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4 Dog-Friendly Retailers for Black Friday Shopping

shopping dog FTR

Will you be one of the 164 million American shoppers that venture out on Black Friday and over Thanksgiving weekend in search of great deals? I will be. But perhaps unlike you, I will have some surprising shopping companions—my dogs.

This choice is pretty typical for me. I chose my bank based on how welcoming of dogs it was. If you let my pups "withdraw" a treat while I deposit checks, you have my business. I also choose my beach and boardwalk here in New Jersey based on dog friendliness. And if I can shop with my dogs in tow, that's the best.

Of course, I always bring my dogs with me to pet-oriented stores like PetSmart and Petco. That's a given. But I started to think about Black Friday shopping with my dogs after visiting an outdoor shopping mall in Pennsylvania near where my youngest daughter attends college.

I noticed that on nearly every store door was an outline of a dog and the message "Dogs Welcome." This was at national chains like Chico's and Clarks Shoes. (I later discovered that the mall actually includes a list of dog-friendly stores on its website.) I thought, hey, I'd like to do my Black Friday shopping in a place that welcomes dogs. However, at almost two hours away, that's not convenient. So I set out to find non-pet stores where you and I could shop with our dogs on Black Friday.

I'm pleased to report that I found four stores, with dozens of locations nationwide, where you can bring your dog on Black Friday. In most instances, your pup can shop with you on the other 364 days of the year as well. I've listed those retailers in alphabetical order here.

1. Bass Pro Shops

Bass Pro Shops stores are dog-friendly year-round, but especially during the holidays. While Black Friday shopping, dogs and dog owners can get into the holiday spirit by stopping by Santa’s Wonderland. Santa’s Wonderland offers free photos with Santa and free family holiday activities, including crafts and games. Santa Wonderland hours vary by location.

Santa’s Wonderland activities will be open on Black Friday when the store opens at 5 a.m. but pictures with Santa begin at 10 a.m. and continue until 8 p.m. Dog owners wanting to visit Santa Claus can receive a free 4 x 6 studio-quality photo and a custom Christmas video to share online with family and friends. You can schedule their Santa time using the free Bass Pass system. Upon arrival in-store, visit the Bass Pass Ticket Depot located at the entrance of Santa’s Wonderland to pick up a time-stamped pass. Return to see Santa at the time marked on the Bass Pass to share Christmas wishes and take a photo with Santa and your dog.

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Bass Pro Shops

You can shop year-round with your dog at Bass Pro Shops.

2. Half Price Books

Half Price Books is a pet-friendly store that has more than 120 stores in 17 states. It even has a corporate office dog named Vader. He hangs out in the Dallas Flagship store. Half Price Books opens at 9 a.m. on Black Friday and will be giving away tote bags and $5 gift cards to the first 100 book lovers in line. (I'm not sure if they'll be giving out dog treats as well.)

Vader at Half Price Books

Meet Vader, Half Price Books' corporate canine.

3. Tractor Supply Company

Not only are Tractor Supply Company stores pet friendly, but the brand has featured some of its four-legged customers on the store website. One such customer is Mattie Belle, a 5-year-old Golden Retriever. Along with her owners she "shops" at the store in Morristown, Tennessee. It is said that she always barks "Hello" to the cashiers before making her way to the pet aisle. With Tractor Supply Company saying that leashed pets are always welcome, you may want to add it to your list of stores to visit on Black Friday with your buddy.

4. Untuckit

You're probably familiar with the Untuckit shirt brand from its advertisement of shirts designed to be worn untucked. What you might not be familiar with is the fact that this brand has 22 physical store locations around the United States--with three more expected to open by the end of 2017, bringing the total to 25. Every Untuckit location welcomes dogs. Here's what a company spokesperson told me: "Unless against mall policy (no stores come to mind) we don't turn away dogs from any of our locations. In fact, we don't mind if they sit on the furniture."

Of course, there are likely hundreds of independent retailers that will welcome you and your dog on Black Friday or any other day. Just ask first before assuming you can bring your pup along on your shopping trip.

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