Are Dogs Allowed in Walmart? (Pets, Service Dogs, and More)

Are Dogs Allowed in Walmart

When it comes to grocery shopping, Walmart is often the go-to store for many people. Not only are they affordable, but they also carry a wide variety of items. However, one question that often arises is whether or not dogs are allowed in Walmart stores. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at Walmart’s pet policy and discuss some of the specific guidelines that customers need to follow.

Are Dogs Allowed in Walmart?

According to Walmart’s store policy, pets are not allowed in Walmart stores. This refers to all pets, including dogs, cats, and other animals. However, service animals are still allowed in stores and are exempt from this policy. Wondering why?

The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) states that service animals can accompany their disabled owners into public places, such as Walmart or other stores. Therefore, service animals are allowed in Walmart stores, as their owners follow specific guidelines.

On the other hand, emotional support animals (ESAs) are not considered service animals and, therefore, are not allowed in Walmart stores. So, beware of this fact if you are considering bringing your ESA along with you on your next shopping trip.

Why Are Regular Dogs Not Allowed in Walmart?

Walmart’s policy of not allowing pets in stores was implemented for several reasons.

Food and Safety Regulations 

FDA states that pet animals cannot enter grocery stores, restaurants, or any other place where food is prepared. This is because allowing pets into stores can increase the risk of food contamination. 

Additionally, allergens from pets can affect customers with allergies, making it difficult for them to shop in an environment where animals are present. Fleas and other pests are also a major concern when it comes to allowing pets into stores.

All these things considered, pets can pose a potential health risk to shoppers, employees, and other customers. As a result, and to ensure customers’ safety, Walmart has chosen to strictly enforce its no-pets policy.

Hygiene Issues

Dogs are naturally curious creatures and are prone to exploring their surroundings. As a result, they are likely to sniff around food items, which can spread bacteria and other germs. While this could be fun for the dog, it can become a hygiene issue for shoppers. 

Additionally, dogs can track in dirt and mud from outside, making store floors messy and potentially hazardous. And if the store doesn’t have additional staff, it will be unable to clean properly after an influx of pets. All these factors are potential risks that could lead to serious health problems. 

Safety Reasons

Pets are unpredictable, and it is not always possible to know how they will react in certain situations. In addition, they are not typically trained to behave properly in a retail setting and can cause disruptions or pose a risk of injury to other customers.

Property Damage

Property damage is another concern when it comes to allowing pets in stores. Dogs can chew on items, knock things over, or paw at displays. This behavior is unacceptable in a store setting and can be costly to repair.

Why Are Service Dogs Allowed in Walmart?

Service dogs are vital to their owners, who are often disabled and depend on the dogs for assistance. They are specially trained to help their handlers with daily tasks, such as carrying items, opening doors, and picking up dropped objects. Without them, people with certain disabilities will not be able to have the same shopping experience. Walmart recognizes this need, and that’s why service dogs are allowed in stores. 

Additionally, unlike regular pets, service dogs are trained to behave properly in a retail setting and are not likely to be a disruption. Therefore, it is much safer for Walmart to allow service dogs in its stores than regular pets.

What Dogs Are Considered Service Dogs?

A service dog, as specified by The Americans with Disabilities Act, is a dog that has been taught specific skills to help an individual with a disability. Additionally, the dog’s assistance must be directly related to the person’s disability. 

Walmart uses this very definition to determine which dogs are allowed in its stores. 

What Types of Service Dogs Allowed In Walmart?

Customers are welcome to bring all types of service dogs into our Walmart stores. Different types of service dogs are used to help people with different kinds of disabilities. Here are some examples.

Regular Service Dogs

Regular service dogs are used to help people with physical disabilities, such as blindness, hearing loss, and mobility issues. They are trained to help their owners with daily tasks and are allowed in Walmart stores. These dogs aren’t just pets, they’re professionally trained to help their owners with whatever they need to live a normal life. 

