Hartford is a moderate-sized town located in the heart of Iowa. Sadly, there aren't many dog-friendly places in the area. Hartford does have a few parks where you and your leashed pal can get some exercise or go for a daily walk -- unfortunately, that's about it for dog-friendly amenities in Hartford! However, 19 miles northeast is Des Moines, where you'll find paw-lenty of dog-friendly things to do and see. There are no vet clinics within Hartford, but you'll find quality vet care for your pooch just 9 miles away, in Carlisle, IA.
Snookies Malt Shop is the local ice cream shop in Des Moines. It's open from March through September, and all canine customers receive a free cone! Want something heartier? Mad Meatball is a pizzeria and pub serving up pizza, pasta, beer, scotch, and bar snacks in Des Moines. Bring the whole family along to one of the five dog-friendly outdoor tables!
Scenic Route Bakery is a corner cafe and bakery dishing out breakfast pastries, light lunch fare, brewed coffee and espresso drinks, craft beer, wine, and plenty of baked goods. The bakery has five dog-friendly outdoor tables.
After you've fueled up for your adventures in Des Moines, prepare to play at the day away at one of the muttropolis's many city parks! Fido will pawsitively love it!
You’ll find Rover's Ranch just 10 miles away from Hartford. This is a membership-only ranch that will allow you to enjoy all its amenities with either a visit fee or an annual pass. This huge dog park has so much more to offer than any other dog park within a hundred-mile radius! There are boarding facilities, pools to swim in, and lots of wide open space to run. They even offer training classes which you and your dog can both participate in. You will love Rover’s Ranch and may even find it to be the pawfect vacation spot for Fido!
Grab a leash, herd Fido in the car, and take a 20-minute drive down to Des Moines Farmer’s Market. This is the place to go to meet new pups on the weekends. You can grab lunch at one of the many stalls set up selling fresh foods and baked goods. There’s also live music on certain nights; just check the posted announcements. As long as you keep your dog on the leash, you can enjoy the area as long as you’d like! Fido will love all the new smells so much, he’s sure to beg you to come back!
After a 20-mile car ride, your dog will want to get out and stretch her legs. You should take her over to Gay Lea Wilson Trail/4-Mile Creek Greenway Trail. You could spend the day exploring the four-mile trail all at once, or take your time and do a little section with each visit. All the great preservation work that Rails-to-Trails has done for this area is absolutely barktastic. You can come and admire the same sights you would have if you’d visited back in the 1800s. Is there anything better than exploring preserved nature with your pup?
Clive Greenbelt Trail is another great section of the Rails-to-Trails system that runs throughout Iowa. The trees make you feel like you are a million miles away from the city. The pavement allows you to walk safely throughout the trail. The best part is that you’ll see a variety of terrain: wooded areas, wide open bike lanes, and even a little bit or farmland. Fido’s sure to love exploring the new sights and smells. Just remember to bring some water, doggie waste bags, and a leash with you.
A twenty-minute drive is all that separates you from Boneapatreat, which is the pawfect place to pick up any little thing that Fido might need. Your best fur-iend can even tag along, as long as he remains on leash. This store has all Fido’s favorite foods, toys, and even some clothing. He’ll even find a great selection of balls to chase around the store! While you’re here, don’t forget to check out volunteer opportunities, classes, and events that you and your dog can do together. Boneapatreat is more than just a pet store: it’s the epicenter of the pet community in West Des Moines.