Places you didn’t know you could bring your dog
Updated: Jan 3
More and more businesses are welcoming dogs these days! Whether you’re looking for socialization/training opportunities, a place to take a walk on a rainy day, or maybe you just like to bring your pup along wherever you go, there are tons of pet-friendly places to visit.
Of course, before you go, it’s always smart to call ahead and confirm the store’s pet policy. Individual outlets of national chains may have varying rules and special events can cause temporary changes. Be sure to keep your pup leashed, quiet, and at a respectful distance from other shoppers. Keep your visits short. Oh – and don’t forget to BYOB (bring your own bags) since accidents happen!
Hardware Stores & Garden Centers
If you have home renovation projects to do, why not bring your pup along to gather supplies or choose a paint color? Lowe's Home Improvement officially welcomes dogs in their stores, and Home Depot often does on a store by store basis. Local chains or neighborhood hardware stores like Ace or True Value may also be dog-friendly – just call and check! The large footprint and wide aisles make these stores good places to take a stroll on a rainy day, plus there are lots of interesting things for dogs to sniff. At any hardware store, keep an eye on your dog and make sure they don’t ingest anything they shouldn’t – sometimes seeds, chemicals, or small items may spill on the floor or between shelves.
Garden centers and nurseries are great places to bring dogs since the assortment changes so much with the seasons! We love perusing the indoor greenhouses at our local Bachman’s in the winter (so warm and humid – a wonderful change of pace from our frigid January walks) and wandering through the outdoor selections of mums and pumpkins in the fall. Some of our other favorite pet-friendly spots to shop for plant babies are Tonkadale Greenhouse and Tangletown Gardens. Again, make sure your pup isn’t nibbling on anything as you wander – some common houseplants are poisonous to dogs. And keep an eye out for shop cats!
Depending on the time of year, you may find certain seasonal activities that welcome dogs. Here’s your chance to get some really cute pictures – maybe you’ll even snap your Christmas card photo!
Baseball game in summer - The St. Paul Saints have a couple of dog friendly games this season (April 30, July 17, and September 3). The Twins don't offer a game where you can bring your pup, but many MLB teams around the country have "Bark in the Park" days. Check your local schedule!
Sunflower field in August – Fish Sunflowers has dog friendly fields!
Apple orchard in September – Sweetland Orchard welcomes dogs and is only a ~45 minute drive from Minneapolis. Many orchards are not dog friendly, so do your homework before you set out! Consider going on a weeknight or early on a weekend to avoid crowds.
Pumpkin patch in October – We visited Mitza Creek Farm’s stand for both our pumpkins and our Christmas wreath. A super cute family-run spot in Hayward, WI near the cabin!
Christmas tree lot in November
A handful of retailers welcome dogs. Hunt for deals at TJ Maxx, Marshall's or Home Goods with your dog - they often have treats, toys, and dog beds at a discount. You could pick out some new outdoor gear for your next camping trip at Sierra. If you’re a crafter, you’re in luck – Michaels is dog friendly! Another strip mall staple Barnes & Noble welcomes dogs even though they can’t read.
Give your indie bookstore a call before you visit – many of them are dog friendly and some even have shop dogs who work there. (We love a dog with a job.) Lots of local boutiques are happy to see you bring your pup to shop and many will set out a water dish for thirsty doggos. Lake and Company in Stillwater is a cool dog friendly shopping destination; they even have a section of curated local dog gear and toys!
Nordstrom, Apple, Sephora, Macy’s, and Pottery Barn stores are all officially dog friendly. Surprised? Us too! We have not visited any of these locations with Bert and Ernie because a lot of the locations near us are attached to malls. Often if the mall is not dog-friendly, then the store location won’t be either. But call to check if you think a store near you might be a candidate for your dog to visit!
You know all about bringing dogs to breweries and distilleries, but did you know that many liquor stores will allow you to shop with your dog? Our neighborhood spot South Lyndale Liquors has a Saint Bernard in its logo and they always have treats behind the counter. (Ernie’s a pro at visiting now, but on his first visit as a 3 month old puppy, he pooped in the Gin aisle. Oops.) Another local fave of ours is France 44; they are dog friendly on the liquor store side only. Pup will have to wait outside while you get a sandwich from the Cheese Shop. Total Wine & More is a big chain that is dog friendly, too. Beware of vigorously wagging tails in liquor stores – there’s lots of glass to potentially break so keep your pup reeled in and under control.
Pet stores are nearly always dog friendly. Don’t overlook them as a great place to bring your dog for training! The employees at Petco, Petsmart, Pet Supplies Plus, and local chains like Chuck & Don’s will be delighted to see your pup, and you can stock up on treats for your very good boy or girl.