7 Dog-Friendly Stores for Shopping Fun
Shopping can be a solo experience, but it’s often more fun with others. You’ve tried shopping with your friends, but have you been shopping with your dog? There are plenty of reasons to shop with your dog, including extra socialization and exercise for them. Though you’d probably expect that your pup is allowed in pet stores, there are plenty of other places that welcome your dog, too.
Stores that welcome pets often offer extra services, including water bowls, dog treats and a pet relief area, said Erin Ballinger, content editor at BringFido, a website dedicated to pet travel.
By law, all stores, restaurants and other locations must allow service animals. These stores go beyond that and allow all dogs; though most have policies that say dogs must be well-behaved and on-leash while they are in the store.
PetSmart and Petco
This is a bit of an obvious one, but both of these pet stores allow pets. This can be a fun way to see if your dog fits in that bed you’ve been thinking about or if they’re interested in some new toys. Pet stores can also be a good option if you’re taking your dog into a store for the first time because other dogs will be around, Ballinger said.
While your pup likely won’t appreciate a bath bomb or some scented soaps, they can still accompany you to these cosmetics stores. In addition to having dog-friendly stores, LUSH products aren’t tested on animals and the company does not purchase materials from companies that do test their products on animals.
Tractor Supply Co.
This outdoor store counts a golden retriever as one of its best customers, so you know they’ll welcome your pup, too. Some locations even have a vet clinic on-site that offers vaccines, microchipping, heartworm testing and heartworm prevention medication.
Bed Bath & Beyond
Leah Drill, a public relations associate with Bed Bath & Beyond, says that the stores follow local ordinances, so some locations will allow dogs while others will not. All locations allow service dogs, though.
It’s always a good idea to call ahead before you take your dog to a store. Even if a store has a general policy of allowing non-service dogs, there’s a chance the location nearest you doesn’t allow them for some reason.
If it’s important to have your pup along as you choose your next paint color or pick out a new faucet, this home improvement store doesn’t mind. Do note, however, that per their Facebook page, dogs in the store must be leashed at all times.
Although much of their pet apparel is online-only, this trendy clothing store allows dogs. Who knows, maybe your pup will finally point you in the direction of those new jeans you’ve been searching for! The pet policy here extends to employees as well, as those who work at the company’s corporate headquarters in Philadelphia can bring their dogs to work with them.
Tips for First-Time Shoppers
If you’re a novice at shopping with your dog, it can be intimidating. That’s why it’s best to start off slow and plan for a shorter first trip before moving on to longer outings, Ballinger said. And of course, remember to bring treats, wipes and poop bags in case your dog has an accident inside, she said.
Taking your pup into a store can be a much more enjoyable experience if they know a few key training terms, said Kim Rappaport, corporate head trainer at Zoom Room Dog Training. These include the “watch me” and “focus” commands, as well as being able to sit or lie down even when there are distractions.
How to Keep Your Dog Calm While Shopping
There are myriad of reasons your dog might misbehave at home, and being in public offers even more opportunity for them to get distracted, chew on something forbidden or jump up on a person. To lessen the risk of a hard-to-handle pup, Rappaport suggests 15 to 20 minutes of activity before an outing to help your dog get rid of some energy.
“If a dog is having a hard time being polite in public, it is a good idea to take the dog outside immediately for a break,” Rappaport said. “If they are able to calm down, try again. After a second try, if they still have a hard time settling, it’s time to stop the outing and try another day.”
If your dog will allow it, making use of the shopping cart can be another way to calm an energetic pup. “It’s very convenient to keep leashed dogs in a shopping cart.” Ballinger said. “This way you don’t have to worry about your dog’s wagging tail breaking fragile items or the leash knocking things over. Bring a towel or cushion to place on the bottom so they will be more comfortable.”
While you’re out shopping and having a bonding experience with your dog, remember that others are just there to shop. Though some people want to pet and interact with your dog, some definitely will not. Whether it’s from a fear of dogs, allergies, or some other reason, it’s best to give those people space, Rappaport said.