Where Can I Holiday Shop with my Dog? Dog-Friendly Stores in 2022
Photo by Robert Eklund on Unsplash
The holidays are quickly approaching and your gift list is growing longer. Some of us enjoy strolling through aisles to find the perfect item, and the rest of us view it as more of a chore. Whichever category you fit into, there is one way to make your trips to the store even better: bring your dog!
For well-mannered canines there is a growing list of stores in 2022 that will allow your dog to shop with you. Of course, if you prefer to stay home with your pet, you can always shop online for your gift giving. Brands like Zoo Snoods will show up right at your door, without the need to face crowds, navigate traffic, or brave the chilly weather.
Call Up First
The most important thing to remember when choosing any store off this list is that your particular location may not allow dogs. The dog-friendly policies are national, but companies leave the decision to each individual storefront. It also may not be up to the company; they often lease space in buildings that interfere with their dog-friendly nature, so it’s best to check.
If you are in an urban environment, it is even more essential to call ahead. Crowded stores are the most likely to change their mind on allowing dogs to shop with their owners. Thick crowds and anxious dogs don’t mix, and sometimes it’s best to limit shoppers to humans only.
Shop Small Business!
Shopping small business is near and dear to our hearts here at Zoo Snoods. We encourage you to support your local businesses when setting out on foot, but it will take a little more planning.
Many local businesses allow dogs, but you’ll have to either call or check their websites to find out. Of course, you can always visit our online store (or an online store for another wonderful small business) to take care of your holiday gift list.
Hardware stores often allow dogs, but not everyone on your list wants a nice set of ratchet straps for Christmas. Not only does Ace Hardware allow dogs, but they dabble in other areas besides hardware. Check your local store, you may be surprised by their nice collection of local and handmade goods.
TJ Maxx and Marshall’s
Well, you’ll certainly be able to check someone off the list at one of these stores. Did you know that these two stores are owned by the same company? Their company policy is to allow dogs at their locations unless otherwise decided by the specific store.
Tractor Supply Store
Not only does Tractor Supply Store allow dogs, but any other well-behaved animal that you can put on a leash. Seriously, folks take their horses, cows, birds and other fun-loving animals to visit their local Tractor Supply.
You may not think Tractor Supply will have the gift you need, but don’t forget that a huge portion of their store is shoes and clothes.
Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack
You may be shocked to hear that distinguished canines enjoy browsing the aisles of Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack with their humans in 2022. Nordstrom is definitely on a case-by-case basis when allowing dogs, so make sure to give them a ring before you get your dog excited about designer goods.
We may finally have a winner in the Apple vs. Droid competition. Many Apple stores allow your canine companions to accompany you into their stores, especially if they are a freestanding location.
Lowe’s and Home Depot
Though you may only find gifts for the handiest members of your family at these stores, they were some of the first to be dog friendly. They also boast long empty aisles and large floor plans for those dogs that might be a little nervous about the increased crowds.
Barnes & Noble
Is that a book worm or a dog? Now they can be both! Many Barnes & Noble locations are allowing dogs and Barnes and Noble is a great place to shop for the holidays. Just remember to keep them out of the food service areas and you shouldn’t have any issues.
Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s
If there is a fisher or hunter on your list this year, you’re welcome to bring your dog to Bass Pro Shops or Cabela’s to pick out something for them. Not only that, when Santa is in town Bass Pro Shops even offers holidays photos for your dog. Some dogs may be a little scared of Santa at first, but we have it on good authority that he offers treats.
For a person that loves the outdoors, REI is a winter wonderland. Best of all, REI has always welcomed dogs, and out of any on the list, their staff is always legitimately excited to see them. If you have a camper, cyclist, kayaker, hiker, climber, or otherwise outdoor inclined person to shop for, you can’t miss with a trip to REI.
Bed Bath and Beyond
If you’ve always been curious about what’s in the beyond, try bringing your pet with you to help sniff out the mystery. Bed Bath and Beyond has something for everyone, and most of their locations are dog friendly.
There are so many different sights, sounds, and textures at Bed Bath and Beyond that you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to introduce your dog to them. Make sure to take it slow and keep everything positive. A massage chair can be a scary concept for a timid canine.
