As much as we love our furry friends, it only makes sense that we would want to take them everywhere we go.
Some companies, most obviously pet supply and farm stores, are happy to let our dogs come in with us.
Easy signs that your dog is welcome in a particular store are the obligatory water bowl by the door or a jar of dog treats as well as the lack of a “no dogs” sign.
Pet-friendly stores are assuming that your dog won’t make a mess on the floor, or become a problem for other customers, of course.
Nobody will rip your head off if your pup makes a mess and you quickly clean it up though.
In other cases, dogs are simply not wanted in the store due to either the type of customers the store serves or the image the company wants to present.
Many grocery stores ask that customers do not bring their dog in because not all people like dogs and even those that do may not be interested in grocery shopping with a dog or dog-created mess nearby.
Health risks are also a concern, of course.
However, some companies or even individual store managers may be reluctant to make any type of decision regarding pet policies.
Potentially rejecting an unmarked service animal may bring troubling legal repercussions for the store or franchise.
Additionally, some customers may cause a scene or attempt to have employees fired when asked to remove their dog from the store.
In stores where dogs are welcomed, the manager has to be responsible for any potential incidents, injuries, or losses resulting from allowing customers the satisfaction of bringing their dog in the store with them.
It is also up to them to handle any customers who are unhappy with the dog policy in place.
Because it can be extremely difficult to find corporate policies online, many people rely on the experiences of others.
This guide will not only give you a better understanding of the stores that welcome dogs and stores that do not, but also the reasoning behind those decisions.
Additionally, I’ll cover other factors like service dog regulations, exceptions for puppies or those in strollers, and varying dog policies.
Are Dogs Allowed in Home Depot?
Yes, dogs are allowed in Home Depot.
Home Depot is commonly known as a dog-friendly store.
Pet owners are often seen wandering between the aisles of lighting, paints, or other home improvement wares with their furry friends.
Although technically there is a no-dog policy in place, this source implies that most employees overlook the policy rather than strictly enforce it.
Home Depot has a “per manager” policy, so each store may have different opinions on dogs and how they should be handled.
Generally, so long as dogs are kept on a leash or in the shopping cart, do not disturb customers, or make a mess, store managers are willing and happy to allow dogs in.
Sometimes, though managers may be influenced by the opinion of one of their superiors, or afraid of incidents occurring in the store, pushing them to deny people the opportunity to bring their dog in with them.
Overall, it seems best to call ahead or take note of what is allowed in your local Home Depot before bringing your dog in with you.
Are Dogs Allowed in Lowes?
Generally, leashed and well-behaved dogs are allowed in Lowes.
Just as Lowes and Home Depot provide the same services and supplies to the public, their pet policies have similarities as well.
Many people have read in articles such as this one, that since 2012, Lowes’ official company policy is to allow both service animals and pets into the store.
In 2014, an incident occurred in which a toddler was severely injured, and there has been confusion on the policy ever since.
Ultimately, this uncertainty about the true policy gives Lowes somewhat of a “per manager” policy, just like Home Depot does.
If your local Lowes does allow pets in the store, you should ensure that your dog is leashed, well-behaved, and unlikely to make a mess.
As always, it can’t hurt to call ahead of time to check with the manager on that particular store’s dog policy.
Are Dogs Allowed in Walmart?
Walmart is a massive multinational retail corporation that sells groceries, clothing, pet supplies, gear for outdoor hobbies, and various services for car maintenance.
Unlike many of the other stores on this list, Walmart has an easy-found, clearly-defined statement regarding their pet policy.
On the corporate website, Walmart recognizes the importance of service animals in the lives of their customers but firmly states that pets are not welcome in Walmart.
Despite their policy, small dogs can often be found riding in the shopping cart of the local Walmart, especially in smaller towns that are likely to have more laidback nature.
Are Dogs Allowed in Target?
Target is the second-largest retailer in the United States, and like most corporate detailers, Target has a strict “NO-PET” policy.
Despite their beloved mascot, Bullseye, a white English Bull Terrier, being highly popular and involved in the company, pets are not welcome in any Target stores.
Service animals are fully encouraged to enter the store as needed to create a positive and safe shopping experience for all their customers.
Are Dogs Allowed in Costco?
Costco Wholesale Corporation is a multinational corporation that runs membership-only big-box retail stores. Costco also focuses on food sales, and like most other grocery stores, pets are not welcome inside Costco.
On the customer service website, Costco clearly states their support and cooperation of ADA’s policies regarding support animals.
Although they maintain all Costco members will have immediate access into the warehouses, they reserve the right to ask if a dog is a service animal, and the task they are trained to perform.
Are Dogs Allowed in Macy’s?
As surprising as it may be, Macy’s has a long history of pet involvement, including regular donation of window spaces, accepting dogs in the stores, and collaborations with the SPCA.
So long as your dog is leashed, well-behaved, and prepared to handle the crowds of a big box store, Macy’s will consider your pooch.
You should keep in mind, however, that many Macy’s are connected to large malls which may have a separate, overarching pet policy.
If the Macy’s you plan on attending is part of a mall or shopping center, you should call ahead to ask if you can bring your furry friend with you.
So What Qualifies a Service Dog?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) website details the works of service dogs and how stores are legally required to grant them entrance to a store.
Service dogs are not your average pet or backyard dog. They have undergone hours of individual training to perform a job or tasks for people with disabilities.
Some of the most common examples of the work provided by service dogs are:
- Guiding blind people
- Aiding someone in a wheelchair
- Alerting and protecting someone having a seizure or medical emergency
- Calming someone with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder during a panic or anxiety attack
Although dogs are typically seen as pets, service dogs are working animals, not pets.
That being said, it’s a touchy subject and many store owners know that pressing a customer on proof that the dog is a service dog may end up causing more trouble than just allowing them.
Many people have used this term to get their pet dog into various stores.
I wouldn’t recommend this option because it can make it harder for real service dog owners to get into these stores.
If possible, leave your pooch at home where he’s safe and sound and make sure to tire him out physically and mentally before leaving.
Why Are Dogs Not Allowed in Grocery Stores?
Dogs are not allowed in grocery stores due to the health and safety regulations in place, which are further protected by both state and local laws.
Because most grocery stores have a deli counter or bakery where food is prepared, stored, and then sold, the sanitation of the store must be excellent.
Bringing pets into the store could not only pose a major sanitation risk but also interrupt normal shopping experiences by barking, jumping on people or displays, or getting out of control.
Service dogs are an exception as stated by federal law.
However, since service animals have been so thoroughly trained and are working even when they are in the grocery store, they act quite differently than your average dog. Service animals are usually quiet, understanding of spatial boundaries, and unfazed by large crowds, crying children, or other regular store commotion.
In addition, service dogs are kept very clean so that any spaces they enter will not be affected.
Are There Exceptions For Puppies or Strollers?
Most companies will not have a stated exception for puppies or dogs in strollers.
That being said, some stores will be more accepting of dogs in a stroller since they are less likely to make a mess or disrupt other shoppers.
Puppies, who are adorable and eager to meet everyone, are also slightly more likely to be accepted in a store, though they should be held or kept in a stroller if they are allowed in.
It is important to note that these exceptions are not mentioned to encourage you to bring them into the store.
As always, following the store’s pet policy is the biggest priority when you want to bring your dog out with you.
Calling a store ahead of time will not only give you accurate information about the store’s policies but also give insight into any exceptions they may be willing to make.