With Pet in Tow | Traveling in The D with Pets

March 20, 2017  |   Story by Ilene Wolff  

Metro Detroit packs lots of wonderful treats for those traveling with four-legged friends.


Dog Parks, Doggie Day Cares & Dog-friendly Restaurants

The Motor City is going to the dogs — in a good way. Here are some attractions and addresses designed to make your dog’s days happy ones.

  • The Mall at Partridge Creek is an open-air mall and a popular spot for pooches. Several dog comfort stations are located in the common areas. Look for signage at store entrances that denote dog-friendly stores.
  • The Pet Beastro is sort of a health food store for pets. Owner Jill Tack stocks high-quality food, safe treats, natural toys, organic herbs and essential oils, and offers alternative health treatments for dogs and cats. She’s also working toward a doctorate in pet naturopathy.
  • Grand Circus Dog Park is in the heart of downtown and is operated by Detroit’s Recreation Department. Fenced with shade trees, tables for sitting and artificial turf.
  • Midtown Dog Park is sponsored by Midtown Detroit Inc. and Shinola, maker of luxury watches, leather goods, bicycles and pet accessories. Fenced with picnic tables. Admire the large Shinola city clock.
  • Camp Bow Wow offers boarding, day care and grooming (excluding hair cuts). This business will come to your home or hotel room to pet-sit.
  • Oakland County Parks have three dog parks, and canines are welcome on leash also at Addison Oaks, Catalpa Oaks, Groveland Oaks, Highland Oaks, Independence Oaks, Rose Oaks and Waterford Oaks.
  • Traffic Jam & Snug is a bakery/brewery/restaurant in Midtown welcomes pets to join the party on the outdoor patio.

Other pet-centric places where you can pamper your pooch — or favorite feline for that matter:

Cass Corridog in Midtown • Teacups & Toys Pet Boutique in Birmingham • 3 Dogs 1 Cat in Detroit • Bone Appetite in Utica • Halliday’s Pet Resort and Day Care in Canton • The Urban Dog in Rochester Hills • Three Dog Bakery in Clinton Township • Woofhaven Dog Park in Woodhaven • Bark-A-About Pet Activity Center and Resort in Shelby Township


Pet-friendly Hotels in Metro Detroit

After a day on the town, you and your pet can relax in one of metro Detroit’s many dog-welcoming accommodations, ranging from historic downtown hotels to suburban chains.

“The most popular one on our website is the Westin Book Cadillac Detroit,” said Melissa Halliburton, author of the pet travel book Ruff Guide to the United States and founder of the website bringfido.com. “They allow two dogs under 40 pounds in each room for no additional fee and have a ‘five bone’ rating.”

The Westin Detroit Metropolitan Airport also allows dogs less than 40 pounds for no additional fee.

Another popular choice, added Halliburton, is the MotorCity Casino Hotel. “They are popular because they allow up to two dogs under 30 pounds in each room, but there is a charge of $125 per pet per stay.”

And if your pet, and you, are looking/feeling a little scruffy by the end of your stay, why not book farewell grooming sessions for you both? Drop said pet at one of Blondy’s two Canine to Five locations — there’s one in Detroit’s trendy Midtown and one in the inner-ring suburb of Ferndale. Then, make your own appointment. Not surprising, two of the city’s most dog-centric hotels also know how to cater to pets’ human counterparts. Hit D.Tour Spa in MotorCity Casino Hotel or The Spa Book Cadillac (conveniently located in the five-bone-rated Westin Book Cadillac Detroit), where a hot stone-plus-nail treatment is sure to make you growl with satisfaction.


Fido, Stay!

Many Detroit-area hotels and motels welcome crated companions.

  • Best Western claims to be a leader in pet-friendly accommodations, but each location is independently owned, so it’s best to check first. A room reservation may allow up to two dogs, up to 80 pounds each, with a maximum $100 charge and $50 refundable damage deposit. There are Best Westerns in Allen ParkLivonia and Woodhaven.
  • The Crowne Plaza Detroit Downtown Riverfront allows two dogs up to 40 pounds, with a pet fee of $25 per stay, and a $50 refundable deposit.
  • Red Roof Inn allows one well-behaved family pet permitted; must be declared at registration and not left unattended in room. There are Red Roof Inns in Belleville, Detroit, Dearborn, Farmington Hills, Lincoln Park, Melvindale, and Plymouth.
  • The Residence Inn Detroit Novi – Marriott allows two dogs up to 80 pounds each, for a fee of $100 per stay.
  • The Sheraton Detroit Novi allows two dogs up to 80 pounds each, provides dog beds and has an area to walk pets adjacent to the hotel.
  • Towne Place Suites Marriott Detroit Novi allows two pets per room, up to 100 pounds each, $100 nonrefundable fee.


Traveling With Pets

Those flying in will, of course, arrive at Detroit Metro Airport. If that sounds stressful, consider this: According to airport sources, four-legged travelers are VIP guests. All pets must stay in their travel crates, except when nature calls. Then they can use either of two animal relief areas at each of the airport’s two terminals. Look for signage indicating “Service Animal/Pet Relief Area.”