PetSmart and Petco
Well now, these might be a no-brainer, but we wouldn’t want anyone sleeping on the big pet stores when they’re shopping for their friends this season. Friendly dogs are always welcome at PetSmart and Petco, along with any other pet that can wear a leash.
The great thing about taking your dog to a pet store is that there are so many opportunities for them to socialize with other dogs and other animals. In fact, this may be the most controlled way to introduce them to other animals and can be incredibly beneficial for timid animals.
Old Navy, Macy’s, Gap, and More
Many clothing retailers welcome dogs in select locations, but you’ll definitely need to call ahead to check. Often, these stores are more likely to welcome dogs if they are a stand-alone store. If they are located in a mall they are more likely to be required to adhere to the building’s rules (which may mean no dogs).
However, there are a surprising amount of clothing retailers that allow dogs as long as their managers and the landlord have cleared it.
AutoZone and O’Reilly Auto
Most auto parts stores allow pets, and why wouldn’t they? Their merchandise is meant for the road, and won’t suffer any damage from a friendly canine. It may seem like a stretch that you would find a gift here for your holiday list, but with their wide assortment of tools and accessories, you may be surprised.
Hobby Lobby and Michael's
The crafting queens want you to bring fido, and this applies to most of their locations. These big supply stores generally own their locations, which means their dog policy stays pretty consistent. If you’ve got someone crafty on your list you also can’t beat their prices.
Maybe you’ll even learn to knit a snood of your own!
Sephora and Bath and Body Works
Last on the list are your secret gift giving weapons. Both of these stores are full of luxury items that your friends and family may not buy for themselves and best of all, their company policy is to allow dogs. Of course, these stores are often located in malls and may have to adhere to the building’s no pet policy.
Stores That Do Not Allow Dogs (Excluding Service Animals)
Food is the magic ingredient when it comes to pet policies. If a store sells anything more than snacks at checkout, you are likely to find that they don’t allow dogs. This includes grocery stores and restaurants, and stores with grocery store and restaurant sections.
Some popular examples include:
Small stores with expensive products may also not allow dogs. Accidents happen, and they may not want to risk an item that costs a lot to replace.
Training Considerations for Shopping with Your Dog
Don’t forget that holiday shopping can be even more stressful for dogs than it can for humans. Consider the extra noise, movement, and obstacles a crowded holiday store can pose. The stores are a far cry from their normal condition.
Even if your dog has been to a store before, or even if they have been to that specific store before, they may be about to experience a set of challenges that they can’t handle. Combining a loud, unfamiliar environment with a hoard of new people can be a recipe for disaster.
Ideally, your dog should be introduced to these components separately, with a positive experience each time. Training in small increments is the best bet to end up with a bomb-proof dog.
If you’re able, consider taking them to the stores before the busy season or during times when they are less crowded. If this isn’t possible, try choosing stores with more space as opposed to those with smaller floor prints. Having a spot to de-stress and redirect your dog is invaluable when exposing them to new environments.
Remember, if a dog that is normally food-motivated will no longer take a treat, you are in way over their heads. If your dog is still responding to quiet commands with loose body language, they are up to the challenge.
Zoo Snoods Can Help
Though not a solve-all, snoods are often a great tool in helping de-stress your dog while they are holiday shopping. They function in the same way that body wraps and thunder jackets do, making dogs feel comfortable, safe, and secure. Additionally, they look adorable and strangers will surely want to meet your little snood.
Zoo Snoods are part of a positive outing, and if you want your dog to enjoy holiday shopping with you, every outing should be positive.
Shop Til You Drop
If we could snap our fingers and make the world a completely dog-friendly place we would, but unfortunately our mission has not grown to that scope yet. For now, you’ll have to weed out the stores that don’t allow your dog to accompany you and either choose to visit them a day when you only have human companions, or not at all.
Companies amend their policies based on their sales, and there is a reason more and more stores are allowing dogs. Retail stores that welcome canines see increased visitors, but must weigh that against the inherent risk. We are all ambassadors for the cause, so it’s important to only take dogs that enjoy the experience. If not, you two can stay home and order a winter Zoo Snood instead!