Medical Alert Dogs

Medical alert dogs are trained to detect an impending medical emergency, such as a seizure or diabetic shock. They are often used by people with diabetes, epilepsy, or other physical disabilities. 

Service dogs have an uncanny ability to sense when something is wrong with their humans. For example, they can detect changes in blood sugar levels or warn of an oncoming stroke. This allows them to alert people who are nearby, so that help can be summoned if needed.

Psychiatric Service Dogs

Psychiatric service dogs are trained to assist people with mental disabilities, such as anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder. These dogs are specially trained to sense when an anxiety attack is about to happen. Therefore, they know and use specific actions to help prevent the attack or lessen its severity. This is what differentiates them from emotional support animals.

Does Walmart Check If Your Dog Is a Service Dog?

According to the ADA, it is perfectly legal for Walmart employees to ask customers with dogs if they are service animals. In cases where it is unclear whether a dog is a service animal, staff may ask only two specific questions: 

  1. Does the dog help you because of a disability? 
  2. What has the dog been trained to perform?

Employees cannot request any type of disability documentation or dog certificates, require that the dog demonstrate its assigned task, or ask about the person’s disability.

Service dogs often wear brightly colored tags, jackets, or leashes so that employees and managers can immediately tell whether the dog is a service animal.

Do Service Dogs Have to Wear Identifying Items?

While many service dogs do wear special vests, ID tags, or harnesses, it is not required by the ADA to be considered a service dog. The only requirement is that the animal must have been assigned tasks or be trained to help a person with disabilities.

What Are the Guidelines on Bringing Service Dogs Into Walmart?

When bringing a service dog into a Walmart store, customers are encouraged to take proper care of their animals. 

For starters, the dog must always be under the owner’s control. The animal should not disrupt other customers or create a mess. That means no wandering around the store, no barking at other customers or employees, and no jumping up on counters. The owner will be asked to take the animal outside if a service dog is disruptive or messy. 

Service dogs are also allowed in almost all areas where customers are normally allowed. The only exception is food preparation areas, as stated by the ADA. This is a safety measure to protect customers, employees, and the service dog. 

However, if Walmart wants to create special dog-free zones, they have the right to do that.

Can You Bring More than One Service Dog to Walmart?

Yes, this is generally the case. Some people with disabilities may use more than one service animal to perform different tasks. So, if both dogs can be accommodated and it does not create a disturbance, then both should be allowed in.

Can You Bring Emotional Support Dogs in Walmart?

Unfortunately, emotional support animals are not allowed in Walmart stores. That is because emotional support dogs are not considered service animals under the ADA.

Emotional support animals comfort people through their presence. However, they don’t receive training for specific jobs or tasks and are not vital to a person’s disability, like service dogs. Therefore, they cannot qualify as service animals and are not allowed in Walmart stores.

Are Dogs Allowed In Any Other Stores?

FDA guidelines strictly state that you cannot bring your dog into any grocery store in the United States unless they are a registered service animal. However, you might be able to bring your pet into other stores, such as department stores, homeware stores like Home Depot, or pet supply stores.

You can take your pet dog into most stores that don’t serve or sell food. Just be on the lookout for any “No Dog” signs, and you’re good to go.

Can I Leave My Dog Outside Walmart?

If your dog is not a service animal, leaving them outside the store is not advised. That’s because it can be very dangerous to leave a pet unattended. In addition, dogs are vulnerable to extreme temperatures, so leaving them outside in the heat or cold can be dangerous. 

Additionally, they are also vulnerable to being stolen and any number of other dangers. Therefore, it is best to leave your pet at home or with a trusted caretaker while you are shopping in Walmart.

Final Thoughts

So, are dogs allowed in Walmart? The answer is yes, but only if they are service animals. To keep customers and employees safe, Walmart does not allow any other animals in its stores. However, it is important to remember that service dogs are always under control. So, if you are bringing a service dog into the store, make sure to take proper care of your furry friend. 

Hopefully, this article has helped answer your questions about Walmart’s pet policy. Thank you for reading! 

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