Once luggage is collected, catch a ride with Crown Limousine, which is dog-friendly and will gladly transport crated animals and their owners to their accommodations, said owner James Daniels.

Insider tip: Ask your driver about a tour. For an extra fee, Crown Limos will take you by notable Detroit hot spots, such as the Fox Theatre, Comerica Park, Ford Field and the three downtown casinos.

That’s exactly what Candilynn Lockhart did with her celebrity dog DaVinci, a three-year-old mini-dachshund mix that regularly makes media rounds on behalf of a charitable foundation bearing his name.

“We were being picked up at the airport, and our limousine driver said we do tours of Detroit,” said Lockhart. “They’re completely dog-friendly.”

Only catch: Dogs must stay inside their carrier during the entire ride to minimize any allergic reaction for subsequent limo guests.

Lockhart and DaVinci also recommend touring Detroit’s waterfront via a charter boat. The pair boarded at Bray’s Boating Services on the Detroit River in Wyandotte. Owner Tommy Bray, who also offers fishing expeditions, has two regular, 30-mile, round-trip tours from April through October, weather permitting. He asks that pets be on a leash and bring their own life vest.

For those who prefer to keep all four paws on the ground, Liz Blondy, owner of two Canine to Five doggy day care locations in metro Detroit, hosts leashed riverfront pack walks weekly, May through October. (She scales back to monthly walks November through April.) Scheduled walks and other activities are listed on the website.

Blondy, mother to Bunny, a Newfoundland, and Argon, a Great Pyrenees, also organizes Drinking with Dogs May through September at Detroit restaurants and bars. “It’s really nice to walk your dog through Campus Martius, down Woodward (Avenue) to Hart Plaza and then down the Detroit RiverWalk,” said Blondy.


Dog Bakeries & More

Dog parks, pet bakeries and special canine recreation venues are also plentiful in and around the city.

In Grosse Pointe Farms, Lisa Bardy not only bakes organic and nonorganic treats at her Bow Wow Baketique, including wheat-free and gluten-free offerings, but she also hosts a weekly ice cream social year-round on Thursday evenings.

“It’s kind of cool because everybody’s relaxed,” said Bardy. “It’s a great, friendly, everybody-gets-along atmosphere.”

Bardy supplies refreshments to the two-legged revelers. They, in turn, can pamper their pets with either apple and cheddar or banana and peanut butter Yoghund Frozen Yogurt from Bardy’s freezer, a Baketique-prepared pupcake or a locally made Beer Bone, made from spent brewing grains. The four-legged friends can wash down their treats with Bowser Beer (nonalcoholic, of course).

After indulging in Baketique’s treats, it may be time to let Fido romp around at one of Detroit’s dog parks to burn some calories.

A group of dog owner-volunteers worked for three years to open the PetSmart P.U.P.’s Detroit Dog Park at a former playground in Detroit’s historic Corktown neighborhood in May 2014.

“Detroit is an incredibly dog-friendly town,” said one of those owner-volunteers, Mary Lorene Carter. “My own excellent mutt gets to snooze under my desk at work.”


Pet Talk With Olympic Figure Skater Charlie White

Olympic gold medalist Charlie White is metro Detroit’s resident figure skating superstar (he and Meryl Davis were the first American pair in U.S. history to garner the gold in Olympic ice dancing, in 2014). He also happens to be a happy pet owner. He tells Visit Detroit, in fact, that when he travels, he often brings along his most prized possessions with him — his Olympic gold medal and his two adorable Cavachons, DJ and Finn.

Here’s what Charlie had to say about traveling to and from Detroit with his four-legged pals.

VISIT DETROIT: When you travel with your pooches, what are some of the must-have items in their bags?

WHITE: DJ has one stuffed animal that she treats like a baby. All of the other toys she has ripped up, but this one is very special to her, so it always makes the trip.

VISIT DETROIT: Do you bring your Detroit pride with you as you travel?

WHITE: I am very proud of Detroit and of being from the area, and everyone around the world knows it.

VISIT DETROIT: When you’re not traveling, and are spending time at home in metro Detroit, do you have any favorite places you take the dogs?

WHITE: One of the best things about metro Detroit is the abundance of parks. DJ and Finn love going for walks through nature. To them it always feels like an adventure, and I get to enjoy the sights and relax.

VISIT DETROIT: When you have a little free time, what are some of your favorite things to do together — go for walks, wrestle, raise DJ above your head like in the Lion King (referring to a recent Instagram photo from Charlie)?

WHITE: All of the above. And it’s double trouble since the recent addition of Finn. Those fur babies are the best at keeping a smile on my face.

VISIT DETROIT: Your first Cavachon, DJ, did you get her from a local shelter?

WHITE: My fiancée, Tanith, got her in Pennsylvania when she lived there, but we love the Humane Society and always love to show our support for what they do.

VISIT DETROIT: When DJ and Finn are being extra good, do you reward them with Detroit gear or treats?

