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  • Writer's pictureCatherine Joy

Dog Friendly Stores You Can Bring Your Best Friend With You Into

Whoever said "diamonds are a girl's best friend" clearly never owned a dog. My dog has seriously become my best bud since the day I rescued him! Honestly - when given the choice between going out on the weekends or staying at home with him, I most often choose the latter. And if you feel similarly, then you know how hard it can be to leave your pet at home when you have to run errands or when you want to do a little shopping!

Online shopping has become a great option if you don't feel like leaving your home, but let's face it - you can't always avoid a trip to the actual store or sometimes browsing the aisles of your favorite store just sounds like fun! In those cases, it can be hard to leave your canine companion at home. That's why I've started bringing my fur baby along with me on my shopping sprees, and I have put together a list of some of my favorite dog-friendly stores that welcome pups with open arms!

Tips and Things to Consider Before Your Shopping Trip:

1. Always call stores ahead of time to make sure they allow dogs. Even if the Corporate Offices say their company is dog-friendly, many leave it up to individual store managers to make the ultimate decision.

2. Be honest with yourself, and make sure your pup is well-behaved enough to handle a shopping spree. Ask yourself: Does he or she have leash manners? Does he or she know basic commands, sit, stay, leave it, etc.? If you can't honestly say "yes," stick to online shopping for now.

3. Be respectful and courteous to the store and its patrons. I know this sounds crazy, but not everyone loves dogs. (Yes, those people are probably psychopaths, but they do exist.) Just make sure you're giving others plenty of space and not letting your pup roam all over. Your fur baby should be leashed or in a carrier at all times!

4. Clean up after your pet! Many pet stores will have clean-up stations (they're used to pets being in their stores, and they're prepared for the messes), but most other places will not. I'll often carry doggy-waste bags and a small pack of wet-wipes along with me whenever I bring my dog out in public.

5. Follow the rules! Some pet-friendly stores will have restricted areas or rules about where your pup can/cannot be. Many times it's for the health and safety of your pet and others, so be aware and be respectful of those rules.

6. Warm your dog up by taking him/her to "a practice store" to see how he/she does out in a similar setting. Pet stores are great places to start so you can assess how your pup will react to lots of people, stimulation, and possibly other dogs.

7. Never lie about your pup being a service dog! I cannot stress this enough! No matter how well-behaved your dog is, he/she will never pass as a service dog. Plus, it's disrespectful and unsafe to lie about something like this.

8. If you don't think your pup could "shop til you drop" and spend a large amount of time at the store with you, "Order Pick-up" is a great option for a fast stop with your pup.

Dog-Friendly Stores:

1. Nordstrom & Nordstrom Rack

If you live in or near downtown Chicago, Shops at North Bridge (where Nordstrom is located) are super dog friendly!

2. Home Depot

3. Lowes


5. Half Priced Books

Definitely call first! Not all of their stores are dog-friendly.

6. Hobby Lobby

7. Petsmart, Petco... Basically any pet store!

8. Apple Store

9. Gap

10. Old Navy

11. Bloomingdales

12. Bass Pro Shops

13. Restoration Hardware

14. Bath and Body Works

15. Banana Republic

16. Barnes and Noble

17. Macy's

18. Urban Outfitters

19. Pottery Barn

(I don't recommend bringing large or energetic pups!)

20. TJ Maxx/Marshalls/Homegoods

21. Michael's

Some Common Misconceptions:

Here are a few stores you might think your dog would be welcome in, but are not:

  • Target

  • Walmart

  • IKEA

  • Any grocery stores (most open-air farmers markets are exceptions)

Where's your favorite place to go with your best furry friend? Let me know in the comments! As always, thanks for reading!

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