We completely understand why you want to take your dog to Walmart with you. We’re right there with you. We love to take our dog everywhere and to be honest, the dog loves to go with us. When you just look at that sweet little face begging to go with you, it’s really hard to say no!
So the question is, are dogs allowed in Walmart? Dog owners should always be aware and know what the policy is for a store before taking their dog along. While we love our dogs, it doesn’t mean the rest of the world does and we are going out in public to a place that doesn’t belong to us.
When you as if they are allowed in Walmart, you should take note of the corporate policy that they have in place. In general, service dogs are allowed in Walmart but that is about the extent of their dog allowance.
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Why doesn’t Walmart take as kindly to non-service animals? Well, there is really a lot more behind the story and the rules so let’s take a close look at the dog policy and see if we can’t better understand whether Walmart is dog friendly or not.
Walmart Dog Policy
You can quickly find what Walmart has to say about whether dogs allowed is a yes or now. The Walmart dog policy is simple but there are many who still find it challenging to understand or follow. Take heed that the dog policy is not designed to hurt dogs or people but rather just to consider the best interest of the stores.
Walmart’s policy is designed similarly to grocery stores because they do oftentimes have groceries and fresh foods available to fill your shopping carts with. The Walmart corporate policy is that your dog is allowed in Walmart if it is a service animal. Walmart allows service animals in their stores but that is the extent of their allowance.
The policy is very clear that they align with the ADA requirements and accommodations for service animals so your service dog is always welcome. However, this does not cover emotional support dogs so keep that in mind.
Service dogs allowed in Walmart but they are not pet friendly and non service animals are not allowed by policy in the stores, regardless of the people and the arguments, the rule is service animals only.
You will find that many people ignore these rules and take their animals to the store anyway but understand that unless the dog is a service animal, Walmart allows policies are that pet owners should leave their dogs at home.
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Don’t get angry at the store manager, they are just doing their job as the people who are running the store. This is a company policy and store managers are simply doing their jobs.
We recommend putting a service animal vest on your four legged friend because it can help reduce questions as to whether you are simply friends or companion dogs but it is not required thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act.
What Are The Customers Rights?
When it comes to our rights as customers, there is nothing out there that says that they have to allow pets or even emotional support animals. Stores have the right to set a dog policy and they have the right to enforce it as well. Will Walmart allow you to walk in with your non service dogs? They just might but the store managers might also ask you if that is a service animal or an emotional support animal or just a pet.
Service dog owners can be proactive and make sure that their animal is well trained. You can utilize a service dog tag or a vest to really make it obvious a dog is a service animal for the store. This would eliminate any questions from the store and store manager in the end.
Keep in mind that dogs inside stores can be a food safety problem but it might also be a problem for many people within the store. Walmart has a heavy and differing population of people. Someone might be very scared of animals while another person might be allergic to dogs.
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Try to remind yourself that this is not your store and simply be respectful of the store and leave your pets at home or in the vehicle. They will not allow dogs that are non service, even if it is a small dog. While you might find yourself getting away with this behavior, the store still has the right to make dogs leave particularly if dogs inside the store are causing a problem.
When you consider the law, pets are not covered by ADA policies. ADA covers only service animals and their laws do not apply to an emotional support animal at this time. Stores do not have to allow emotional support animals and the Walmart dog policy is in line with the law in this sentence.
ADA And Service Dog Rules
According to the ADA, a service dog is a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. This might cover a dog trained to know when their owners blood sugar plummets. These four legged animals are trained to alert or help when something goes awry – that is their purpose.
ADA defined service animals are not defined in the same way as pets or emotional support animals. Keep in mind that this regulatory statement does not cover emotional support service animals when it comes to your dog. The exception is if you have a mental health professional who deems the emotional support service animals as necessary. In this case, there would be written documentation from the professional regarding your emotional support animal falling into the service animals or service dogs categories.
Does this make sense? That means when the Walmart dog policy mentions accommodating service dogs as outlined by the ADA, they are adhering to the law but no more than that. The stores dog policy is to allow service dogs with people but no other type of dog is permitted. The store environment is not considered to be dog friendly, even though people inside might be dog friendly.
Respect the dog policy and only take service dogs to these stores. Leave pets and other dogs at home, even if it is just a small dog. Remember that it is a food safety issue but other customers might also be affected.
