohio River offers a peaceful environment for leashed walks and picnics. It hosts various events and festivals throughout the year.
  5. Iroquois Park: Leashed dogs are welcome in this large urban park, which boasts hiking trails and scenic overlooks with beautiful views of the city.
  6. Pet-Friendly Dining: Many restaurants in Louisville offer dog-friendly patios, where you can enjoy a meal or a drink with your pup. Some popular options include Against the Grain Brewery and Grind Burger Kitchen.
  7. Louisville Mega Cavern: While dogs are not allowed in the Mega Cavern adventure park itself, they are welcome to join you in the outdoor picnic area, offering a nice break during your visit.
  8. Local Dog Parks: Louisville has several dog parks, including the Sawyer Dog Park and Vettiner Dog Run, where your dog can enjoy off-leash playtime and exercise.
  9. Kentucky Horse Park: Located about an hour from Louisville in Lexington, this attraction welcomes leashed dogs and provides a glimpse into Kentucky’s equestrian heritage.
  10. Louisville Bats Baseball: The Louisville Bats occasionally host “Bark in the Park” events, allowing you to bring your dog to the baseball game for a fun outing.
  11. Bark at the Park: An annual event held at Louisville Waterfront Park, Bark at the Park offers dog-friendly activities, contests, and demonstrations.
  12. Local Pet Stores: Explore local pet stores like Feeders Supply or PetSmart, where you can shop for pet supplies and potentially find dog-friendly events or promotions.

When enjoying these activities with your dog, remember to follow local leash laws, bring waste bags to clean up after your pup, and ensure your dog is well-behaved around other dogs and people. Louisville’s pet-friendly options make it an excellent destination for travelers exploring the city with their furry friends. 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!

Dog Friendly Memphis

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I bring my dog to Churchill Downs or the Kentucky Derby?

Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed at Churchill Downs or the Kentucky Derby, so you’ll need to make arrangements for your dog while attending these events.

2. Are dogs allowed in restaurants in Louisville?

Some restaurants in Louisville have dog-friendly outdoor patios, but it’s best to check with each establishment’s policy before dining with your dog.

3. Are there off-leash dog parks in Louisville?

Yes, Louisville has several off-leash dog parks, such as the Sawyer Dog Park and Vettiner Dog Run, where your dog can play freely.

4. What are the leash laws in Louisville?

Leash laws in Louisville typically require dogs to be on a leash no longer than six feet when in public areas. Be sure to follow these regulations to ensure a safe visit.

5. Are there any dog-friendly hiking trails near Louisville?

Yes, you can explore dog-friendly hiking trails in places like Iroquois Park and Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest, but dogs should be kept on a leash.

6. Can I bring my dog on public transportation in Louisville?

Dogs are generally allowed on public buses in Louisville, but it’s recommended to check the specific transit system’s policies and fees for bringing your dog.

7. Is there a pet-friendly hotel in downtown Louisville?

Yes, Louisville offers several pet-friendly hotels in and around downtown. Always confirm their pet policies and any associated fees when booking.

8. Where can I find a dog-friendly vet in Louisville?

Louisville has many veterinary clinics and emergency pet care facilities. Research and have their contact information handy in case of any pet health concerns.

9. What are some dog-friendly events or festivals in Louisville?

Louisville hosts events like “Bark at the Park” and occasionally offers “Bark in the Park” nights at Louisville Bats baseball games, allowing you to bring your dog to the ballpark.

10. Can I bring my dog to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington?

Yes, leashed dogs are allowed at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, which is about an hour’s drive from Louisville. It’s a great place to explore Kentucky’s equestrian heritage.

Final Thoughts

Traveling to Louisville, Kentucky, with your dog can be a rewarding experience, provided you take some important considerations into account. Here are some final thoughts to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip:

  1. Check Pet Policies: Always research and confirm the pet policies of hotels, restaurants, and attractions in advance to avoid any surprises or disappointments.
  2. Leash and Clean-Up: Adhere to local leash laws and clean up after your dog in public areas. Being a responsible pet owner is crucial for a positive experience.
  3. Weather Considerations: Kentucky experiences varying weather conditions, so plan outdoor activities during suitable weather, and ensure your dog is comfortable in different temperatures.
  4. Supplies and Health: Pack essential items like food, medications, waste bags, and your dog’s identification and vaccination records. Know the location of nearby veterinary clinics in case of emergencies.
  5. Hydration: Keep your dog well-hydrated, especially during outdoor adventures. Carry water for both you and your pet, and provide regular water breaks.
  6. Local Veterinary Information: Familiarize yourself with the location of veterinary clinics or emergency pet care facilities near your accommodations.
  7. Pet Comfort: Consider your dog’s comfort and well-being while traveling. Ensure they have a secure and well-ventilated travel carrier or seat belt harness for car travel.
  8. Doggie Daycare: If planning activities where dogs are not allowed, such as certain attractions or dining establishments, arrange for doggie daycare services to keep your pet safe and happy.
  9. Local Pet Services: Explore local pet stores and services, which can provide supplies, grooming, and information on dog-friendly events in the area.
  10. Respect Others: Be mindful of other travelers and pet owners. Keep your dog well-behaved and avoid allowing them to approach strangers without permission.
  11. Enjoy the Experience: Louisville offers a blend of history, culture, and outdoor opportunities that can be enhanced when shared with your canine companion. Capture memorable moments and cherish the unique adventures together.

Traveling with your dog to Louisville can be an enriching experience, as the city offers a variety of dog-friendly activities and welcoming spaces. With careful planning and a focus on your pet’s comfort and safety, you can create lasting memories in this charming Kentucky city.

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