There are many reasons for taking your pup shopping, from convenience to practicality to just plain fun.
While the options for dog-friendly stores are growing, some of the best surprises will be in your own neighborhood, where a shop that sells pet supplies may allow dogs but has not publicly announced the fact.
Before You Go Shopping with Your Dog
When preparing for your shopping trip, please call the store ahead of time to make sure there are no restrictions on bringing your dog in with you.
1.) Call the store first
It is always best to err on the side of caution and avoid confrontation with an employee who may not be willing or able to deal with the situation.
2.) Keep your dog on a leash
It is also recommended that you keep your dog on a leash or inside a carrier when heading into a store. When you arrive at the store, remember that your dog can be an ambassador to the pet community, so it is important that he not jump up on people or become disruptive.
3.) Keep an eye on your dog’s stress levels
If your dog does show signs of stress (whining, panting), leave the store immediately and try again when he is fully relaxed.
4.) Check with your local mall
Even if the store chain generally allows dogs, your local store might not have the same policy if it is located in a mall. The mall itself might not allow dogs inside the premises.
Below is my list of 10 of my favorite stores in the USA that allow dogs inside their stores.
Bed Bath & Beyond’s policy of allowing dogs in stores is consistent across the country, so this one is a sure bet no matter where you go shopping. They even have designated pet-friendly carts to make the shopping experience comfy for your furry friend.
Petco invites both dogs and their owners into its stores. This one is a no-brainer, as long as your pup is on a leash or in a carrier.
Home Depot welcomes dogs in most of its stores. However, there are a few that don’t allow them for safety reasons so it is a good idea to call your local Home Depot before heading there with your furry friend.
Lowes allows dogs in some of its stores. However, they officially only allow service dogs inside their stores, apart from the outdoor living section which is generally dog-friendly. Check with your local Lowes store before heading there.
Apple stores are known to allow our furry friends to accompany us inside the store. As with any of the other stores on this list, keep an eye on your dog’s stress levels especially if the store is busy.
While Pottery Barn has not officially made it public that its stores are dog-friendly, many customers have reported that their local store welcomed their furry friends into the store. It is a good idea though to call your local store first.
As with Pottery Barn, Macy’s does not have a public pet policy, but customers have reported that their local Macy’s store welcomed their dogs to accompany them on their shopping trip.
Barnes and Noble welcomes dogs inside their stores, however, dogs are not allowed in their on-site coffee shops. Why not head down to your local store and enjoy a good book with your furry friend?
Gap allows dogs inside their stores and their corporate policy states that all stores are to allow our canine companions to accompany us on our shopping expeditions.
Bass Pro Shops are all about the outdoors, which is why it makes sense that they welcome dogs inside their stores. They even have Dog Days with special activities for dogs and their owners.
Stores that are not dog-friendly
The following are stores that do not allow you to bring your dog inside. It is not just the employee’s choice, it is corporate policy. In most cases, local health codes also play a role in their decision.
- Trader Joe’s
Most chain grocery stores are also not dog-friendly.
The benefits of taking your dog on a shopping trip
1.) It’s a bonding experience
If you’ve ever wondered how to get closer to your dog, the answer is simple: spend more time with him. Taking him with you on a shopping trip is an easy way to spend quality time together and increase your bond.
Just make sure that he behaves during his outing so that he is a pleasant addition to the variety of people also in the store.
2.) It’s an outing
Whether you’re taking your dog to one of your local stores or a store hundreds of miles away, going on a shopping trip with him will provide you with the experience of enjoying a great outing together.
3.) It’s good for your dog
Taking your dog shopping is a form of exercise. He will get a chance to stretch his legs in the parking lot or an empty aisle. If you take him into a store, he can keep up with his daily exercise and have fun at the same time.
It’s time we give dogs the credit they are due – not just for guiding our blind friends and helping their disabled owners, but also for riding shotgun in a carrier or stroller when their humans need a little hands-free help while running errands.
When we can take our dogs into stores with us, it really does make the trip more fun. And for some of us, it can make the difference between heading out to shop and sitting at home because we can’t bear to leave them in the car.