General

Taking Your Dog to a Pet Store

There are pros and cons about taking your dog to a pet store, especially if you have a puppy. It’s always nice to find places where dogs are welcome and you can usually be sure that the other customers will be nice to your dog. But there are dangers involved in going to a pet store with a dog, too. Here are some things you should consider before you visit a pet store with your dog.

Disease
Although most diseases that affect dogs are under control today, diseases such as parvo, distemper, and even rabies still pose a very real risk to our dogs, especially to unvaccinated dogs. If your dog is not up-to-date on his vaccines, do not go to a pet store with him, or out in public. He is at risk of picking up some of these diseases from other dogs or from the places where infected dogs have been. This is especially true for puppies who have no immunity after the immunity from their mother wears off when they are a few weeks old. Even after puppies have been fully vaccinated, they can become infected by these diseases for a while. And sometimes vaccines fail. So, if you have a puppy, use extreme caution about visiting a pet store until your puppy is a little older.

Remember that even if your dog and your puppy have been fully vaccinated, there can be dogs visiting a pet store who have not been vaccinated. They could even be sick with one of these diseases and not showing symptoms yet. Dogs that have just been adopted from an animal shelter, for example, are coming from an environment where all kinds of diseases are floating around and a dog could be incubating parvo, for example. So, don’t visit a pet store with your dog or puppy if they are unvaccinated or if they have only recently been vaccinated.

In addition to diseases, dogs can pick up fleas and other parasites in a pet store, even if the store appears to be very clean. It just takes one dog walking through who has parasites to leave behind some hitchhikers for your dog to take home with you.

Socialization
Pet stores can be good places for socializing dogs and puppies. Customers in pet stores can be presumed to like dogs so if you go to a pet store with your dog or puppy, people will probably pet your dog. They will give him treats if you provide them. These are good ways to help socialize your dog or puppy and we know that socialization is important to a dog’s mental and emotional development. This is one of the reasons most often cited for why people want to visit a pet store with their dog and it’s a valid one.

Pet stores can also be a good place for dogs to meet other friendly dogs. You often see dogs sniffing and greeting each other in pet stores, or two puppies trying to play with each other in the aisles. It’s very cute.

Plus, it’s just fun to go to the pet store with your dog so he can see all the toys and treats. It’s fun to let him choose what he would like. This kind of trip probably appeals to most dog owners who want to innocently spoil their pet.

Not all dogs are friendly
If you go to the pet store with your dog, you should keep in mind that not all dogs are friendly. There are likely to be other dogs at the pet store and they may not all want to make new friends. If your dog is friendly and outgoing and inclined to run up to a strange dog in an exuberant manner, it might not turn out well. If you visit the pet store with your dog, remember to keep your dog close to you. Ask permission before you allow your dog to get closer to another dog. Do not allow your dog to run up to another dog or get in their face, even if he’s trying to be friendly. Dogs have to have good manners if they are going to go out in public and interact with other dogs. Teach your dog how to properly behave around other dogs.

Manners
Of course, it should go without saying, that if you go to a pet store with your dog, your dog should be on his best behavior. Walk your dog before you take him into the store so he can potty. If your dog has an accident, tell the clerk and obtain supplies so you can clean up after your dog. If your dog bites, rips, or opens anything in the store (like dog food), be responsible for your dog’s actions. Pay for any damages. And, of course, watch your dog like a hawk in the pet store. It’s very tempting to start reading dog food labels or looking at toys only to look down and find your dog has been chewing on a rawhide.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if you want to take the risk of visiting a pet store with your dog or puppy. There are some compelling reasons for going to a pet store with your dog, and for not going. Think carefully about your decision, especially if you have a puppy.

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