It used to be that just about the only place of business you could take your dog was pet supply stores. These days, more and more stores – and even restaurants – are becoming dog-friendly. While health code regulations force all dogs (apart from service animals) to stay outside restaurants, many are starting to invite people to bring their dog into their patio seating areas, and stores are allowing well-behaved, leashed dogs into their stores.
Keep in mind that each location may have local ownership, management, or regulations that don’t allow dogs in their locations. It’s always best to call ahead and verify that the store or restaurant you are planning on visiting does accept dogs on their property, and some of these businesses may be located inside shopping malls that don’t allow dogs. With that in mind, here are 10 restaurant chains and 27 chain stores that generally do allow dogs.
If you plan on bringing your dog to the patio area of a restaurant, there are some basic etiquette rules that you and your pup should follow. Allowing your dog to be unruly can change a business owner’s mind about allowing dogs, and that would ruin it for everybody else.
-Only bring obedient dogs to restaurants. Your dog should be able to maintain a down stay in order to avoid tackling a waitress and stealing another table’s food.
-Keep your dog on a leash attached to you. Using a hands-free harness will prevent your dog from dragging a table or chair away if they suddenly feel the need to chase something. You also need to respect the fact that other diners may not like dogs or may even be afraid, and you don’t want your dog to trip a rushing waitress. Keep your dog as close to the table and out of the way as possible.
-Allow your dog to relieve himself first. Other diners will not appreciate the sight – or smell – of your dog doing his business during their meal.
-Feed your dog first. You wouldn’t want to be brought to a buffet on an empty stomach and be restrained from eating anything. Feeding your dog first can help them focus on obeying you instead of their growling tummy.
-Bring along another human. In this crazy world, it’s not really safe to assume that if you tie your dog up to go inside to use the restroom or pay your bill that your dog will still be there when you get outside. Having another human with you to watch your dog if you need to dash inside helps ensure nobody else decides to run off with your beloved fur child.
-Don’t let your dog get on the table or lick the dishes or silverware. You may not mind letting your dog do those things at home, but health inspectors, restaurant employees, and possibly other restaurant guests may have other ideas about what is appropriate.
-All children, no matter how many legs they have, should remain relatively quiet. Just as you probably don’t want to listen to a screaming toddler during your entire meal, your fellow diners may not want to listen to a whining, barking, or howling dog during their meal. If your dog is a talker, you may be better off leaving him at home.
#1 – Dairy Queen
Many Dairy Queen locations allow dogs to sit with their owners in their outdoor seating area, and some locations even offer a free small vanilla ice cream for dogs.
#2 – Starbucks
Most Starbucks locations will allow dogs in their outdoor seating areas, and the “puppuccino” – a small cup of whipped cream – is a tasty off-menu item for your dog to enjoy while you sip your favorite drink.
#3 – Panera Bread
Most Panera Bread locations that have an outdoor seating area allow dogs.
#4 – In-N-Out Burger
While dogs aren’t technically allowed at In-N-Out – they have to stay in the car while you go through the drive through – they do offer several dog-friendly foods such as unseasoned burgers so that you and your pup can fuel up while you’re out and about town.
#5 – Applebee’s
While not every Applebee’s location has a patio, many of those that do allow dogs. Some locations even do the occasional “yappy hour.”
#6 – Shake Shack
Dogs are welcome on the patio of most Shake Shacks, and they all offer a special dog menu including items such as a “Pooch-ini” (a tasty concoction of dog biscuits, peanut butter sauce, and vanilla custard) or a simple bag of biscuits.
#7 – Johnny Rockets
Johnny Rockets has many dog-friendly locations and items on their menu that dogs love such as “Pupcakes.”
#8 – Sonic Drive-In
While you may or may not be able to allow your dog out of your car, you can still enjoy a dog-appropriate treat from Sonic while sitting in your car.
#9 – Lazy Dog Restaurant and Bar
While there aren’t a ton of locations yet, every location of Lazy Dog allows dogs on their patio and has a special dog menu with items like chicken breasts and brown rice.
#10 – Olive Garden
Some locations that have patios allow dogs. The policy definitely varies from location to location, so be sure to call ahead first.
Most stores that do allow dogs ask that they be well-mannered and potty trained. There are a few more general guidelines you should follow when bringing your dog to a store.
-Bring a towel or blanket if you plan on putting them in a cart. You wouldn’t want a human putting their dirty shoes or feet into a cart where you were planning on putting your purchases, and others don’t want to put their purchases in a cart where dirty dog feet have touched.
-Be mindful of allowing your dog to interact with others. While you might have brought your dog for the purpose of helping them get socialized, service dogs are there to work and should not be distracted from their jobs. Service dogs aren’t required to wear a vest or any other identification, so you should always ask the owner before allowing your dog to approach another.
-Clean up after them. Ideally, you should have your dog do their business before bringing them indoors, but accidents happen. Cleaning up after your dog is ALWAYS your responsibility, whether it’s your own backyard, a dog park, a popular walking trail, or a place of business. Leaving your dog’s poop to collect in a dog park to sour other people’s experiences or leaving a mess for a minimum-wage employee to clean up are equally reprehensible.
-Keep in mind…Some stores may have areas – like a Starbucks – inside where dogs aren’t allowed due to health regulations. Be respectful of the rules.
#11 – Home Depot
#12 – Hobby Lobby
#13 – Pottery Barn
#14 – Macy’s
#15 – Sephora
#16 – Bass Pro Shops
#17 – Barnes and Noble
#18 – Michaels
#19 – LUSH Cosmetics
#20 – TJ Maxx/Marshall’s
#21 – Restoration Hardware
#22 – Gap
#23 – The Apple Store
#24 – Bloomingdale’s
#25 – Urban Outfitters
#26 – Anthropologie
#27 – Hallmark
#28 – Foot Locker
#29 – Bebe
#30 – Abercrombie and Fitch
#31 – Nordstrom
#32 – Bath & Body Works
#33 – Old Navy
#34 – Saks Fifth Avenue
#35 – Ross
#36 – Tractor Supply Co.
#37 – Gander Mountain
Keep in mind that it’s always up to a manager’s discretion whether you and your dog are welcome inside a store or on a restaurant’s patio. If you are asked politely to leave, please quietly respect their wishes. Who knows? The reason no dogs are allowed certain places may be because a poorly-behaved dog caused a problem and the owner threw a fit when they were asked to leave. Don’t be the person who ruins an experience for everybody else.