While some businesses can welcome pets with no restrictions, due to health codes or safety concerns, others might not be able to have pets inside.
In these cases, there are other ways to be pet friendly and help showcase your community as a pet-friendly destination.
1. Welcome pets outside your business — add a water bowl and/or treats near your front door, for pets who are in the neighborhood.
2. Know where the nearest pet relief station is, so you can direct customers there as needed. Have spare pet waste bags available.
3. Be ready to recommend other businesses to visit that welcome pets. Suggest local walking areas and other pet-friendly amenities.
4. If you own your building or are allowed to add outdoor decoration, add a pet-friendly “selfie space” where visitors can take pictures with their pets.
5. Train staff to explain the reasons why pets aren’t allowed. Be clear that you love pets, but it’s safer for them (or required by health codes) that they not be in your particular type of business.
6. Take part in social media promotion — celebrate your neighbors who are able to have pets inside and share your support of your pet-friendly community. Use the opportunity to explain why your business can’t participate.
7. Step outside periodically to engage with pets in the neighborhood, and post about these encounters on social media. Here again, you can mention that while you can’t have pets inside, you support your pet-friendly community.
8. Offer pet-friendly takeaways — even if you can’t welcome pets, you might offer something pet owners can take home to their furry family members, such as a pet treat.
9. If you are a food business, have a “doggie bag” option that is literally for pets, with pet-friendly treats customers can take home.
10. Consider a pet-friendly program outside your business — set up a booth at a local event where you can offer pet-friendly treats or hire an artist to sit outside your building and do portraits for pet owners.
11. Look for other opportunities that are outside your official space, but where you can show your customers you appreciate them and their pets. For example, host a dog wash in your parking lot on a hot day.
12. If you have green space outside your building, consider offering it as a pet rest area. With just a few amenities (waste bag dispenser, garbage bin) and cute signage, you could make your extra lawn space into a pet attraction!
Want more tips? Check out the Pets Welcome Toolkit for info about how to launch pet-friendly business initiative that can benefit businesses, pet owners and pets.