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Dog people are doing more and more to make their pets comfortable, from lining up a favorite pet sitter to making homemade treats. Bringing their dog along to the store is a natural extension of the dog-centric lifestyle. Shopping with a friend is more fun than shopping alone, period. But finding dog-friendly stores can be a challenge.
It can be hard to tell what a store’s dog policy is because it often varies by location. For example, is Target dog-friendly? Their mascot may be the beautiful bull terrier Bullseye, but they’re a staunch “service dog-only” environment (along with Costco, Walmart, IKEA, and others). However, dog-friendly stores are increasing in number.
Note: Due to regulation, grocery stores aren’t dog-friendly and food-serving establishments typically don’t allow dogs indoors. If you want to dine out with your dog, look for a location with a patio. Many restaurants welcome dogs in their outdoor spaces. Consider the Starbucks dog policy. Though Starbucks doesn’t allow dogs inside stores, they welcome dogs outside—and even offer them a tasty “puppuccino” if you ask.
Now, let’s talk dog-friendly stores where you can shop together.
Before You Go Shopping with Your Dog
A comfortable, reliable collar and leash are key for bigger dogs. A no-pull harness like the well-regarded SENSEation harness allows you some extra control if you clip the leash to the front. This collar guide and this leash guide can help you make the right choice for your dog.
19 Dog-Friendly Stores Nationwide
Before you go, practice. A well-trained dog on leash is more likely to be a welcome guest.
Also, note that a busy retail environment may not be the best fit for all dogs. Be sure your dog is comfortable among crowds and well-socialized before you venture out on errands together. For more anxious pets, staying home might be a happier choice.
#1 – Petco
Let’s start with the obvious. Petco, along with pretty much any pet store, will happily welcome your leashed dog.
Pro tip: there are often treats at the register!
#2 – Home Depot
Home Depot is one of many hardware stores that are happy to welcome your dog. With its wide aisles, there’s plenty of space for leashed dogs to accompany you on a home improvement expedition.
Some customers report being turned away at their location, however, though others say their local HD still welcomes their pooch. Be sure to call ahead and verify.
#3 – Lowes
Similar to Home Depot, inquiries to Lowes about canine corporate policy after 2012 received an official stance of “service dogs only,” yet many individual locations are still reported to be dog-friendly by customers. Managers have differing views on the issue, so you’ll have to call ahead—unless you’re only going to hit up the Outdoor Living section, which is generally dog-friendly everywhere.
#4 – Tractor Supply Co.
This popular national chain is proud to be dog-friendly at all of its locations. Apparently, Maddie Belle the golden retriever is one of their best customers. They posted her picture on their website to prove it.
#5 – Nordstrom
Fashionista dog lovers, take note: Nordstrom and the Nordstrom Rack welcome well-behaved dogs on a leash (see this Twitter exchange as proof—via Doggone Seattle). There’s even a #dogsofnordstrom tag on Instagram if you’re so inclined.
#6 – The Apple Store
Yes, in many locations, the Apple Store is happy to allow well-behaved dogs on leash. Customers have reported having to pick up their dogs if there is a great deal of foot traffic, which is something to keep in mind if your dog is a little too big for a lift.
Also, many of these stores are located in malls that may not be dog-friendly, so double-check before you go.
#7 – Bass Pro Shops
You might think it sounds fishy, but BPS wants to have your dog in-store, even letting locations blog about and encourage it!
“Customers will sometimes bring their puppies or young dogs in to Bass Pro Shops to help get them socialized. A good time to do the new introduction to this environment is during the weekday mornings or evenings. So, next time you come to Bass Pro Shops Altoona, bring your well-socialized canine buddy and we will be sure to spoil them rotten!” -BassPro
They even have a popular “Dog Days” event each year. These hounds enjoyed it, as you can see.
#8 – Pottery Barn
Surprisingly but truly, this high-end home goods chain often welcomes leashed dogs and purse pups. Call ahead to confirm, but chances are you can bring your pet along to select a new, seriously stylish doggy bowl.
The Victoria Gardens location even posted this photo of a handsome poodle trying out a couch in-store!
#9 – LUSH cosmetics
Not only are dogs welcome in this store, but you can purchase your makeup from this company knowing that you both share a love for animals—Lush has a no animal testing policy for their products.
#10 – Macy’s
A parade of floats and balloons isn’t the only thing Macy’s encourages: a parade of pooches is okay too! Macy’s has a notable history accepting dogs in their stores, including in-store courtesies and collaborations with the SPCA. Naturally, many Macy’s are connected to larger malls, which may or may not welcome dogs inside. Always call ahead to inquire.
Macy’s even featured adoptable dogs in their holiday window displays one year—check it out. Awwww.
#11 – TJ Maxx / Marshalls
This discount clothing and home goods chain is known for being dog-friendly, as this cute little Frenchie can attest to. Like the other chains on this list, policies can vary by location, so double-check before you go.
#12 – Barnes & Noble
Love books? Since Dogwise doesn’t have a retail store (unless you frequent dog shows), the next best thing is Barnes & Noble. Because each store follows the local health codes for their county or state, always contact your local store for more details regarding their policy for non-service animals at their location.
