Walmart is known for its incredibly wide array of different products. On top of that, customers can get these products at fairly competitive prices. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Walmart is one of the biggest retailers in the US, with over 240 million customers walking into their stores weekly.
And among the wide variety of products on Walmart’s shelves are pet products. At Walmart, you can find a bunch of different products for dogs, cats, birds, and other pets such as toys, kibble, and more.
So, since you can buy pet and dog supplies at Walmart, you may be wondering if you can bring your dog with you on your next shopping trip.
After all, if you have a dog with you when shopping, it will be easier to find the right products for their tastes and size. For example, if there’s a doggie shirt that you want to buy at Walmart, it will be easier to find the right fit if you have your dog with you when shopping.
If you’re wondering if you can bring your dog with you to Walmart, you’ve come to the right place.
In this quick guide, we’ll be looking at Walmart’s dog policy, their stand on pets in the store, and how you can potentially bring your dog with you on your next Walmart shopping trip.
Read on to learn more.
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Can I Take My Dog To Walmart?
As of 2023, Walmart doesn’t allow dogs and other pets into their store. So, whether you want to bring your cat, bird, dog, or other pet to the Walmart store, you may be barred from entering. This is largely for food and hygiene concerns, which we dive into in more detail in the next section.
Why Can’t I Bring My Dog To Walmart?
The main reason you can’t bring your dog to Walmart is because of the FDA’s (Food and Drugs Administration) food service codes. These codes state that pet animals shouldn’t be allowed anywhere where food is sold or prepared.
This is to prevent possible contamination and other issues at the store. So, any restaurant or grocery store will not allow pets inside their premises. This is because the FDA believes that taking animals, especially pets into stores that sell and prepare food is a major health risk that can be avoided.
On top of the FDA codes, Walmart doesn’t allow dogs into their stores for the protection, safety, and comfort of other customers. For example, even if your dog is completely trained, there may be other customers in the store with severe dog allergies.
On the flip side, there are also people with crippling fears of dogs, and having a dog in-store (no matter how well trained), can make for a very unpleasant and uncomfortable shopping experience for many customers.
Walmart’s dog and pet policy clearly state that any pet animal will not be allowed in-store. This is for the comfort of other customers and to abide by the health codes set out by the FDA. However, there are some exceptions for certain customers who absolutely need their dogs with them.
So, if you have a service animal to aid you with your disability, you can bring your dog to Walmart with you. With that said, this policy has a couple of fairly specific parameters as well that you should follow to ensure that your dog can stay in the store with you.
However, due to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, service dogs can be by the side of their disabled owners at Walmart.
Can I Bring My Emotional Support Dog To Walmart?
While you can bring a service pet with you into Walmart under the ADA of 1990, this doesn’t include or account for emotional support dogs. As necessary as emotional support dogs are for many people, Walmart isn’t required to allow them inside their stores. And for the safety and comfort of other customers, they do not.
This is large because emotional support dogs are in a different class than traditional service dogs. Emotional support dogs are there to help their owners through emotional trauma and mental issues.
However, these animals don’t carry out day-to-day tasks for individuals with disabilities. So, they do not classify as service dogs and aren’t allowed in Walmart.
As mentioned earlier, Walmart allows service dogs in-store to comply with the ADA. However, to qualify as a service dog, the animal has to perform day-to-day tasks to aid its owner with their disability. So, if the dog helps a visually impaired person navigate, then they qualify as a service dog.
With that said, there are some exceptions that allow Walmart to prevent you from bringing in your service dog to Walmart. For example, if your dog exhibits aggressive behavior and is deemed a threat to the comfort and safety of other customers, they may not be allowed to enter the store.
Additionally, to bring in a service dog to a Walmart store, you also need to make sure that they are well-trained and completely under your control. If the dog is aggressive or unruly, the manager has the right to ask you to leave with your dog or leave the dog outside while shopping.
On top of that, the dog isn’t allowed to be in a trolley or stroller. So, even if service dogs are considered “babies” of some people, they will have to walk to be allowed into Walmart.
Lastly, due to FDA regulations, you cannot bring your dog with you to any of the food sections of Walmart. To prevent any potential contamination, Walmart doesn’t allow dogs, whether they are service animals or not, near any of the food in their stores.
Does Walmart Ask If Your Dog Is A Service Dog?
Usually, if you tell the associate at the door that your dog is a service dog, they will let you through as long as you abide by the rules. However, keep in mind that the manager has the right to ask whether or not the animal is a service dog.
This is well within the terms of the ADA, so make sure to answer honestly and politely. On top of asking if the animal is a service dog, the manager can also ask what tasks the dog performs, why you need the dog to help you. However, these are the only two lines of inquiry they can ask. If they ask for any other details, you can refuse to answer.
The managers cannot ask you for any proof of your disability. However, since most service dogs wear brightly colored jackets and tags that indicate they are service dogs, people are rarely asked these questions about their service dogs at Walmart.
These “uniforms” allow staff members to easily distinguish service dogs from other pets, which lessen the frequency of them asking further questions that may make some customers uncomfortable.
If you’re on a walk with your dog and need to take a quick stop at Walmart, you can leave them outside the store tied up. While this is allowed, many pet owners do not recommend this at all as leaving your dog alone outside the store is very dangerous and can stress out your pet.
So, if ever you have to do this, make sure to make your trip inside as quick as possible. Additionally, only do this if the weather conditions are pleasant and not too hot or cold so your dog isn’t uncomfortable.
Due to FDA health codes, no grocery will allow pets inside as it is a place where they prepare food. To prevent any possible contamination and other issues, the FDA bars pets inside establishments where they prepare food. However, if you have a service animal to help you with your disability (excluding emotional support dogs), you may bring them with you to Walmart. With that said, even if your dog is a service dog, they are still not allowed near the food preparation areas to prevent contamination.