Can my dog come shopping with me in California?

It’s time for another of those “only in California” type posts. This one’s been simmering on low since I arrived here a year and four months ago and it involves animals.

Specifically I’m talking about pets being treated like people.

Allow me to preface this by saying that I love animals. I grew up on a farm: our milk came from the cow and our Sunday roasts and soups came from our own chickens. I will stop people on the street and ask them if it’s OK for me to take a photo of their dog or cat. In some cases (OK in most cases) I prefer animals to humans.

Suffice to say, I’m on the “four legs good” bandwagon. I don’t mind if you take your dog to the street fair, on a camping trip or out to the beach. That’s just normal, everyday dog action that I wholeheartedly agree with, nay, encourage.

But once we move into the realm of shopping centres (or malls as they’re known here and on TV) and grocery shops, I’m out. Bring your service dog in for sure. They’re trained and know what they’re doing.

However, once you take regular old fido into Macy’s to help you pick out a new pair of jeans, I’ve got problems. Big problems.

Actually, it’s just one problem: Where do they pee?

What happens when you’re half way through trying something on, or far into the labyrinth that most shopping centres are these days, and Buddy gives you that look? Can s/he hold it long enough for you to find a patch of grass somewhere outside? Or make it into the car park?

Most recently I visited TK Maxx (or maybe it was TJ Maxx… one’s in the UK and the other’s in the US and I don’t know which is which) and was lucky enough to witness a woman wedge her dog into a trolley amongst a bunch of homewares.

Can I have a Snickers? Please! I’m Hangry!

Then there was that time that I was catching BART in to San Francisco. We stopped at the airport, where a well-dressed older lady wheeled a pram onto the train. After seating herself she unzipped the pram’s fly mesh and pulled a tiny Chihuahua onto her lap. The dog was wearing what looked like a swimming costume.

I think I’d be fine with the whole thing if someone just explained to me how they deal with their pet’s calls of nature while they’re doing the weekly grocery shop. Because right now, it’s totally blowing my mind.

Here’s what I’ve learned though. It’s totally legal for you to take your dog out for a lavish dinner, if you’re so inclined and the restaurant allows it (best to call head or check out their website). However, if you want to take your pooch for a pootle round the shops, you’ll need to double-check that they’re dog-friendly first. For example, Westfields San Francisco is happy for you to bring your dog along for the trip!

Aussie | Expat | Dogs in malls | taking your dog shopping | dogs in grocery stores | Californian dogs | Aussie Expat in US | expat life
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39 thoughts on “Can my dog come shopping with me in California?

  1. You wouldn't want to try this in Australia. Shopping malls are definitely a no-go zone unless it's a guide dog or assistance dog, and they're not allowed inside restaurants or cafe for hygiene reasons. However, there's a growing number of cafes with outdoor areas where dogs are allowed. Our dog is happy just to walk along the beach or river, she doesn't like crowds šŸ™‚ #TeamLovinLife

  2. That's hysterical! Such a California thing to do though. I doubt you'd find that in Pennsylvania. A puppy in swimmers? LOL . Not sure if that is cute or just wrong.
    Thanks for joining the Lovin Life Linky!
    See you next week.

  3. I'm one of those people who loves seeing dogs everywhere so I think this is a great idea, haha! šŸ™‚ Our little pup is definitely one of the family and we have been known to plan days out around where he can go too. Like a morning down the coast then dinner at an outdoors dog friendly restaurant so he could be with us the whole time šŸ™‚ We adopted him so he had really bad separation anxiety at first and leaving him home was so difficult for us all. He's better now though.

    I'm not sure he'd enjoy shopping – and like you I'd worry about the bathroom issue!

  4. It's probably not so bad when it's one of those little lap dogs but when dog owners start taking their bull mastiffs to the shops the things could get interesting! Only in America! #TeamLovinLife

  5. I am a total sucker for smiling and waving at dogs like a mad person. You sound like my cousins Mica! They both have two dogs and take them everywhere with them. Well mostly everywhere, since they're in Australia. But they will definitely plan their day around where the dogs can go.

