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JoAnna Lou
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Dog Parking at Ikea
The trendy home store creates a hangout area for pets

Since I spend so much time at work during the week, I like to take my dogs shopping on the weekends, when it makes sense. They love meeting new people, so it’s fun for them to come along. Stores also make great places to socialize friendly puppies after they’re housebroken. Now that most American families have a pet, companies are starting to realize the importance of being pet friendly. I’ve definitely noticed more stores rolling out the welcome mat to dogs.

I see small dogs in the trendy home store, Ikea, from time to time, although they’re not technically allowed. Ikea stores in Germany are now catering to pet lovers who don’t want to leave their furry family members at home.  The company recently unveiled “Dog Parking,” a covered outdoor area with individual patches of astro-turf, with tie outs and water bowls, and small kennels shaped like dog houses.

The idea was inspired by Ikea’s in-store childcare, which is available at Ikea locations worldwide, and Manland, an entertainment area for husbands that some Australian Ikea stores tested for a few days last year.

I’m happy to see that Ikea is trying to accommodate families with pets, but I’d never leave my crew in the “Dog Parking.” The pets are left unattended, so there’s no stopping someone from stealing a dog or feeding the pups something they shouldn’t have. Insurance reasons alone will probably prevent the “Dog Parking,” idea from coming to our side of the pond, but I do like the idea of Ikea stores becoming more pet friendly. I don’t think that there’s a need for doggie daycare, but perhaps they can start with more pet products. I love Ikea’s funky designs, but I was always surprised that they don’t make more items for animals.

Is your favorite store pet friendly?

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JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

Photo by Iwan Gabovitch.

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