Dog owners love their furry friends and treat them as more than just pets.
If you’re also a dog lover, you may not want to leave your four-legged friend behind—even for a trip to a local store like Walmart.
You may wonder, Are dogs allowed in Walmart? Is Walmart pet-friendly?
Walmart welcomes service animals but doesn’t allow dogs or other animals in its stores.
Don’t worry if this policy seems confusing. I’m here to clarify any confusion and help you determine if you can bring your dog to a local Walmart.
I’ll guide you through the Walmart dog policy and help you have a hassle-free shopping trip.
Are Dogs Allowed in Walmart?
(Image source: Walmart Selinsgrove’s Facebook Page)
Here’s a quick explanation of the Walmart Service dog policy:
You can’t bring your dog to Walmart unless it’s your service animal, regardless of whether it is properly trained. In short, only service animals are allowed in Walmart stores.
Walmart’s policy acknowledges service animals’ vital role in customers’ lives.
Feel free to shop with your reliable furry friend if you have a hearing dog or a diabetes-alert dog.
You can also find more info on this pet policy on the Walmart website.
What Is the Walmart Pet Policy for Service Animals?
If Walmart’s official pet policy doesn’t allow dogs, you’re likely wondering why you’ve seen dogs in Walmart many times.
The reason is that dogs can be service animals as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
What are considered service animals under the ADA?
The ADA states that service animals are individually trained dogs that can perform tasks for people with disabilities, medical conditions, and mental health issues (like post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD).
Since you can’t always tell which dogs are service dogs, you’re probably wondering, Does Walmart’s pet policy require me to show service dog papers?
No. You don’t. No Walmart employee or store manager will ask you for proof that your dog is an animal.
Furthermore, anyone asking you to prove your disability or need for a service dog violates the law.
However, Walmart employees may ask these questions in some US states.
Is your dog a service animal?
What specific task is your dog individually trained to perform?
Never attempt to misrepresent your pet as a service dog at a Walmart store (or other stores, for that matter). Falsely claiming your dog is a service animal may result in a fine of up to $1,000, depending on your state.
Animals Allowed Under Walmart’s Pet Policy
Is Walmart dog-friendly? Yes, but only to service animals.
Here are the types of service dogs or pets allowed under the Walmart Pet Policy.
Regular Service Dogs
These dogs can perform tasks to assist individuals with handicaps in navigating places like Walmart safely.
Here are examples of regular service dogs.
Mobility assistance dogs
Any dog with special training from a certified service dog handler
Medical Alert Dogs
These dogs can detect when you are about to faint or have a stroke. Some can alert you if you experience lower blood glucose levels or other medical emergencies.
Here are some types of alert dogs.
Allergy detection dogs
Medical service dogs for unique medical needs
Note: All these dogs have special training to perform tasks that help directly with a person’s disability.
Are Emotional Support Dogs Allowed in Walmart?
If service dogs are allowed in Walmart, what about emotional support dogs, therapy dogs, or other pets?
No. Emotional support animals aren’t service animals as defined by the ADA, so they’re not allowed in Walmart stores.
According to the ADA, emotional support animals (ESAs) aren’t service animals. These animals may provide emotional support or comfort, but they don’t have training to perform specific tasks to aid you.
Thus, your emotional support animal must stay at home while you shop at Walmart.
Can’t leave your emotional support or therapy dogs for a long time? Consider using Walmart’s Pickup service when shopping for groceries.
Why Are Pets Not Allowed in Walmart?
Here are several reasons why Walmart isn’t allowing pets or non-service dogs in stores.
To Comply With the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Health Regulations
Under the FDA’s food service codes and applicable food safety regulations, pets aren’t allowed in restaurants, food stores like Walmart, and other establishments that prepare and handle food.
The only exception to these food safety concerns is if the dog is a service animal.
To Avoid Sanitation and Contamination Issues
Your dog can cause health hazards if it contaminates food aisles and other food-handling areas in Walmart with urine or fecal matter.
Even if you or a store employee cleans up the specific grocery area, its poop or urine can leave a lingering, noticeable odor. This smell will likely upset or bother other customers.
To Avoid Property Damage
It’s common for dogs to chew on objects.
If you leave your dog unattended even for a few seconds, it may cause significant property damage. It can knock down a shelf or destroy furniture by running around the store.
Dog marking or territorial urination is another issue. Non-service animals urinating on a carpet for sale or the bottom of a steel rack can cause expensive damage.
To Ensure a Comfortable Shopping Experience for Everyone
Your dog may cause fear and anxiety or trigger allergies.
Fear and allergies to dogs are quite common, after all.
Furthermore, dogs can sense fear and anxiety. They may bite other shoppers if they smell nervous sweats or hear frantic screaming.
For everyone’s safety, public places like Walmart stores don’t allow non-service dogs.
To Avoid Aggressive Dog Behaviors
Some dogs tend to be aggressive around other dogs, especially in confined spaces like grocery stores. Walmart wouldn’t want unfortunate events harming animals and shoppers.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can You Bring Dogs Into Walmart Inside a Bag?
No. Walmart’s policy generally doesn’t allow pets, even if carried in a bag. It only allows service animals.
Can You Bring Small Dogs Into Walmart?
No. Walmart’s pet policy doesn’t permit non-service dogs inside, regardless of size.
If your small dog is a trained guide dog, seizure-alert dog, or diabetic-alert dog, you can bring it to Walmart stores.
Does Walmart Allow Dogs in Carts?
No. Walmart doesn’t allow dogs in shopping carts at Walmart. Besides, service dogs that can enter Walmart stores usually walk with their owners.
Are Leashed Dogs Allowed in Walmart?
Walmart stores only allow your leashed dog if it’s your service animal.
Can I Take My Dog in Walmart in a Stroller?
Walmart’s policy prohibits pets, even in dog strollers. The store only permits service dogs on a leash while walking with its owner.
Can I Bring My Puppy Into Walmart?
No. You can’t bring your puppy to any local Walmart store unless it’s a trained service dog.
Can I Take My Emotional Support Dog to Walmart? Does Walmart Allow ESA Dogs?
No. Walmart doesn’t allow emotional support animals or ESA dogs because they’re not service animals as defined by the ADA.
Where Are Dogs Allowed?
If you want to bring your furry friend when you shop, here are some stores that allow non-service dogs.
These stores’ pet policies can vary by location, so I recommend contacting the specific store location you want to visit and verifying if they allow pets or non-service dogs.
Are Animals Allowed in Walmart if They’re Service Dogs?
Yes. Walmart welcomes service animals, and you don’t need to prove they’re service dogs.
The Bottom Line:
There you have it. Unless your dog is a service animal, it can’t enter a Walmart store.
I hope my guide made it easier for you to understand Walmart’s pet policy. Remember what you learned in this article to ensure you have a hassle-free time at Walmart.
If you want more shopping convenience, consider signing up for Walmart Plus. This subscription service gives you various benefits, including unlimited free deliveries.