Ways to Be a Pet-Friendly Business When You Can’t Have Pets Inside

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 support your community as a pet-friendly destination.

1. Post clear and friendly signage letting pet parents know that while you love pets, they are not allowed inside or only in designated areas such as a patio.

2. Welcome pets outside your business. Add a water bowl and/or treats near your front door, for pets who are in the neighborhood.

3. Know where the nearest pet relief area is, so you can direct customers there as needed. Have spare pet waste bags available.

4. Be ready to recommend other businesses to visit that welcome pets. Suggest local walking areas and other pet-friendly amenities.

5. 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.

6. If you have green space outside your building, consider offering it as a pet relief area. With just a few amenities (waste bag dispenser, garbage bin) and cute signage, you could make your extra green space into a pet attraction!

7. 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.

8. Take part in community promotions. 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.

9. 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.

10. Consider hosting a giving opportunity where a portion of sales goes to support a local animal shelter or rescue.

11. If you are a food business, have a “doggie bag” option that is literally for pets, with pet-friendly treats customers can take home.

12. Consider a pet-friendly program outside your business or set up a booth at a local event where you can show your visitors that you appreciate them and their pets. Offer pet-friendly treats, hire an artist to do pet portraits or help sponsor a pet parade through your neighborhood or business community.

Want more tips? Check out the Pets Welcome Toolkit for info about how to launch pet-friendly business initiative that can benefit businesses, pet parents and pets.

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