Dog in Department Store

Leaving your dog behind when you head out for a day of fun or errands can be a bummer, but the fact is that many places we all go regularly just aren’t dog friendly. But should they be?

We wanted to know what Vetstreet readers thought about allowing dogs — pet dogs, specifically; not service or therapy or any other type of working dog — in public places that are traditionally off-limits to canines, so we surveyed 1,500 readers to find out. Bottom line: Many of you think dogs should be allowed to go just about anywhere all the time! But there’s more to the story than just finding more dog-friendly restaurants and dog-friendly beaches. Here’s the breakdown.

Where Should Dogs Be Allowed?

We asked readers whether dogs should be allowed in 10 types of public venues, giving them the option to answer with: Strongly Agree, Agree, Neutral, Disagree or Strongly Disagree. The locations were: restaurants, workplace, playgrounds/public parks, airports, hotels, grocery stores, retail/department stores, public transportation, public restrooms and beaches.

The locations that the majority of respondents felt strongly about allowing dogs were playgrounds/public parks, hotels and beaches. Playgrounds/public parks received the most positive response of all the locations on our list, with an overwhelming 88 percent of respondents either strongly agreeing or agreeing that dogs should be allowed there.

They also felt (albeit less strongly) that dogs should be allowed in public restrooms, the workplace, airports and on public transportation.

When it came to retail, restaurants and grocery stores though, the results were not quite as positive. Thirty-one percent answered neutrally regarding retail and department stores, with the difference between those who were for it and those who were against it being quite small — 36 percent for it and 33 percent against.

We saw a similar split when we asked about restaurants, but this time, those who were against allowing dogs in restaurants slightly outweighed those who thought they should be allowed. Thirty-nine percent of respondents said dogs shouldn’t be allowed, 34 percent said they should and 27 percent answered neutrally. Several respondents took the opportunity to write in at the end of the survey though, saying that though they do think dogs should be allowed in restaurants, they feel they should remain in outdoor sections. 

Grocery stores were the location on our list with the highest number of votes for not allowing dogs. Of the pet owners we surveyed, 49 percent said dogs should not be allowed, 27 percent were neutral and only 24 percent said dogs should be allowed.

Other locations not on our original list that numerous readers wrote in to say should allow canines were hospitals, doctors’ offices and nursing homes, as well as churches and other places of worship. A few people also suggested schools and the cabin, not cargo area, of airplanes.

Any Restrictions?

We also wanted to know whether readers thought any sort of restrictions should be in effect if dogs were allowed in any/all of these places. According to our readers, size doesn’t matter — if dogs are allowed somewhere, respondents overwhelmingly said there should be no limitations on the size of dog. Eighty-six percent said "all dogs should be allowed," 10 percent said "only smaller dogs should be allowed" and the remaining 4 percent didn’t think dogs should be permitted in the locations on our list.

As for whether dogs should be required to pass a training or obedience certification first, respondents were somewhat divided. A slight majority (55 percent) said that owners should just use common sense with no certification needed, 43 percent said the dog "should pass an obedience certification test first" and 2 percent answered that they don’t think dogs should be allowed in any of those places, regardless of certification.

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