As more and more Americans strive to include their pets in every aspect of their lives, businesses are starting to take notice. Making your business pet-friendly can not only make your customers happy, but it can also attract new ones. And with the pet industry booming—it’s expected to reach $99 billion by next year—there’s no time like the present to start catering to our furry friends.
So how can you make your business more pet-friendly? Below are a few tips to get you started.
1. Offer pet-related products and services.
If you sell products that appeal to pet owners, such as pet food, toys, or supplies, consider displaying them prominently in your store. Or, if you offer services that cater to pets, like grooming or dog walking, make sure potential customers are aware of what you offer. You want pet owners to consider your business a one-stop shop for all their pet-related needs.
Depending on your business, you can offer several other pet-related products and services. For instance, if you run a hotel, you might want to offer a pet-sitting or dog-walking service for guests traveling with their pets. You could start offering a special dog menu if you have a restaurant. These are just a few ideas to get you started—use your imagination and consider what would work best for your business.
2. Allow pets inside.
Whether it’s a dog-friendly restaurant or a store that welcomes leashed animals, letting pets inside sends a clear message that your business is pet-friendly. And when weather conditions are less than ideal for walking dogs—think scorching hot summers or freezing cold winters—you’ll be glad to have them off the street and out of the elements. You can also use this policy to your advantage by holding special events like doggy happy hours or meet-ups for dog owners in your area.
Some establishments, like bars and nightclubs, may not be able to allow pets inside due to health codes. But that doesn’t mean you can’t cater to pet owners. If you have an outdoor patio or seating area, make it pet-friendly so dog owners can still enjoy your business while their furry friends socialize with other pups. Always have water bowls on hand and, if possible, offer a few dog-friendly menu items like doggy food and treats.
3. Create a designated pet area.
If you don’t want animals roaming free throughout your business, create a designated pet area where they can stay while their owners shop or dine. This could be as simple as setting up a few crates in the corner of your store or sectioning off a part of your outdoor patio for furry diners. You can also get more creative by setting up a dog park-style area with agility equipment, toys, and water bowls.
But you must ensure that the designated pet area is clean, comfortable, and safe. Pets should have a place to rest and plenty of room to move around. The area should also be well-ventilated and free of any hazards. Finally, make sure there is always someone available to watch the pet area, so animals don’t get loose or into any trouble.
4. Provide amenities for pets and their owners.
Whether it’s bowls of water for thirsty dogs or a place to tie up leashes, there are plenty of ways to make both pets and their owners feel welcome at your business. And don’t forget the clean-up bags! Providing disposal bags helps pet parents pick up after their four-legged friends and keeps your property clean. If you have an outdoor pet area, make sure it’s stocked with toys, beds, and other amenities.
You can also offer special services or discounts for pet owners. For instance, you could give a discount to customers who spend a certain amount of money at your pet-related business. Or, you could offer a complimentary dog-walking service for guests staying at your hotel. Get creative and come up with some ideas that will appeal to your pet-owning customers.
5. Promote your pet-friendly business.
Now that you’ve made your business more pet-friendly, it’s time to let everyone know about it! Use social media, your website, and local publications to spread the word. You can also put up signs or banners at your business to let people know that pets are welcome.
And don’t forget to market your pet-friendly business to pet owners in your area. They’re always looking for new places to take their furry friends, so make sure they know that your business is a great option. You can do this by handing out flyers at local dog parks or pet stores or by advertising in pet-related publications.
Making your business pet-friendly doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming—often, the little things mean the most to our furry friends (and their humans). By following the tips above, you can start attracting new customers and keeping the ones you already have coming back repeatedly.