You can always visit the pet stores with your animals and pets to cheer them up.
Going Shopping With Your Dog
If you want to take your dogs inside the store, be sure to look out for the stores that allow pets and animals in the store with customers. Even if you have service dogs, you should be well-prepared when you walk into Walmart or any other store for that matter.
Remember that not all stores are the same. While Walmart clearly says only service dogs can come in with the people, other stores have different dog policy rules or react differently and just turn a blind eye when you bring in a dog.
Whether Service dogs are allowed in Walmart is absolutely no question. Take your service animals to any stores you need to, just be prepared when you go!
If your dog is not part of the service animals allotment, you should be sure to check the store policy to see if it is dog friendly or if it is more like Walmart is, with only allowing service dogs in.
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Walmart is not the only store with a policy such as this so pay attention and then take or leave your dog as needed. Remember that service animals can always go and must be allowed in per ADA service dogs accommodations in the law.
Now, when you and your service animals are heading to Walmart or another facility, be sure to gather up everything you need before you go. If your service dog is a small dog, you can use a soft carrier or a backpack or a carrying case of some sort if you like.
Service dogs should be taken into Walmart on a leash and collar. If you have service dog certificates or cards, go ahead and attach that to recognize these service dogs and eliminate questions from people.
Service dogs are well-trained in how to behave in public and how to behave to protect their human. You should practice and work with service animals before you just take them to Walmart and subject them to the people. Some service dogs have a hard time being around loud children and families and a Walmart packed full of too much traffic. Gauge this for your dog. It just might not be a good idea to take them to Walmart.
Registering A Service Dog
Walmart cannot require that you register your dog. They can ask if your dog is a service dog but the law restricts just how much they can ask. Walmart likely will not approach you and demand proof but you never know.
Walmart will allow dogs for service purposes, just not pets. You can register dogs for service purposes and often get some sort of label or tag that would be helpful at Walmart and places where dogs are allowed but pets are not. It serves as an identifier to allow dogs and leaves no question as to whether the dogs are there for a reason.
Support dogs are not ESA dogs and this is something that no article ever expresses enough. The role is different and therefore the policy is different. Certification of an ESA does not make turn them into support dogs so keep that in mind.
These answers can be challenging for some. Just remember not to take out your frustrations on the poor Walmart door greeters or the manager who is just doing some of their jobs when they ask you about your dogs.
Etiquette For Dogs In Walmart
Here is where you really might need some attention. We’ve covered whether owners can bring an ESA or other dogs in and rules out that only service pets are allowed. Associates and the manager have to consider health codes and food safety regulations, which is why the manager policy will only accommodate service pets in Walmart.
Some retailers don’t have groceries, so this is a wholly different scenario.
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Whether you are in Walmart or one other type of location, you need to be ready to control and handle your dog while you are there, this includes cleaning up dog poop should your dog defecate while you are at Walmart. This is one of the reasons the rules are so stringent in Walmart.
Remember that they have food so one instance like this could quickly get them in trouble with the health department. Associates should not be required to clean up after your dog either.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Is An ESA Different From A Service Animal?
While an emotional support animal and a service animal are often considered to be the same, they really aren’t. They are identified differently in the eyes of the law and therefore the eyes of Walmart. Service animals are strategically trained to aid their human for a specific health need, while an emotional animal is not.
Why Can’t Dogs Enter Grocery Stores?
This related directly back to health and safety protocols and this is one of the reasons Walmart has such a strict policy. Food is prepared and cared for, even in Walmart, so a pet could contaminate the space.
Are There Stores That Are Pet Friendly?
There are plenty of stores out there that have absolutely no problem with you bring your dog. Walmart is not one of those but you can do a bit of research or check around and you will find plenty of places that accommodate pets and welcome them while others simply pretend not to notice.
In answer to your question are dogs allowed in Walmart, the answer is it depends. In order to bring them to Walmart, they should be a service dog as is defined by ADA. Remember that this does not include emotional support or any other type of animal but strictly relates to service animals specifically.
Always remember to be respectful of the locations you are going to and follow their rules. We all love to take our dogs but we must remember that there are rules in place for a reason and simply follow those rules even when they are hard to understand.