6 min read

Is It OK To Tie Your Dog Up Outside A Store?

So you just spent a couple of quality hours at the park with your dog. You're both dog-tired.

On the walk home, the coffee shop looms large. COFFEEEEEEE.

But then there's Bubba.

In a perfect world, every door swings wide open for our pets. But the reality is, many of us are forced to make a snap decision.

Do we tie our best friend outside for that one hot minute we're in the coffee shop or store?

Ten minutes if there's a line. Fifteen tops!

Or, do we dutifully walk home first, drop off the dog and return for those errands?

Let's be honest: At one time or another, we've all probably opted for either option. And we've no doubt walked past a parade of other people's dogs tied up outside shops, waiting for their errand-running owners - all of them seemingly frozen in time.

It happens. But that doesn't make it a good idea.

"I would never do it," Amy Klein of rescue group Marley's Mutts tells The Dodo. "I'm so paranoid someone is going to steal my dogs."

"Not to mention, I'd also be paranoid that somebody was going to feed my dogs something that's very dangerous," she adds.

Indeed, the real danger here isn't likely from exposure to the elements, but exposure to strangers.

"This is purely my opinion - I know of no research specifically on this, but I always strongly advised clients against it and would never do it with my own dogs," Janis Bradley of the National Canine Research Council (NCRC) tells The Dodo. "I think it leaves them in much too vulnerable a situation ... with no means of escape."

It's a murky area of pet ownership, where it's often hard to find the very thin line between negligence and convenience.

But if you find yourself in an emergency situation and have to leave your dog at the curb, keep a few things in mind.

Can you see your dog from inside the store?

Check out your surroundings. "I don't want to scare anyone, but dogs can be stolen," Sonja Olson, senior emergency clinician for BluePearl Veterinary Partners, tells The Dodo.

Indeed, dognappings appear to be on the rise, according to the American Kennel Club, and of course can happen anywhere. But leaving your animal in a low visibility area for any time is just asking for trouble.

"Avoid dark or not heavily trafficked areas and, if possible, keep watch on your dog from inside the store," adds Rob Halpin of MSPCA-Angell.

Make it quick

Needless to say, every second your dog spends alone on the curb increases the odds of something bad happening.

And if it's hot outside, you might want to reconsider completely. If you must leave them, then do so in the shade and with water for only a few minutes, Halpin says.

Get your dog microchipped

You should do this anyway, but it's particularly important if your dog were to escape his tether. Updated owner tags and contact info are also critical.

While in most cases, your dog will survive his curbside ordeal, Halpin suggests the shortest leash of all should be reserved for errand-running owners.

At the very least, look at it from a dog's point of view.

It's like time stood still for them the moment their owner left - and will only resume again once they return.

That's a lot of heartache just so a dog parent can get a caffeine fix.