Norfolk, Virginia, nestled along the Chesapeake Bay, offers a pet-friendly atmosphere ideal for dog owners. The city boasts beautiful dog parks, like the Ghent Dog Park, providing ample space for canine play. The scenic Elizabeth River Trail is a perfect spot for dog walking, showcasing Norfolk’s picturesque waterfront. The city’s moderate climate, with distinct but mild seasons, ensures a comfortable experience for outdoor adventures with your furry companion throughout the year.
In Norfolk, the welcoming spirit towards pets extends to various establishments. Many restaurants and cafes throughout the city, particularly in the vibrant Ghent neighborhood, feature dog-friendly outdoor seating areas. Norfolk also hosts a variety of pet-centric events and festivals, celebrating the joy of pet ownership. With an array of pet-friendly accommodations, Norfolk ensures a hospitable stay for visitors traveling with their dogs, making it a delightful destination for pet lovers.
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.
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.
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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.
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
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.
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 Norfolk, Virginia
Norfolk, Virginia, a city with a rich naval history and vibrant cultural scene, offers a variety of popular tourist attractions and events:
- Norfolk Botanical Garden: Explore over 175 acres of stunning gardens, with seasonal displays, themed gardens, and tram tours.
- Nauticus and Battleship Wisconsin: A maritime-themed science center and museum, featuring the impressive USS Wisconsin, a historic battleship open for tours.
- Virginia Zoo: Home to hundreds of animals, this zoo offers an engaging experience for all ages, with exhibits featuring animals from around the world.
- Chrysler Museum of Art: This museum boasts an extensive art collection, including glass art, European paintings, and contemporary American works, along with rotating exhibitions.
- The NEON District: Known as Norfolk’s Arts District, it’s a hub for art lovers, featuring vibrant street murals, galleries, and unique shops.
- Town Point Park: A waterfront park that hosts various festivals and concerts throughout the year, offering beautiful views of the Elizabeth River.
- Harbor Cruise: Take a cruise around the harbor to see Norfolk from a different perspective, with options ranging from naval base tours to sunset cruises.
- The Ghent District: A charming area known for its eclectic boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants, perfect for a leisurely stroll.
- American Rover Sailing Cruises: Experience a sail on a tall ship, offering daytime and sunset cruises around the harbor.
- Norfolk Festevents: Throughout the year, Norfolk hosts various events and festivals, including the Norfolk Harborfest, Bayou Boogaloo Music & Cajun Food Festival, and the Grand Illumination Parade.
These attractions and events showcase Norfolk’s unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, making it an attractive destination for a wide range of tourists.
Picking Activities Your Dog Can Join in Norfolk, Virginia
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.
Norfolk, Virginia, is a great destination for visitors with dogs, offering a variety of dog-friendly activities. Here are some highlights:
- Dog Parks: Norfolk has several dog parks where your furry friend can play off-leash. Popular choices include Ghent Dog Park and the Bea Arthur Dog Park, which even features a waterfront area for dogs who love to swim.
- Walking and Hiking Trails: The Elizabeth River Trail offers a scenic route for dog walking, stretching along the waterfront and through historic neighborhoods. It’s a great way for you and your dog to explore the city.
- Outdoor Dining: Many restaurants and cafes in Norfolk, especially in the Ghent neighborhood, offer dog-friendly outdoor patios. This allows you and your pet to enjoy the city’s diverse culinary scene together.
- Pet-Friendly Shopping Centers: Outdoor shopping areas like MacArthur Center and the shops in the Historic Ghent District welcome well-behaved dogs, allowing you to enjoy shopping with your pet.
- Community Events: Norfolk hosts various dog-centric events throughout the year, including pet parades and meet-ups in parks where dogs are welcome.
- Parks and Recreational Areas: Besides dog-specific parks, many of Norfolk’s parks allow leashed dogs, making them perfect for a leisurely stroll or a picnic.
- Dog-Friendly Accommodations: There are several pet-friendly hotels in Norfolk, ensuring a comfortable stay for you and your pet.
