Many dog owners like to take our furry companions with us when we leave the house, and Walmart is often a popular destination that we find ourselves going to. However, are dogs allowed inside the supermarket? Is Walmart dog friendly?
The short answer is no, you cannot take your dog into Walmart stores.
You may have seen dogs in a Walmart before and wonder how that could have been the case if they weren’t allowed inside the stores.
Some technicalities can lead to a dog getting into a Walmart, and I’ll go over what those are in the sections below, but the vast majority of the time, any dogs you see in a Walmart are not supposed to be there.
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What Does the Walmart Company Policy Say About Dogs Being Inside Their Stores?
Walmart’s company policy clearly states that no pets are allowed inside their stores. Not just dogs. The only exception to this policy is service animals. Outside of that, if an animal is inside a Walmart, the staff must ask the animal owner to leave the store immediately.
This law may seem like a harsh and unfair policy to have in place, but it is not in place because the people who own and run Walmart as a company dislike all animals. The policy is in place solely for health safety purposes. It is unsanitary to have any animals in an establishment that sells food, as they put the food at risk.
As much as I love dogs, I would feel a bit more hesitant to buy food from a place that allowed animals inside and around their products. So, when you consider the potential safety hazard, it makes sense why Walmart would choose to have a policy in place that does not allow for animals to enter the stores.
Suppose you don’t know a lot about what service dogs do. In that case, it might seem strange that Walmart would allow them inside of a store when they pose the same risk of contaminating food and other open products that people sell. One of the main reasons for the exception is catering to as many customers as possible.
Many people rely on service dogs to go about their daily activities. If Walmart’s policy also included having no service dogs allowed inside the building, they would inevitably lose a hefty amount of customers due to the number of people who go shopping with service dogs. Service dogs also receive special training that makes them much less likely to have accidents in the store.
So, when you look at it from that standpoint, it doesn’t make much sense for Walmart not to allow service dogs in their stores from a business perspective.
If you see a dog walking around a Walmart wearing a vest that marks them as such, that means that it is a service dog. The vest makes it easy for employees to recognize that it’s a service dog. That way, the employees don’t mistakenly ask the owner to leave the store due to company policy.
Remember, service dogs are dogs trained in one or more physical tasks to aid in a disability. Emotional support dogs and pets are not service dogs by law.
Are There Any Exceptions to Walmart’s Policy?
Sometimes, the manager of a specific Walmart will allow a dog that is not a service dog to enter the store. They are not supposed to do this, as it violates company policy, but it isn’t unusual.
Outside of that one minor exception, dogs are not allowed inside Walmart in any capacity. Even if you have a small dog that you carry around or keep in a stroller, the employees will still have to ask you to leave the store if you bring the dog inside.
Walmart does not allow emotional support dogs inside their stores either, as they do not fall under the same category as service dogs because they do not receive the same level of training as service dogs.
Are There Any Stores That Do Allow Dogs?
Despite Walmart having a no-dog policy, many other popular stores allow dogs to come inside.
Seeing how it’s a store with the word “pets” in the name, it probably isn’t surprising that Petsmart allows all dogs inside its stores. All dogs still have to have the most up-to-date vaccinations and be on a leash while inside Petsmart, but other than that, there are no policies that you’ll have to worry about.
Bed, Bath, and Beyond
Because Bed, Bath, and Beyond does not make or sell any food products, dogs are more than welcome to enter the retail store. It isn’t as pet friendly as Petsmart, where there are treats and toys around every corner, but you can freely shop around the store with your dog at your side!
Being one of the biggest home improvement companies globally, Home Depot is a store that you will likely find yourself visiting at least a couple of times every year, no matter who you are, and you can bring your dog along with you.
Just like with Petsmart and Bed, Bath, and Beyond, you will have to have your dog on a leash while inside Home Depot, but that is the only requirement the company has.
As far as department stores go, there are several that allow dogs inside, and Nordstrom is probably the most well-known one of the bunch. It’s a store that has been open to dogs for several decades now and will, in all likelihood, continue to do so. Again, ensure you keep your dog on the leash the whole time.
- Is Costco Dog Friendly? [Updated rules]
- Is Lowe’s pet and dog friendly?
- Are Tractor Supply’s still dog friendly?
- Can you take a dog into Walgreens?
While bringing our furry friends along with us when we go to Walmart would make shopping trips more lively and fun, the reality is that we can’t do that. Perhaps Walmart will change its policy on dogs at some point, but the chances of that happening are slim so long as they continue to prepare and sell food products.
In the meantime, there are other stores that we can take our dogs to, so not being able to take them to Walmart is not the end of the world by any means!