Things to Know Before Bringing Your Dog to Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island is a destination for the whole family, including your furry friend! With over 70 miles of trails, 25-plus outdoor dining options, and three dog-friendly places to stay you’ll have a blast exploring with your dog.

But there are a few things to consider when trying to decide if you should bring your dog to Mackinac Island. Not every dog is a Mackinac Island dog and that’s okay. There has been an increase in dog-to-dog, dog-to-horse, and dog-to-person incidents over the years and everyone on Mackinac Island wants this to be the best experience for you, your pet and all of our guests.

Dr. Jeffrey Powers, a veterinarian who has assisted Mackinac Island with animal care for the past five years, provides helpful advice and different things to consider from his experiences with animal emergencies on Mackinac Island.

The 6-minute video has more details, but here are some of the main takeaways from Dr. Powers:

  • A trip to Mackinac Island is one of the most social times and stimulating situations your dog will ever experience. If they are shy around people, other dogs or unknown experiences like horses trotting by, you might consider a different option for them.


  • Downtown Mackinac Island can get extremely congested. Getting off Main Street and into some of the interior trails Mackinac Island is a great destination for dogs with lots of trails and water for splashing a great way to explore other parts of Mackinac Island.


  • There is a limited amount of resources for the treatment and emergency care of pets and animals on Mackinac Island.


  • Pay attention to temperatures and watch for overheating, especially for dogs with long hair. Always be sure to have a portable water container and extra water during your stay.


  • Because of the proximity to other dogs, people and horses it’s a good idea to have a recent health checkup for your dog and make sure they are up to date on all vaccinations.



  • Think about what you want your trip to Mackinac Island to look like and have a plan for busy crowds, hot days and places that are not dog friendly. Consider a local kennel or a house sitter as an alternative for your dog.
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