- Pet Boutiques and Grooming Services: The city has a selection of pet boutiques and grooming services where you can pamper your pet or pick up special treats and accessories.
Engaging in these activities can make your trip to Norfolk enjoyable for both you and your dog, ensuring a memorable visit. 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!
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Are there any dog-friendly hotels in Norfolk?
Yes, Norfolk offers several pet-friendly hotels like the Sheraton Norfolk Waterside Hotel and The Westin Virginia Beach Town Center, which accommodate dogs with various amenities.
2. Can I bring my dog to restaurants in Norfolk?
Many restaurants in Norfolk, particularly in the Ghent neighborhood, have dog-friendly outdoor patios. Places like The Public House and Cogan’s Pizza welcome dogs in their outdoor dining areas.
3. What are some good dog parks in Norfolk?
Norfolk has great dog parks, including Ghent Dog Park and Bea Arthur Dog Park, which even features a swimming area for dogs.
4. Are there any hiking or walking trails suitable for dogs?
The Elizabeth River Trail is a fantastic option for walking your dog, offering scenic views along the waterfront and through historic areas.
5. Is downtown Norfolk dog-friendly?
Downtown Norfolk is relatively dog-friendly, with several areas and outdoor spaces where pets are welcome, but it’s always best to check specific locations for their pet policies.
6. Does Norfolk host any dog-centric events?
Norfolk often hosts dog-friendly events, including pet parades, adoption events, and festivals in parks where dogs are welcome.
7. Can I take my dog shopping in Norfolk?
Some shopping areas and outdoor markets in Norfolk are dog-friendly. The Historic Ghent District, in particular, is known for welcoming dogs in many of its shops.
8. Do I need to keep my dog on a leash in public areas?
Yes, dogs should be kept on a leash in public areas in Norfolk, except in designated off-leash areas like dog parks.
9. Where can I find emergency veterinary care in Norfolk?
Norfolk has several veterinary clinics and animal hospitals. It’s advisable to know the nearest one to your accommodation in case of emergencies.
10. Are there any pet supply stores in Norfolk?
Norfolk offers various pet supply stores, including major chains like PetSmart and local boutiques, where you can find food, toys, and accessories for your dog.
Traveling with a dog to Norfolk, Virginia, can be a highly enjoyable experience, thanks to the city’s array of dog-friendly amenities and activities. Here are some final thoughts to consider for a fulfilling trip:
- Climate Considerations: Norfolk experiences a humid subtropical climate, with hot summers and mild winters. Ensure your dog stays comfortable, particularly in the summer heat, by providing plenty of water and avoiding the hottest parts of the day for outdoor activities.
- Choose Pet-Friendly Accommodations: There are numerous dog-friendly hotels in Norfolk. Select a place that not only allows pets but also offers amenities to make your dog’s stay comfortable. Always check the hotel’s specific pet policies, including any additional fees.
- Explore the Outdoors: Norfolk’s parks and trails, like the Elizabeth River Trail, are great for taking your dog on walks or hikes. The Ghent Dog Park and Bea Arthur Dog Park offer excellent off-leash areas for play and socialization.
- Enjoy Dining with Your Dog: Take advantage of the city’s dog-friendly dining scene, particularly in areas like Ghent, where many restaurants welcome dogs on their outdoor patios.
- Follow Local Rules: Adhere to leash laws and always clean up after your dog. Being a responsible pet owner helps maintain a friendly atmosphere for all visitors and locals.
- Stay Hydrated and Safe: Keep your dog hydrated and watch out for signs of overheating or exhaustion, especially during warmer months.
- Emergency Preparedness: Know the location of the nearest veterinary clinic. In case of an emergency, having this information readily available can be crucial.
- Engage with the Community: Participate in local dog-centric events if your visit coincides with them. These can be great opportunities to meet locals and enjoy the community spirit.
Traveling to Norfolk with your dog allows you to explore the city from a different perspective and can enhance your overall experience. With its blend of historical charm, natural beauty, and pet-friendly amenities, Norfolk is a welcoming destination for dog owners.