  6. This is my kind of blog post! I love that San Fran is so dog friendly! My mum lives in the UK and takes her dog everywhere! She used to have this dog trolley and then there was a dog buggy (a baby buggy that she put the dog in) so she could legit take the dog into the shops. My mum can dog smuggle like a boss, because the UK isn't friendly as the states. On a side note, how good is TJ Maxx? Or is it TK? I can't remember either!

  7. Thank you for reminding me that I wanted to write this Sammie. I spent ages going through photos looking for all of my surreptitiously-snapped pics last night.
    Your mum sounds extremely cool and I would like to see this dog smuggling in action please.
    Both TJ and TK Maxxes are the greatest. I lived down the street from one in London and it was just ridiculously good.

  8. Dogs are not people! My uncle died when I was 17. A woman tried to console my grandmother (who had just lost her son) by saying 'I know how you feel – my dog died last week.' No. Just no.

  9. I love my dog but I just don't "get" taking her everywhere with me! She gets bored and restless and we especially don't take her to BBQs like many people do as she has some health issues and cannot be fed willy nilly by people.

  10. Nah, dogs need alone time too! Heh, imagine being a dog that enjoys your own company and see's your backyard as your domain. Then being dragged out to a BBQ and being prodded by kids etc. LOL, I'm painting a dire picture, I'm sure it's not that bad.

  11. That IS a photo of a dog on furniture inside a furniture store right? I mean….for goodness sake! I just find that so very ignorant on the part of the owner. I'm with you. I LOVE dogs. I have two of my own. But shopping precincts of any kind (including street cafes) are strictly out of bounds to my two pooches. Out of respect for other shoppers and patrons more than anything else. Not everybody digs dogs! And yes, hygiene people!

  12. Not sure we are quite that bad yet in Oz but I know I was catching a flight from LA to NYC and someone had a dog in their handbag!!! My daughter's dog is human – I swear – but even she has to stay home when it is shopping time and then we come home and she is snoozing in her favourite spot on the verandah. I think she enjoys her 'me time'. Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond.

  13. It's all well and good if you LIKE animals and pets that are here seem fine..but pullease, in my world, there is a place. Don't hate me…I just don't think they belong in every space. Thanks for linking up for #lifethisweek 8/52. Next Week: Taking Stock.

  14. Yeah, I'm of the belief that pooches can go most places – as long as they are outside, well, except for my home & the home of people who love my pooch. I remember the 1st time I saw a dog in a handbag on a plane in the US. It's weird hearing at bark at altitude.

  15. Yeah it's a dog in TJ Maxx. Or TK Maxx. Whichever the US version of that store is. I can't remember if that dog was in a trolley or on the furniture though.
    I have cousins who treat their dogs like their children, which is fine. But I'm sure if they're not well behaved or in a place where they clearly don't want to be it can be a pain.

  16. Yes, I've seen the dog carriers and the dogs in handbags in airports Sue. I've never actually heard a dog bark on a plane though, that'd be weird.
    I get the feeling that dogs would be happier at home then at the shops, but as a non-owner what do I know?

  17. Hahahaha, I'm with you. I like seeing them out and about and patting them if they're friendly. But there are so many things to take into consideration. People who have previously been attacked by dogs, people who are just uncomfortable with animals etc.

  18. I use to own a pet shop here in San Francisco and was just blown away by one lady who would come in religiously every month and spent $400 to $500 on dog outfits. I seriously had never seen anything like that and you had to have something new every month to show her and she would buy it.
    BTW there is actually more dogs in San Francisco than kids. That’s a true fact

    1. Woah.
      More dogs in SF than children? I can see how that would happen. But $500 on dog outfits? That’s slightly over the top, even for San Francisco!

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