Looking for an adventure with your dog? If your Labrador is not a trained service dog, you might be wondering which stores and places allow you to take your dog inside with you.
While people are familiar with taking their dogs inside pet stores such as Petco, Petsmart, and Pet Supplies Plus, there are several other well-known American brands that have dog-friendly stores for big dogs such as Labrador Retrievers.
It can be a great adventure for you and your dog, so let’s find out more about which dog-friendly stores to go to and tips to make your trip a success.
Benefits of Taking Your Dog to a Store
Besides having your furry buddy with you while you run a necessary errand, going into a store can provide extra socialization training for your dog. This is also great for Lab puppies and new Lab owners doing training with their dogs.
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Labs often benefit from socialization found in new environments and around new smells and people. Taking your dog into dog-friendly stores can give your Lab some physical exercise while also stimulating their curiosity and tiring them out mentally.
Not only do our Labs love the excitement of exploring a new store, like all amazing Labs they adore the attention they get from other shoppers talking to them, petting them, and telling them how beautiful they are. They never get tired of that!
Sometimes stores, like hotels, will seem more welcoming to smaller-sized dog breeds, and it can be harder to find a place to take a large-breed dog inside with you on a shopping trip or on a socialization adventure.
These seven brands listed below have typically very dog-friendly policies, and with many of them having locations across the United States, you’ll likely find one near you to take your Lab to next.
Tips for a Good Store Experience
Before heading on an adventure into one of these pet-friendly stores, prepare a bit in advance by making sure your dog is healthy and has no injuries.
Sometimes dogs can become extremely excited in a store and can become even more energetic than a typically excitable Lab, which could aggravate an existing medical problem.
Make sure your dog is trained to ride in a car safely and with good manners ahead of time, or you’ll be exhausted and ready to head home before you even get inside the store!
You also may encounter other dog owners who have their large (and small) dogs in many of these stores, especially if you go at a busier time, such as on a Saturday afternoon.
Make sure your Lab has had their vaccinations as recommended by your vet, because if you encounter other dogs you run the risk of illnesses such as kennel cough.
Please don’t bring your dog inside a store if they have a history of showing aggressive behavior towards other dogs or a history of biting.
Make sure you bring all of the necessary gear to be a responsible pet owner: leash, collar, ID tags, and doggie clean-up bags.
Labs are notorious for getting excited around new people, especially in stores, and we’ve had a few “unexpected potty breaks” in unfortunate places at a few stores (Code Yellow: Aisle 9).
Always take your Lab potty outside before going inside the store, and don’t take them to a store right after they just finished eating a meal.
Bring water and a travel water bowl for after your store visit, because you might be surprised at how thirsty your Lab will be after all the smelling and exploring in the store. They love it!
Keep your dog on a leash and under control in the store at all times. Respect that not everyone likes dogs (though they should!) and not all other customers want your dog to approach or come near them.
Verify Before You Go
We suggest you may want to call ahead and verify with each location that their pet policy is friendly to Labs in your particular area. As a general rule, these companies listed below not only allow big dogs such as Labs, but are welcoming and fun environments for you and your Labrador to experience.
Calling ahead can help you avoid the unpleasantness of arriving and finding your dog might not be allowed in as a result of a particular store with a slightly different policy than the larger corporate one (rare, but it’s possible).
And remember, if something happens and your dog is not allowed inside, don’t ever leave your furry pal in a hot car, as temperatures on a hot day can rise quickly to conditions dangerous to canines.
With that covered, here are 7 Dog-Friendly Stores in the United States that you can take your Labrador Retriever into for socialization, adventure, and fun!
1. Cabela’s/Bass Pro
You’ll find a lot of other dogs in Cabela’s and Bass Pro Stores!
Cabela’s and Bass Pro used to be different companies that merged a few years ago, and both had very friendly dog policies, which have continued under the merger.
Many hunting dogs and sporting breeds can be seen when you visit a Cabela’s/Bass Pro store location, and many of the staff and employees are dog lovers who will stop and pet your dog while asking questions about them.
In addition, Cabela’s/Bass Pro stores have an excellent pet section with toys, supplies, and training equipment for your Labrador.
Your Lab might do some sniffing around that section and pick up a new toy for themselves while you’re trying to do shopping of your own!
The home improvement store known across the US welcomes dogs happily, and typically you may see many other dogs on your visit of all shapes and sizes while you’re there.
Lowe’s has a friendly pet policy and Labradors won’t often be the biggest dog breed you’ll see there.
There are a lot of different departments for your Lab to explore (on leash) and sniff, and coming here can be a great adventure for a learning Lab. A Lab rescue organization we used to work with sometimes brought their dogs to Lowe’s to work on socialization and leash manners.
3. Home Depot
Home Depot is another home improvement store with many locations in the US and a very dog-friendly policy. It’s a great place to take your dog because they can hear a lot of different sounds and explore many smells and textures in the environment.
Home Depot typically has signs on the front doors of their stores labeling the store as welcoming to dogs, and you’ll often see many other humans taking their dogs for an adventure in the store.
4. Tractor Supply
Tractor Supply is another home & yard store that also welcomes dogs such as Labradors. They also have a pet section in their stores, where you’ll find training items, care items, and products such as certain dog food brands.
Scheels in another outdoor/sporting goods store that is very friendly to dogs. Their stores are very large, and often have a large Ferris Wheel in the center of the store for kids and families.
Because they are so family-friendly, Scheels recognizes that dogs are often a part of life for many families, especially those who love the outdoors.
You’ll probably encounter other dogs on a trip inside Scheels, including hunting and sporting breed dogs such as Labs. Their stores typically are multiple levels and your Lab may even be able to ride in the elevator with you.
They also have a great extended pet section, one of the best we’ve ever seen in a sporting goods store. Scheels has outdoor gear for dogs, such as collapsible and travel pet bowls, car gear for your dog, dog mats, fetch toys that can hold up to power retrievers, and other dog items.
Orvis is a fishing company, and they know that many of their customers are also huge dog lovers. You might find you’re not the only Labrador owner inside of Orvis, and their policy is friendly to dogs and welcoming to Labs.
7. Gander Outdoors
Gander Outdoors, formerly Gander Mountain, is another similar sporting goods store with a pet-friendly policy. Your Lab can wander around and dream of an outdoor adventure while you plan and prepare for your next trip.
It’s wonderful to find stores that welcome dogs along with their humans. These seven dog-friendly stores can give you an opportunity to take your dog along with you for a new experience, as well as giving your dog some socialization, exercise, and mental stimulation.
Make sure you plan ahead and keep your dog safe and controlled in the store at all times. You’ll likely learn quickly which types of stores become your dog’s favorite, and look forward to returning for another visit with them again.