Shopping with your Shih Tzu: Surprising Chain Stores that Allow Pets

Surprising Chains Stores that Allow Pets. By Kim Salerno

By Kim Salerno.  It’s no secret that I love my dogs, and I love having them with me wherever I go (and they love to come along!).  Pet friendly travel doesn't just mean taking them to pet friendly hotels and the like.  To me and my pooches, it includes taking them along on shopping trips! We don’t just visit pet stores and dog bakeries, either – a surprising number of big-name stores do allow pet parents to browse with their furry kids.

Before you head out for some retail therapy or errand running with your pooch, it’s worth mentioning that some chain stores leave the decision up to the individual store manager. Other times it’s up to the type of  location – a stand-alone store may be able to make its own rules, but a mall store has to comply with the mall’s pet policies. In addition, a specific chain store location that features an internal café, restaurant or food stand may not allow pets due to health codes, while another location that doesn’t sell freshly-made food items may allow them.

Pet policies are always changing, from chain to chain, from store to store, and from locale to locale. I would advise you to contact any store you want to visit with your pet to make completely sure that he will be welcome.

Also, always keep in mind that it’s important to be a respectful and responsible pet parent -- any time your pet visits a store, you should have him secured on a leash or in a shopping cart, and he should be under your control at all times. One incident with a wayward dog can cause a store to change their pet policies, which ruins the fun for everyone else.

Make sure you know the store’s specific pet policies before you head into a store. Some stores might have specific requirements about your dog’s size or the manner in which he’s secured (in a leash, in a carrier, or in the cart).

Chain stores that allow petsDepartment Stores
Banana Republic, the Gap and Old Navy have all been known to welcome pets – not surprising, as they are all owned by the same company. TJ Maxx and Marshall’s allow dogs in at least some of their locations, and Bed Bath and Beyond not only allows pets in some locations, but offers specialty dog carts for them to ride in. Even high-end stores like Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom welcome the four-legged set. Nordstrom in particular has been pet friendly for over 20 years.

Pet Stores
Most pet lovers know that pet store chains Petco and PetSmart love their doggie clientele, and welcome leashed, well-behaved dogs at every one of their respective locations. Some locations even offer doggie day care for shoppers.

Chain stores that allow petsChain stores that allow pets

Home Improvement Stores
Lowe’s Home Improvement and Home Depot both have a reputation for allowing pets in their stores – however, many pet parents have noted that the welcome wagon isn’t rolled out at every location. I take my pooches to my local Home Depot and Lowe's routinely (both my big dogs and my little one), but it’s important to double-check individual store policies before bringing your dog with you to help you pick out drywall or kitchen faucets.

Chain stores that allow petsChain stores that allow pets

Outdoor Stores
Tractor Supply Company, which sells agricultural and farming supplies, welcomes leashed, friendly dogs at nearly every location. This particularly pet friendly chain also supports pet adoptions and holds Pet Appreciation Week each year.

Sporting goods stores Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s also allow pets at many of their locations; a little-known but much-appreciated perk for pet parents who also love the great outdoors.Chain stores that allow pets

Craft Stores
Some locations of Michael’s Craft Store will welcome your pooch, and allow him to ride in the cart as you shop for scrapbook pages or art supplies.

Local Stores
Many local chains and mom-and-pop shops make developing a personal relationship with their customers a priority. They also tend to have plenty of autonomy when it comes to creating pet policies. Give a quick call to your favorite local store. You may be surprised to find that they will happily welcome you and your four-legged children.





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I live in a tourist town that

I live in a tourist town that used to allow pets in all the stores. I have a small maltese and the covered buggy was always with me. Now none of the stores allow pets - only service animals. I would like to know why? This is a great imposition to us small dog owners who take care to not impose on anyone else and now we are being punished for those who could care less. I have done everything right. This policy changed all of a sudden and is not healthy for the pets. I have stopped shopping at these merchant stores and now order on line. Soon these brick and mortar stores will be out of business if they keep this attitude. My dog is more well-behaved than a lot of kids. She does not run through the isles screaming or knock things off shelves, or open packages and strew them about, or steal. The store managers have named their own poison Sincerely

Canadian Tire also allows

Canadian Tire also allows pets
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