WHITE: To be honest, they don’t have any more room in their closet for anything — besides U of M gear.

Don’t forget a metro Detroit-branded sports town souvenir for your furry friend — many stores carry apparel for professional as well as collegiate teams.

University of Michigan dog toy 3dogs1cat.com

Detroit Tigers dog collar detroitathletic.com

NHL Hunter MFG Detroit Red Wings Dog Bowl sportsmaniausa.com


When You Gotta Go, You Gotta Go

Detroit Metro Airport’s McNamara Terminal has an animal relief spot before security on the lower level outside the International Arrivals area, and another after security adjacent to Gate A-34.

Detroit Metro Airport’s North Terminal has two pet relief areas — on the upper level at the north and south ends of the Departures curb.


Local Dog Treats

Purchase Buddy Bones at Detroit pizza chain Buddy’s Pizza. The sales of the bones, made from leftover pizza dough, benefit the Michigan Humane Society.

Treat your pooch to Shelby Township-based Biscuit Bob’s all-natural bones and bite-size snacks. No wheat, no corn, no soy. He promises. biscuitbob.com

Mentioned Attractions And Venues
  1. Detroit Metro Airport
    2500 World Gateway Place, I-94 at Merriman Road, Detroit, MI 48242734-AIR-PORT (24 Highlight on map | More Details
  2. Detroit RiverFront Conservancy
    600 GM Renaissance Center, Ste. 1720, Detroit, MI 48243313-566-8200 Highlight on map | More Details
  3. The Westin Book Cadillac Detroit
    1114 Washington Blvd., Detroit, MI 48226313-442-1600 Highlight on map | More Details
  4. The Westin Hotel - Detroit Metropolitan Airport
    2501 Worldgateway Place, Detroit, MI 48242734-942-6500 Highlight on map | More Details
  5. MotorCity Casino Hotel
    2901 Grand River Ave., Detroit, MI 48201866-782-9622 Highlight on map | More Details
  6. Crowne Plaza - Detroit Downtown Riverfront
    2 Washington Blvd., Detroit, MI 48226313-965-0200 Highlight on map | More Details
  7. Residence Inn by Marriott - Detroit Novi
    27477 Cabaret Drive, Novi, MI 48377248-735-7400 Highlight on map | More Details
  8. Sheraton Detroit Novi Hotel
    21111 Haggerty Road, Novi, MI 48375248-349-4000 Highlight on map | More Details
  9. TownePlace Suites - Detroit Novi
    42600 W. 11 Mile Road, Novi, MI 48375248-305-5533 Highlight on map | More Details
  10. The Mall at Partridge Creek
    17420 Hall Road, Clinton Twp., MI 48038586-226-0330 Highlight on map | More Details
  11. Traffic Jam & Snug
    511 W. Canfield St., Detroit, MI 48201313-831-9470 Highlight on map | More Details
  12. 3 Dogs 1 Cat
    2714 Riopelle St., Detroit, MI 48207313-888-9803 Highlight on map | More Details
  13. Suburban Collection Showplace
    46100 Grand River Ave, Novi, MI 48374, United States248-348-5600 Highlight on map | More Details
  14. Canine to Five Dog Daycare, Dog Boarding and Grooming
    3443 Cass Ave, Detroit, MI 48201, United States313-831-3647 Highlight on map | More Details
  15. Bow Wow Bake Shop
    20207 Mack Ave, Grosse Pointe Woods, MI 48236, United States313-469-7204 Highlight on map | More Details
  16. PetSmart P.U.P.'s Detroit Dog Park
    17th St & Rose St, Detroit, MI 48216 Highlight on map
  17. Sit Stay Swim
    29885 Ford Rd, Garden City, MI 48135, United States734-525-9500 Highlight on map
  18. The Pet Beastro
    27637 John R Rd, Madison Heights, MI 48071, United States248-548-3448 Highlight on map | More Details
  19. Grand Circus Dog Park
    Witherell St & E Adams Ave, Detroit, MI 48226 Highlight on map
  20. Midtown Dog Park
    Cass Ave & W Canfield St, Detroit, MI 48201 Highlight on map
  21. Camp Bow Wow
    19795 E 9 Mile Rd, St Clair Shores, MI 48080, United States586-445-9663 Highlight on map
  22. Addison Oaks County Park
    1480 W Romeo Rd, Leonard, MI 48367, United States248-693-2432 Highlight on map
  23. Groveland Oaks County Park
    14555 Dixie Hwy, Holly, MI 48442248-634-9811 Highlight on map
  24. Highland Oaks County Park
    6555 Milford Rd, Holly, MI 48442, United States248-858-0906 Highlight on map
  25. Independence Oaks County Park
    9501 Sashabaw Rd, Village of Clarkston, MI 48348, United States248-625-0877 Highlight on map
  26. Rose Oaks County Park
    10501 Buckhorn Lake Rd, Holly, MI 48442, United States248-858-0906 Highlight on map
  27. Waterford Oaks Water Park