The idea of going shopping with your best friend sounds pretty straightforward. But what about if that means shopping with your dog? Taking your best furry friend with you when you’re running errands might seem like the best thing ever. However, make sure your pup is ready for the experience.
Of course, it’s also essential to know which stores allow pets. You might be pleasantly surprised to learn that there are more dog-friendly stores than you think. Sure, you can always bring your pal with you to PetSmart, Petco, and other pet-centric retailers. But, many of the stores on our list sell things like sporting equipment, home improvement supplies, clothing, and books. Intrigued?
If you want to bring Fido along on your next shopping adventure, check out this list of dog-friendly stores to help plan your day.
12 Dog-Friendly Stores That Might Surprise You
The following stores are considered pet-friendly, meaning many locations welcome pets. However, it’s always a good idea to double-check with your local store’s specific guidelines regarding animals. For example, even if a company has a corporate pet-friendly policy, individual stores can set their own rules.
Therefore, a particular store in one city might be dog-friendly, while the same store in another city might say “No Pets Allowed.” Also, it’s worth remembering that if a store is inside a mall, it might not allow dogs because the mall has a no-pet policy. So when in doubt, call ahead.
Stores not on this list might also allow dogs but put certain restrictions in place. For example, you can bring your dog in only if they are small enough for you to carry. Also, pretty much any store will require your pup to be on a leash. The only real exception to this is if you’re carrying your dog or they’re small enough to ride along in the shopping cart.
Your dog also needs to be well-behaved, but we’ll talk a bit more about that in a moment. For now, check out these dog-friendly places (not counting pet stores) and see which ones might make it onto your shopping list.
Home Depot is happy to welcome dogs inside its stores but asks you keep your pal on a close leash.
Like its main competitor, Lowe’s also welcomes dogs and is happy to have them browse around with you.
This major fashion retailer has done a lot of work in conjunction with local SPCAs and helped get lots of dogs adopted over the years. Therefore, it makes perfect sense that it would welcome dogs into its stores. Incidentally, a part of Macy’s, Inc. is also the ultra-chic department store, Bloomingdale’s. And, yes, you guessed it — they welcome dogs, too.
This retailer not only allows dogs but encourages them to visit. The company even hosts special doggy events throughout the year.
Cuddle up with your dog and read a good book when you visit this popular bookstore chain.
Pottery Barn doesn’t have a specific company pet policy; however, many locations welcome dogs. Make sure your dog is on their best behavior; no jumping on the furniture.
This outdoor supply store is super pet-friendly. Many locations even host dog adoption events. And, you can find a number of your favorite Neater Pet products in-store!
Many people might assume high-end retailers would have a strict no-pet policy, but that’s not the case. Nordstrom has been welcoming well-behaved, leashed dogs into its stores for years.
Your dog can have a lot of fun at this clothing store because you can buy your pooch something, too. Old Navy has dog bandanas, sweatshirts, toys, and more. Some of the store’s sister brands, like Gap and Banana Republic, also welcome dogs and even keep treats behind the counter.
This sporting goods retailer welcomes well-behaved dogs in its stores. Your pal can walk with you up and down the aisles, perhaps helping you pick out some gear for your next doggy camping adventure.
This popular craft store has a pet-friendly policy, so bring your pal along for all your crafting needs.
This retailer has a pet-friendly policy in its US stores. So, take your dog along with you to grab some new things for your home.
Keep in mind, if a retailer has an in-store coffee shop or eatery, you can’t bring your pup into that area. Therefore, if you plan to grab a bite or a cup of joe while you browse, you need to leave your pal at home.
Another great way to check out if a store is pet-friendly is BringFido.com. In a pinch, you can pull up a retailer in certain cities to see a quick rundown of its pet policy. It will also typically give you the store’s hours and contact information if you want to call with any specific questions.
However, not all stores in every city are included on the site, so just because yours isn’t listed doesn’t mean you can’t bring your furry friend. You can also shop local, as many local businesses and mom-and-pop shops allow dogs.
Is Your Dog Ready to Go to Stores?
Remember, even if a store is dog-friendly, it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to bring your pup with you. You need to be honest about how your dog acts in public. It probably isn’t a good idea if your dog gets stressed in new surroundings or with lots of distractions and people around. Plus, it isn’t really fair to your pup to drag them along to the store if it’s going to make them anxious.
Likewise, if your dog pulls at their leash or barks excessively, these are things to work on before visiting stores. So, if you think your dog needs some prep before their shopping expedition, ensure you take the time to train them. The best thing to do is make sure you work with your dog as early as possible to train and socialize them properly. Then, when you do want to attempt a store visit, start small.
For example, you can go in the store with your pup, have them sit, and reward their good behavior with a treat and praise. This first time, you might only stay in the store for a couple of minutes, then when you leave, reward your pal again. Gradually increase the amount of time you spend in the store until your dog doesn’t think twice about roaming the aisles with you.
Extra Tips for Shopping with Your Dog
- It’s a good idea to have some treats on hand for distraction.
- Don’t forget your poop bags; it’s always a must to clean up after your pup. Even though a store is pet-friendly, it doesn’t mean it supplies waste disposal bags, so bring your own.
- Investigate when the store’s less busy times are and plan your shopping trip for those times.
- Make sure your pal uses the potty before going into the store.
- Give other shoppers the right of way and plenty of space. Remember, you love dogs, but not everyone does (yes, hard to believe, but it’s true).
- Be prepared to end your shopping early if you sense your dog is getting stressed.
- If an aisle is crowded, skip it, and return to it later.
- Never tell people your dog is a service animal if your dog is not one.
Time to Go Shopping!
Now, all that’s left to do is put together your shopping list and grab your dog’s leash. For more tips and resources about everything pet-related, check out the rest of our blog. You’ll find all sorts of suggestions and insight into how to heighten your relationship with your faithful friend.