You made the mistake of looking directly into your dog's sad puppy eyes before you shut the door to leave to go run errands. You turn back for that last hug and try to explain to your four-legged friend that you can't take him with because the store won't allow him inside. Those sad eyes make it so hard to turn away. What to do?
There's actually a great solution here. Ready? Take your dog with you! More stores than you think count themselves as dog friendly and will welcome your pooch — as long as he's well-behaved.
Where Dogs Are Welcome?
Here are eleven examples of dog friendly businesses with multiple locations that allow dogs on their premises:
- Home Depot
- Old Navy
- Half Price Books
- Bass Pro Shop
- Lush Cosmetics
- Tractor Supply Co.
- TD Bank
- The Apple Store
Some of these businesses, like the pet stores, make sense. But others aren't so obvious, which is why it's always worth asking if your dog is welcome. You might be surprised by the answer!
Bringing Your Dog Along
Before setting out on Saturday errands with your pup, make sure to...
- Call ahead: A store's national and local policy might differ. Or, a dog-friendly chain might be located inside a mall where pets are not allowed. So, it's always important to check with a phone call to your local store before assuming it's okay to bring your dog. Some stores might also have different policies based on the size of your dog. For instance, some stores don't have a problem if you can carry your dog with you, but might not allow dogs that are too large.
- Ensure good behavior: You want to make sure your dog walks well on a leash, listens to commands and won't exhibit behaviors like jumping, barking or having an accident inside a store. Lowe's, for instance, used to have a company-wide dog-friendly policy, but changed it after repeated instances of dogs creating safety issues.
- Use common sense: Consider potential issues before setting out for a day of shopping. Apple Stores, for instance, welcome dogs but can be extremely crowded at times, which may scare or overwhelm your pooch.
- Come prepared: A day out with the pup is a wonderful thing, but just as he would be spending the day at home, he needs to be fed, let outside to do his business and exercised. If you plan on being out with him for more than a couple of hours, make sure to take him for a walk so he can do his business (you don't want accidents in the store). Make sure you bring disposable poop bags. Also, consider bringing some food if you'll be out during his regular feeding times. Always keep a bottle of water with you in case he gets thirsty. Finally, if you have to run into another business that is not pet-friendly make sure to think of your dog first before leaving him in the car. Never leave him for extended periods, and never leave him in a hot car. There are laws in many states that prevent you from leaving your dog in a hot car, so don't do anything that could put his health in jeopardy.
It's not just shops that have become more dog-friendly in recent years. Restaurants and coffee shops with outside seating often welcome dogs. For health code reasons, restaurants are not allowed to have pets inside of restaurants in the U.S. but with outside entrances to patios, more eateries are open to allowing well-behaved dogs enjoy a bite with you. Some even are more accommodating of dogs offering treats, water bowls, and areas to let the dog run around with other dogs. Again, be sure to check with the restaurant before bringing your dog to make sure it is okay to bring him. Just because they have an outdoor patio, does not ensure that they have a pet-friendly policy.
Even sports teams are getting in on the doggy bandwagon. There are a handful of professional baseball teams that have "Bark at the Park" nights where fans are welcome to bring their dogs for a special event. They often bring in pet vendors or hold special activities for the dogs, so that you can both enjoy a night at the ballpark.
You can search for local dog-friendly spots in your community by searching BringFido.com, which offers lists of dog-friendly shops, hotels, restaurants, activities, events and services by town.
Taking a dog shopping can bring you and your dog great joy, as long as you take some simple steps ahead of time to ensure your dog is safe and happy.
Kara Murphy is a freelance writer and pet parent who lives in Erie, Pa. She has a goldendoodle named Maddie.