Whether you’re getting a gift for someone or buying groceries at the mall, the experience is 10 times better when you do the shopping with Fido! But, are dogs allowed in the mall?
The answer to this question is not straightforward. We know you want your pup to get some decent exercise while getting a chance to socialize with the world.
But, it’ll depend on a variety of factors. For instance, is the mall open-air or an enclosed one?
More importantly, does the mall have a pet-friendly policy? Stuff like these will determine whether or not your dog will be allowed into the mall.
Open-Air V. Enclosed Malls
The difference between an open-air and enclosed mall is their structure.
Open-air malls are outdoorsy, sporting several rows of stores arranged across the area with a large outdoor space in front of the stores.
This outdoor space provides a great avenue for customers to congregate and even socialize!
Enclosed malls are the traditional malls we’ve all grown accustomed to! With these, all the stores and restaurants find themselves enclosed in one large building or structure.
Generally, open-air malls will allow dogs into the mall’s common areas. At these malls, you’ll be able to spend some quality time with Fido within the outdoor component of the mall. It, however, remains doubtful whether you’ll be allowed to bring your dog INTO all the stores.
Generally, though, some stores at these malls may allow you and your dog inside. Usually, they’ll indicate their dog-friendly status with a sticker or signage in front of their door or window.
What’s The Mall’s Pet Policy?
While some stores are dog-friendly, most aren’t. Not too sure what the mall’s pet policy is? You might want to call in beforehand to make the necessary inquiries.
Of course, you may also hop on the store’s website to check. Most stores usually indicate on their official website, their position towards customers bringing in their pets.
But, it’s best to be doubly sure by calling. Massive retail chain stores will sometimes leave the decision to their local store managers. And if you have an idea of the store you’re gonna shop at, it’s in your best interest if you know their stance before taking your dog.
You don’t want to take your pooch to the mall only to be turned away because they have a strict no-pet policy!
Will Your Dog And The Mall Be Perfectly Suited For Each Other?
You probably know which mall you want to go shopping with Fido at. And if you’ve never been there with him before, you need to consider the type of store it is and whether they’ll be willing to allow a companion dog that’s not a service animal.
For instance, if the store is heavily grocery-centered, chances are that they aren’t going to open their doors to your dog. This may not be the case where the store only focuses on selling home/project supplies.
More importantly, some stores may limit access to lap dogs or dogs that can be carried in a dog bag or sling.
Big, burly dogs that have the potential to scare customers or clumsily knock things over may be restricted from entering. It all depends on the store and its management.
Is Your Dog Ready To Shop With You There?
It’s easy to think our dogs are ready to make big breaks simply because they take nicely to people. It may not always be the case.
If you’ve not been hitting shops regularly with Fido, you may not be able to tell what his reactions are going to be.
If it’s going to be his first time with you, then the experience might end up being a bit stressful for him. Especially if he’s very young.
Taking your dog to a store for the very first time means coming into contact with unfamiliar smells, unusual sounds, and new, exciting views.
He may also see other dogs and a lot more people than he’s used to. Nervousness can set in. And if your dog hasn’t been properly trained, it’s probably gonna go downhill from there.
Pulling on the leash, barking, snarling, or even lunging at other customers are the last things you want to see happen.
If your dog lacks basic obedience skills and hasn’t been properly socialized, then you might want to wait a bit longer before taking him shopping.
Start slowly. Teach him the basic things. Potty-train him. Positive reinforcement training is important too. Visit the local parks with him. Generally, you want him to reach a new level of self-confidence by acclimating to situations that may otherwise freak him out at a large shopping center.
What About Service Dogs?
Service dogs, unlike companion dogs, must be allowed into any store. Even those with a strict no-pet policy. This is mandated by law.
You can take your dog – if he’s a service animal anywhere. Whether it’s a food center or not. As a matter of fact, the ADA requires that service animals be allowed in “all areas of public facilities and private businesses where members of the public, program participants, clients, customers, patrons, or invitees are allowed.”
The only time you’ll be turned away with your service animal is when you’re unable to get him under control when he’s misbehaving. Another instance is he peeing or pooping around because he’s not house-broken.
