8 Ways To Improve Your Dog-friendly Business
Pet-friendly establishments are becoming more and more popular across Canada. This includes patios, breweries, restaurants, cafes, retail stores, offices and more. So why are so many places pet-friendly?
Because so many people have them! According to StatsCanada, in 2020, there were 7.7 million dogs in Canadian households. In 2022 we can only expect that number has increased even more. Owning a dog is so common nowadays that they have even replaced having babies in some relationships. So with all of these dogs, having dog-friendly businesses is essential for pet owners and making your business dog-friendly will grow your clientele substantially.
So, if you have a business that is considered ‘dog-friendly,’ what makes it that way? You want the elements of your business to be appreciated by your customers, many who will be ones entering with their furry friends. To help, we’ve compiled a list of eight ways to improve your dog-friendly business for everybody.
Put policies in place
Safety for people and pets entering your business should be top of mind. As a business owner it is your responsibility to ensure that aggressive or sick dogs do not enter your business. On the other hand, you need to have a plan of action in case two dogs inside your business don’t get along. Or what if a dog uses the washroom in your business?
All of these issues are things to consider and the best thing to do is have safety guidelines in place and policies that you can follow when faced with these challenges. Furthermore, be sure to know the bylaws where you live and if dogs are legally allowed inside your business. If so, how many at one time? Or what happens if something goes wrong? Are you liable if a customer is bitten by a dog? Make sure your employees are fully aware of the laws and the policies you put in place as a business owner. This is the first step to success.
Puppy-proof your business
There are lots of normal household things that can injure dogs, ranging from cleaning products to plants to coffee and more. If your business is truly dog-friendly, you must remove any hazards from your business. It’s also imperative you hide any electrical chords and things that dogs might try to chew. Another thing to consider is getting furniture that is pet-friendly and easily wipeable. Letting dogs inside means more mess! So be prepared to clean more often and consider coming up with a schedule to ensure your business doesn’t become full of pet hair which could impact potential customers.
Offer homemade treats
If your clientele is geared toward pet owners, you want to make sure the dogs are acknowledged and appreciated! Consider keeping a variety of treats available to offer anyone who visits your business with their dog. If your business is a cafe, you can take this even further by offering homemade treats so pet owners can enjoy a cup of coffee while their dog indulges in a pet-friendly cookie or pupachino.
Provide water bowls
If someone walks into your business with a dog, offer them a water bowl! Historically businesses have left communal water bowls outside for pets but many people advise against this due to concerns over cross contamination and cleanliness. So instead, have a collection of washed bowls readily available to fill up upon request. You can also post a sign on your door to let people walking by know that you can provide their dog water. This is especially beneficial if you’re located in a high-traffic area and its a great tactic to get more customers coming through your door.
Promote your business on social media
Nowadays everything gets posted on social media and you should use this to your advantage. Having a social media presence should be something you consider as a business owner, especially if you are dog-friendly because it gives you tons of exposure.
Pet owners use search engines, social media and apps like PawSwap to find places they can go with their dogs. By adding the fact your business is open to dogs on your website, the PawSwap app and through social media posts will catch the attention of your customers and soon-to-be customers. In turn, your clientele increases and potentially your income. Get your iPhone out and start snapping some of the cute pooches that come through your door!
Consider selling dog merchandise
Depending on your business model and what you sell, consider selling dog-related products. This is a great way to show your pet owning customers that you are truly dog-friendly and you’re interested in offering them useful products.
You could sell things like leashes and collars, dog art, books about dogs, toys for dogs, dog treats and food and more. The possibilities are endless! And there are always opportunities to incorporate your business’s branding within the products.
Host pet-friendly events
If you have the space and the funds, consider hosting pet-friendly events. This is a great way to invite all of your customers who own dogs to come together and mingle with one another while growing a special bond with you. This could be something simple as a doggy paint night or a ‘doga’ session. If you are a restaurant or you have kitchen space, consider hosting a homemade dog treat night where dogs aren’t necessarily invited, but the owners are still able to come together. If your space and/or your funds don’t allow for these types of events, consider hosting an outdoor fundraiser geared towards an animal group or cause.
Share the benefits with other business owners
Lastly, as a dog-friendly business it’s important to spread the word to other businesses about why you decided to become dog-friendly. There are so many benefits that you should take note of and share! Advocating to other businesses and industries will not only reflect positively on you, but it will also increase the number of pet-friendly establishments in your area. As I said in the beginning, pets aren’t going anywhere and as pet owners, having a place where your dog is welcome is essential.
Add your business to the PawSwap app
This is perhaps the easiest way to attract new customers to your doorstep. PawSwap is an app that allows people to find dog-friendly businesses and locations in your area like coffee shops, restaurant patios, breweries, banks, parks and much more. All these locations are verified by PawSwap so you can easily find out if your dog is allowed inside or if there’s a dog-friendly patio, and reviews from real dog owners in your area. PawSwap makes experiencing life with your dog by your side easier than ever. Add your free business listing to the PawSwap app today!
Learn more about becoming a partner with PawSwap and how you can promote your dog-friendly business.