What Is Pet-Friendly, and How Does It Apply to Stores?

Pet Care


June 24, 2023

Many times, pet parents will notice that a certain store—or even a hotel or other public facility—allows them to bring their pets when they patronize these places.

Different facilities can have different meanings when they use the term “pet-friendly,” but in most cases, it means that you are allowed to bring your pets into the place of business whenever you shop or visit there.

Today, there are pet-friendly retail stores, restaurants, hotels, and more, but it’s good to know the meaning of the term before you head out to any of these places.

What Is Pet-Friendly, and How Does It Differ from “Pets Allowed”?

Believe it or not, there is a difference between the term “pets allowed” and “pet-friendly.” When a hotel or even an apartment building tells you that pets are allowed, it simply means that you are allowed to take your pet with you when you stay at the hotel or rent the apartment. Pet-friendly, on the other hand, usually means they offer perks and amenities to those pets.

Pet-friendly facilities often mean special benefits are available for pets; for example, they may be located near a dog park, have products and services available in the store to accommodate your pet, and even have activities that humans and animals can do together. Other perks may include pet daycares and pet waste stations that are conveniently located.

When it comes to a retail store, pet-friendly usually means they allow and welcome your pets into the facility. They may have special areas of the store devoted just to the items that pets need to thrive.

Some stores even offer special sections where your pets can be groomed or bathed, in addition to selling treats and numerous pet-care products.

There Can Be Restrictions

The thing is, though, even in pet-friendly facilities, there can be restrictions. Take, for example, apartments. There are often restrictions regarding how many pets you can keep in the apartment, the size of the animal, and even the breed of the animal.

In addition, some apartments will allow you to keep cats or dogs only. Many of them will not allow other types of animals, such as snakes or birds.

Even in pet-friendly apartments, many of them allow cats but not dogs or only dogs that weigh under a certain amount but never large dogs.

If a store is pet-friendly, they may allow dogs only and no other type of animal, and they usually have rules that you must abide by, such as making sure the animal is on a leash and is well-behaved the entire time you’re there.

Keep in mind that many places are dog-friendly or cat-friendly. When you see this, you can assume that that is the only animal allowed in their facility.

Even if they claim to be pet-friendly, that doesn’t mean that they necessarily welcome any type of pet into their store or facility. If you are unsure, all you have to do is give them a call, and they’ll tell you exactly what their policy is.

Does It Really Mean Pet-Friendly?

If you take a look at the term “pet-friendly,” one of the things you’ll quickly realize is that it doesn’t always mean what you think it means.

For instance, many apartments allow you to have certain pets in your home but charge huge fees that you have to pay in order to keep them there. These fees often total hundreds of dollars and can be difficult for some tenants to afford.

Even worse, if your pet has an accident on the carpet while you’re living there, which happens frequently, the apartment management will keep the money at the end of your lease.

Considering that these fees are usually very high, this means that pet parents can lose a lot of money by leasing an apartment in a building that is supposed to be accommodating to pet owners.

In stores, pet-friendly often means dog-friendly because they usually allow only dogs and not cats or other types of pets.

Even then, dogs are usually required to be on a leash at all times and very well-behaved, which is understandable. Still, these are restrictions that some pet parents really don’t care for and are often unprepared for because they are expecting something else.

“Pet” Often Equals “Dog” and Nothing Else

For cat lovers, the term “pet-friendly” is often not taken seriously because many places that say they allow pets actually only allow dogs.

In short, if you’re a pet parent and you’re looking for the perfect store, vacation spot, or apartment, it’s a good idea to contact them and find out exactly what types of pets are and are not allowed in the facility.

Most stores and apartments that are pet-friendly do indeed want you to feel like your furry family members are welcome there, but it’s still a good idea to find out exactly what they mean by that before you visit them or agree to rent from them.


There is a difference between pet-friendly and the term “pets allowed.” Pet-friendly places usually give a little extra to make your pets feel welcome there.

If you’re going into a pet-friendly store, it is rare for them to allow all pets because they normally only allow dogs. Pet-friendly apartments can have amenities to make your pets feel more comfortable there, but this doesn’t always apply.

Whether you’re searching for an apartment or getting ready to visit a retail store, it’s a good idea to ask questions and make sure you understand what they mean by pet-friendly or “pets allowed.”