Many BNs have cafes either inside the store or attached, and these may limit your dog’s access to the rest of the bookstore.
#13 – Harbor Freight Tools
Dogs and tools go together like, well, dogs and tools. Harbor Freight has a limited pet section too.
You can get a new ratchet set or tool chest and your pooch can get a new pet bed.
#14 – Cabela’s
Since Cabela’s is all about hunting gear, it only makes sense that sporting dogs like retrievers, setters, spaniels, hounds, and pointers would be allowed in their stores. (And every other breed too.) Cabela’s retail stores are generally dog-friendly, however, due to state law, some stores may be prohibited from allowing more than service dogs.
It’s best to call ahead before making a trip with your dog. Regardless, Cabela’s retail stores do have a limited number of indoor/outdoor kennels available for customers to use. They can set up the kennel and you may leave your dog there while you shop if you choose.
#15 – PetSmart
Like PetCo, this store for all things pet related welcomes your pooch. On my visits to PetSmart with my wild child, the greeting staff love her up, ask me what kind of dog she is, and are treated to the patented Rottweiler lean as Daisy soaks up the attention as though she never gets any at home.
My people-loving social butterfly thinks PetSmart is pretty much doggie Disneyland.
#16 – Restoration Hardware
When contacted, Restoration Hardware said “Non-service animals are allowed at some of our galleries, however, depending on the location, there may be restrictions beyond RH’s control. Please reach out to the gallery you are interested in visiting to confirm their policy, or we would be happy to reach out for you.”
So call ahead, and if it’s okay, you can bring your dog to make sure that new sofa you’re eyeing matches your dog’s coat.
#17 – The Gap
When we inquired at our local GAP stores, we got an immediate “yes.” But when we called the corporate office for confirmation of company policy, the best we got was “yes, on a store by store basis.”
That doesn’t sound super-definitive, so like all the stores on this list, always call your local store before you bring your dog with you.
Owned by the same corporation as The Gap, Old Navy has the same policy, stated above.
So if you want to take your dog to enjoy the lifelike mannequins, call ahead and make sure your local store allows pets.
#19 – Orvis
This one was a shoo-in. If you’ve ever received the Orvis dog catalog, you know it’s one of the best sources for high-end dog beds around. They have everything from collars and leashes and bowls for your pup to furniture covers and waterproof quilts for your bed (in case you, ahem, have a dog or three who share your bed at night), to car seat covers and safety equipment for traveling with dogs in your car. They also have a nice selection of dog beds.
They even take submissions for their regular catalog cover dog photo contest, and, together with Orvis customers, donate to the Morris Animal Foundation for research into canine cancers and veterinary medicine.
Orvis has retail stores throughout the U.S. (they sell men’s and women’s clothing, hunting gear, fly fishing gear, home furnishings, and more), and when contacted about non-service animals in the store their reply was unequivocal: “We love dogs at Orvis, all of our retail stores will allow your dog. That includes service dogs or the family pup. We hope you and your furry friend enjoy shopping together.”
Some Near Misses…
REI Does Not Allow Pet Dogs
Since our best buddy goes with us hiking—leashed, of course—we guessed that REI would be a great place to shop with him for his new canine backpack, harness, or booties to protect his feet on the trail. When we reached out to REI, though, their customer service kindly replied with a thoughtful and thorough response, explaining that non-service animals are not allowed in their retail stores.
“REI is a special place we want to celebrate with everyone. Our goal is to make REI an inclusive environment, where everyone will feel at ease shopping and working. Some of our locations are prohibited from allowing animals because of local and state health codes. We’ve also found that some customers are allergic to animals and/or are not comfortable around them.
Because of these and other factors, we’ve decided the best decision is to not allow animals that are pets into any of our REI retail store locations. If you’d like to try a hiking pack on your dog, one of our store staff members will be happy to help fit the animal outside of the store entrance. We apologize for any inconvenience and will do what we can to ensure you get the right gear for your pup.”
How nice is that? I still love REI. In fact, maybe even more now.
Other retailers that don’t allow pet dogs due to corporate policy and/or local health codes are:
- Trader Joe’s
- Most chain grocery stores
Finding Dog-Friendly Stores Near You
Calling, Tweeting, emailing, or just stopping by without your dog to ask is the smartest way to ensure your four-legged consumer isn’t turned away at the door.
While national chain policy may vary quite a bit by location, chances are you’ll find dog-friendly spots in your city in these lists of local dog-friendly establishments. events, hikes, and more.
Can I Take My Dog…
You know about dog-friendly stores, but what about traveling with your dog? See our answers to some common travel questions:
More Dog-Friendly Fun
American cities are increasingly dog-friendly, as you’ll see in our dog’s day out guides here. From pubs to brunch spots to off-leash parks and “doga” (i.e. yoga with dogs), many locales accept and celebrate companion dogs. For instance—if you’re in Seattle or Austin or planning a trip to either spot, these videos are the perfect inspiration for a dog-centric outing.
Have fun out there!