Aside from these, there are no other exceptions to allowing service animals inside an establishment.
What’s more, staff cannot inquire about your medical records or even insist on evidence/documentation revealing your dog’s status as a service animal.
The only two things they can inquire about is;
- Whether the animal is required because of a disability
- What task the animal has been trained to perform
What About Emotional Support Dogs?
Emotional support dogs may be of immense assistance to their owners.
They usually help with lowering levels of anxiety, depression, or some other psychological ailments.
Still, if the store you’re going to has a strict no-pet policy, then you will not be allowed to enter with your dog. Regardless of the great assistance, he offers you.
This is because, unlike service dogs, emotional support dogs haven’t undergone any special training to assist persons with some form of disability.
What To Do When You Take Your Dog Shopping?
So. you know the mall you’re taking Fido to is pet-friendly. Now, what next?
Here are a few rules you might want to keep in mind on your shopping expeditions with Fido.
Keep Fido On A Leash
Not everyone likes dogs. So, you want to keep Fido grounded by keeping him close by.
One of the most effective ways of doing this is by keeping him on a leash. You might want to use a leash that’s not too long. Preferably one that’s not more than 6 feet long. Most stores will require you to keep the leash at this length.
Try as much as possible to keep him away from people that seem wary of dogs. If your dog isn’t one of the bigger ones, using a dog bag or sling will be much more helpful. In any case, most dog-friendly stores will insist on keeping your dog on a leash. Failure to do so might require you to step out.
Ensure Your Dog’s Well-Fed
A happy dog is a satisfied dog. And you’ll realize that you’re more able to keep Fido in control when he’s full.
He isn’t likely to pull on his leash or attempt straying when he’s had something to eat.
You might also want to take along some treats. We think it’s going to make him even more compliable.
Clean After Fido
Accidents may happen. And we think you should take along some wipes and potty bags just in case.
Some stores may reserve the right to turn you away when your dog creates a mess.
You don’t want it to get to that point. So, we suggest you allow your dog a potty break immediately before heading out to the mall.
Some Dog-Friendly Malls In The USA
There are 135 stores at Cottonwood mall. Not all the stores are pet-friendly. But, the majority of them are.
All stores there that welcome dogs will indicate it with a door sign. Be sure to look out for them.
The Mall at Short Hills
Here, you can hang out with Fido in the common areas of the mall as long as he’s in a pet carrier. Dogs are barred from food establishments in the mall if they aren’t service animals.
That dog strollers are available for rent for dogs that weigh up to 20 pounds suggests the mall might be welcoming only of small dogs.
Still, individual stores at the mall may have different pet policies. And you may have to reach out to make inquiries before going with Fido.
Dozens of shops here will allow dogs inside. The mall is very accommodating of dogs. And you’ll find five pet water stations there as well as doggie bag dispensers littered across the common areas.
However, you must keep your dog on a leash at all times.
Bell Tower Shops
Bell Tower Shops is an open-air mall that’s very welcoming of dogs. Here, you can shop for groceries, clothes, and you may even be able to enjoy your meals on the patios of most eateries.
All they ask is that you keep Fido on a leash or keep him inside a carrier. More importantly, they expect that you keep your dog under control at all times when shopping.
Yorktown Center welcomes dogs of any breed at all. The number of stores here is 189. And out of this, 58 stores will allow your dog inside. You can identify them by the paw print stickers in front of the stores’ windows.
It is important, though, that your dog stays leashed at all times.
Not too sure whether or not dogs are allowed in some of your favorite malls? Why don’t you find out here?
So, are dogs allowed in the mall? Yes and no! It really depends on the particular mall.
For most open-air malls, you may be able to hang around with your dog in the outdoor space just in front of the stream of shops. Most enclosed malls might not allow your dog inside.
But, again, it depends on the mall’s pet policy.
The most important thing is to call beforehand to confirm if dogs are allowed there. You must also endeavor to comply with any rules set out by the store.
That way, you avoid having any issues with staff and management. Hopefully, the mall you have in mind allows the entry of dogs. If that’s the case, we think you’re gonna have a wonderful time with Fido. Happy shopping!