If you’re anything like me, you have yet to start your holiday shopping. Last year, I stopped shopping online at national chain stores in favor of shopping at small, local businesses. Other than having to leave the cozy warmth of my house, shopping local was no sacrifice. We are fortunate to have many great shopping options in the Twin Cities. We even have stores that will allow you to bring your furry family member along for the experience.
Prior to your shopping odyssey with Fido, however, you’ll want to consider the following factors:
1. Size of Dog vs. Size of Shop
Ever heard the phrase “bull in a china shop”? If you’ve ever taken an exuberant Golden Retriever into an antique store, you’ll get my drift. Let’s face facts: there are some shops that will not mix well with some dogs. If your dog is young, easily goes from zero to 60, doesn’t listen that well, or the store you’re aiming for has narrow aisles, an abundance of shoppers all the time, or many delicate items for sale, you may wish to rethink.
2. Oops, Sorry About That
You’ll need to be fairly attuned to your dog’s physical needs; of course, I’m referring to those needs which may leave a stain on a carpet or a lingering odor for other shoppers to enjoy.
3. You Break It, You Buy It
Your pet may require a higher level of control when inside a retail store or a restaurant. Use what you usually do to accomplish a calm(er) dog: head collar, harness, bungee leash, or whatever works for you. A flexi-leash is not usually a good choice for such an outing; your leash should be six feet or shorter to allow for maximum control. While the Midwest isn’t known for people carrying purse dogs, if the purse is large and comfortable and doesn’t contain anything harmful to your pet, we’re not opposed to putting a small dog in a large purse or bag.
4. Baby, It’s Cold Outside
If your dog is any of the following:
- very thin
- very young
and the temperature is below freezing, it’s better to leave your companion at home if he or she will have to spend more than ten or fifteen minutes waiting for you in an unheated vehicle. Cars cool rapidly and can act like a refrigerator, making your dog uncomfortable at best and hypothermic at worst.
Once you’ve thought about these factors and passed with flying colors, go to this fantastic directory of dog-friendly shops: http://www.sidewalkdog.com/directory/category.php?id=154
Or you can always snuggle with your pet on the couch and shop online instead!