Is Costco Dog Friendly? [2024 Update]

Dogs are often not allowed in stores, especially in businesses involving the food industry, such as grocery stores and restaurants. 

A massive retailer with a wild assortment of products, Costco is a successful store with many loyal customers. However, is it a dog-friendly environment

is Costco dog friendly
Is Costco dog friendly? [2022 Update]

This question is on many people’s minds, especially those with service dogs or therapy dogs. Read on to find out if Costco will allow your furry friend inside their warehouses.

Service Dogs Only 

For the most part, Costco locations don’t allow dogs or any pets at all unless the animal is a trained service animal. In this case, the manager of the store or the employees must ask the owner particular questions to gauge if they are a service animal or not. These questions are: 

  • Is that a service animal?
  • What task or function is it trained to perform?

These questions are allowed by law and are meant to protect the other customers and the employees and the health and safety laws that Costco takes very seriously. However, in some areas of the world, these rules are even more strict

For example, in Canada, Costco is very strict about not allowing pets, and service animals are more strictly regulated as well. 

service dog
A service and rescue dog.

Store Policy Varies

Although the official policy states that no non-service animals are allowed, some locations may be more lenient with their policies. 

It is up to each store’s manager to enforce Costco’s ruling. If the manager doesn’t mind having pets in the store, they don’t have to refuse entry. However, if a pet provides a distraction or danger to a working service dog, this can cause legal issues for that pet’s owner. 

You should not bring your pet into the store, as it’s dangerous for real service dog teams. 

Are Emotional Support Dogs Allowed?

Therapy or emotional support dogs are unfortunately not allowed. Due to the Title II and Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, they are not considered service animals. They aren’t allowed in places that generally prohibit the presence of animals or other pets. 

However, these rules are frequently updated and changed; the ADA website is an excellent place to keep track of these changes

owner hugging a puppy
An owner snuggling with her puppy.

Emotional Support Dogs vs. Service Dogs 

If you are still confused about the difference between a service dog and an emotional support dog, we’ll outline the differences specified by the ADA website here

Emotional Support Dogs

  • They are considered therapeutic pets, prescribed for emotional reasons.
  • ESAs relieve mental distress such as loneliness, depression, anxiety, etc., and are used for companionship.
  • They are not trained to aid in tasks for those with disabilities, and they often do not receive specific behavioral training. 
  • They can live in non-pet-friendly housing for free with a doctor’s note. 
  • They can travel in the cabin of an airline.
  • They do not have public access rights like service dogs. 

Service Dogs

  • A service dog is any dog trained to perform one or more tasks for someone with a disability, whether physical, emotional, or intellectual.  
  • To be designated a service dog, the animal must perform tasks directly related to the individual’s disability.
  • Examples of this include: Guide dogs, hearing dogs, seizure response dogs, PTSD dogs.
  • Service dogs can live in non-pet-friendly housing, board airplanes, and have public access rights in all public areas except for churches and government buildings. 

The distinctions of whether a service dog is allowed in specific locations and whether the law recognizes the animal as such can also differ by state and federal laws

Therefore it’s always important to double-check before bringing any furry friends that you need to take with you to public places, especially if it’s a large food store like Costco. 

Handler Responsibility 

In any case, it’s always crucial that the animal’s owner is maintaining control and that they are not risking others’ safety or comfort. 

Simply because someone has a service dog doesn’t mean that they will not be turned away by a business because of unacceptable behavior

Some examples of this include: 

In general, the dog must always be kept under control and handled with a leash or some other form such as a rope. A dog can only be off-leash when performing a task. You must also make sure your dog is up to date on all vaccinations before entering Costco.

Handler Rights 

Another aspect of the question, “Is Costco dog friendly?” is to consider the idea that some stores may turn the customer away because of their animal. 

It all depends on the manager’s judgment at the time. The fact that a store may not educate some managers on disability rights can raise the question, “what are the rights of those with service animals?” 

How can you provide further evidence or proof that your animal needs to be in store location with you, or should they?

The ADA specifies that service animals are not pets and are allowed in any public facility or accommodation. This law means that any business or public service with a “no pets” policy can’t turn away a service dog. 

By law, they must allow disabled people entry with their service animal. In addition, any business or company requiring only service dogs entrance cannot request any formal documentation or proof that they are a certified service dog, nor can they request a fee or surcharge for this. 

The ADA says that Service dog IDs and “documentation” do not exist. If someone has these things, they are false and should not be taken seriously. 

holding a dog
A woman holding her dog at a store.

Costco Is Service-Dog Friendly 

Costco is a relatively dog-friendly environment, given that they still allow dogs, as long as they are service dogs. 

Overall, Costco’s policy on dogs follows the policy of most other grocery stores. Dogs are not allowed inside unless they are service dogs due to health code requirements by the state and country. 

Provided you have a disability and require the pup to help you, there should be no problem bringing your dog into a Costco warehouse!