Where to Go for Free Pet Photos with Santa

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Even though we’ve had dogs for more than two decades, we’ve only done pet photos with Santa once. A friend was doing a fundraiser for a local rescue and invited us to bring our dogs Oscar and Sadie to take pictures with Santa.

My husband and I ended up sitting with Santa, too. I’m not sure he could have handled having two dogs sit for pictures. Here is the resulting picture.

Stores offering pet photos with Santa

You may be wondering where you can go this year for pet photos with Santa with your dog or cat. Well, the stores I’ve listed here usually offer these photo ops each year.

A few years ago I wrote about stores where you can take your dog Black Friday shopping with you. Many of the same stores continue to be pet friendly and will welcome your pup to shop with you. 

Even better, I’ve discovered that a handful are having photo opportunities with Santa with your pet this holiday season. Now is the perfect opportunity to dress your pup in an ugly Christmas sweater.

So where can you take your well-behaved dog to get a picture with Santa? Well, before I get into the details of where to go for photos with Santa, let’s talk a bit about your pets. 

Well-behaved pets only, please

It goes without saying that if you’re going to take your pet with you into a store, always have your dog on a leash. Well-behaved, socialized dogs are the best ones to take into stores with you. 

And don’t stress too much if your dog has an accident. Many pet stores, which obviously welcome pets, have clean up stations throughout the store so you can clean up after your pet easily.

My dogs have accidentally lifted their legs in PetSmart or Petco. Luckily, there were always supplies nearby to wipe up those accidents.

However, as I’ve come to discover other brands that welcome dogs (as I wrote about in this article), I’ll update this article. Now onto the list of places that will have Santa and will take pictures for you with your pets.

Bass Pros Shops/Cabela’s

You’ll need a timed ticket at Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s (they are owned by the same company) to get your pup a photo with Santa. However, don’t worry about that. It’s easy and it’s free. 

Upon arrival in-store at either Bass Pro Shops or Cabela’s, visit the Bass Pass Ticket Depot. You’ll find it located at the entrance of Santa’s Wonderland.

There, you’ll pick up a time-stamped pass. Return to see Santa at the time marked on the Bass Pass to share Christmas wishes and take a photo with Santa and your dog. 

Free pictures with Santa are available through Christmas Eve.

Note: if your Bass Pro Shops or Cabela’s serves food, your dogs may not be allowed inside to take pictures with Santa. We learned that about the Cabela’s near us in Scarborough, Maine. Maine food service law prohibits dogs in the store.

Pet Plus Supplies

Pet Supplies Plus is your local pet store carrying a wide variety of pet foods for any pet. Many locations are offering photos with Santa for a donation, with dates varying by location.

Check with your local Pet Supplies Plus store to see if they are participating and when.

Petco photos with Santa

Petco usually announces dates in December for pet photos with Santa. This event is not free but it does benefit a good cause.

That is, in exchange for a donation of $9.95, you can include your dogs, cats, puppies and kittens in the family holiday card.

At the same time 100% of the proceeds benefit lifesaving animal welfare organizations in your local community through the Petco Foundation. 

Here’s an update on Petco pet pictures with Santa.


Pet parents and families across North America are invited to attend the free Santa Claus events taking place two weekends in December at PetSmart. This annual event gives pet parents the opportunity to have their pets’ photo taken with Santa. 

Pet parents will receive a free digital photo from PetSmart and can snap photos with their own device.

You’ll want to mark your calendarfor the upcoming Paws and Claus Photo Event. That’s PetSmart’s pet pictures with Santa event.

PetSmart’s Paws and Claus Photo Event is 12/16/23 and 12/17/23. Availability by location is subject to change without notice.

Tractor Supply Company

Various Tractor Supply Company locations nationwide are welcoming Santa to the store and your pets, too, to take photos together. 

In case you didn’t know, Tractor Supply Company is a pet-friendly store every day of the year. 

As far as when you can participate in photos with Santa with your pet, dates vary by location. Some are happening as soon as the first weekend in December. Please check with your local Tractor Supply Company location to see if they will be holding such an event and when. 

Santa at the Mall

Guess what? This year you can avoid the lines and book an appointment to see Santa at the mall. And I have a coupon code you can use to get a free 5X7. photo.

Santa is available through Christmas Eve, December 24, 2023. When you schedule an appointment ahead of time, you’ll receive additional benefits. This includes:

  • Free phone call from Santa, powered by Portable North Pole
  • Lock in the date and time of your choice
  • Free access to MyPhoto all holiday season
  • Make checkout a breeze onsite

Head to whereissanta.com to schedule photos with Santa at one of 900 participating mall locations in the United States.

When you checkout, don’t forget to use coupon code LOTC for a Free 5 x 7 Print with Package A! This was our free 5X7 below.

framed printed photo with santa and dogs
Photo credit: Cherry Hill.

Good causes offering Santa photos

Finally, if you can’t make it to any of these stores, keep in mind that many shelters and rescues have pictures with Santa during the holidays. They do this as fundraisers.

In the picture I shared above, my husband and I took our dogs Oscar and Sadie to a local hair salon that had partnered with a nearby rescue. For a $10 donation we were able to take photos with Santa with the dogs one Saturday morning.

So check with your favorite good cause to see if they might be having such an event near you. You’ll likely be asked to make a small donation like we did for the opportunity to take a picture with Santa with your pet.

However, if, like us, you’re already supporting animal-related good causes, that shouldn’t be a hardship. Plus you come away with a really cool keepsake.

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