Are DogsAllowed in Target? Here’s the Answer

Are DogsAllowed in Target Here's the Answer
Lancaster, PA, USA – May 2, 2018: Target, an American retailer of consumer clothing, electronics, health, beauty, food, groceries and other general merchandise, new store in Lancaster.

Target is one of the most popular stores in the United States, but are dogs allowed in Target? This is a question that many pet owners have. In this blog post, we will answer that question and also provide some information on the Target pet policy. Stay tuned!

Are Dogs Allowed In Target?

Target stores do not allow pets inside. So, if you want to take your pup with you on a shopping trip to Target, unfortunately, this isn’t possible. 

However, if you have a service animal as a pet, Target will allow them to enter the store with you. This is because the Americans with Disabilities Act states that service animals are allowed in all places of public accommodation, and Target is no exception. 

So, if you are a person with a disability and are accompanied by an animal that has been trained to assist with your disability, Target will allow you and your service animal to enter their stores. 

Why Are Dogs Not Allowed in Target?

To put it simply, Target is limited by law. While Target may be pet-friendly in many other aspects, the FDA restricts them from allowing animals inside their stores. 

Since grocery stores, such as Target, are considered food establishments, the FDA doesn’t want any potential risk of contamination from animals. Therefore, Target cannot allow pets inside the store to help ensure the safety of the food they are selling. 

Additionally, allowing pets in Target could potentially cause difficulties for shoppers and employees. Some customers may be allergic to animals, and some may feel uncomfortable around them. Therefore, Target has decided to keep animals out of its stores for the safety and convenience of all its customers. 

Furthermore, Target and other stores are not designed to accommodate pets. Keeping the store clean and safe for customers is one of the main goals of any retail establishment, and that is just not possible if pets are allowed to roam freely throughout the store.

Are Service Dogs Allowed in Target?

Yes, service animals are allowed in Target. As we mentioned earlier, the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) states that people with disabilities can bring their service animals with them in all places of public accommodation, including Target. 

Still, the service animal must be well-behaved and cannot cause any harm or disruption to other customers. If the service animal is causing a disturbance, Target has the right to ask the owner and the animal to leave the store. 

In addition, Target requires that any service animal must be under the control of its handler at all times. This means that the animal must be leashed or harnessed unless it is a miniature breed or the handler cannot do so because of their disability.

What Is Considered a Service Dog?

A service animal is a dog that has been trained to perform specific tasks to assist a person with a specific disability. This definition comes from the ADA, and any animal that does not meet these criteria cannot be considered a service animal. 

Service animals undergo special training under the ADA and then get certified as service animals. In addition, they are also trained to behave properly in public places. Overall, service animals are not considered pets but working animals trained to help people with disabilities. 

Common tasks that service animals perform are guiding, retrieving items, providing physical support, and alerting them to medical issues like seizures. Common examples of service animals include guide dogs, hearing dogs, medical alert dogs, seizure alert and response dogs, severe allergy alert dogs, etc.

So, if you are a person with a disability who needs a service animal’s assistance, you are allowed to bring them to Target. 

Are Emotional Support Animals Allowed in Target?

Unfortunately, no. Emotional support animals are not considered service animals and are, therefore, not allowed in Target. 

The reason lies in the distinction between what is considered a service animal and an emotional support animal.  

In the eyes of the ADA, service animals are those that are trained to perform a specific task for their handler and are used to assist people with disabilities. On the other hand, emotional support animals are not trained to perform any specific task and are only there to provide comfort and emotional support. 

For this reason, Target does not allow emotional support animals inside its stores and only allows service animals as defined by the ADA. 

Does Target Check If Your Dog Is a Service Dog?

No, Target does not check if your dog is a service animal. According to the ADA, it is illegal for businesses to ask for proof of certification for service animals or any proof of your disability. Asking your dog to perform a specific task that they’re taught is off-limits, too.

However, if a Target employee suspects that your dog is not a service animal, they are still allowed to ask you two specific questions: 

1) Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability? 

2) What work or task has the dog been trained to perform? 

If you cannot answer these two questions, Target has the right to refuse admission of your service animal. 

Why Are Service Dogs Allowed In Target?

That may sound insensitive, but service dogs are actually considered medical equipment by the law. Service dogs, much like medications such as insulin, are essential to assisting people with disabilities. Without these service animals, these people cannot perform everyday tasks and activities. 

That is why service animals are allowed in Target—to help people with disabilities enjoy the same shopping experience as everyone else. 

Do Service Dogs Must Wear Identification Items? 

The ADA does not require service animals to wear any special vest or have any sort of identification. So, if you are bringing your service animal to Target, you do not have to worry about having any type of identification for them. 

Can You Carry Your Pet Dog Into Target?

No, you cannot bring your pet dog into Target in any possible way, be it in a dog carrier, your hands, or otherwise. Target is considered a pet-free zone, so no pets are allowed inside the store premises—even if you carry them. That measure is taken, again, with safety reasons in mind.

What If You Can’t Leave Your Dog Anywhere?

If you are unable to leave your dog at home or anywhere else, then it is best to find a pet-friendly store near you that allows pets. There are a number of pet-friendly stores that are more than happy to welcome you and your furry friend.

Leaving your pet outside the store or in your car is not a good idea. Doing so puts your pet at risk of being stolen or injured. Additionally, some states have strict laws against leaving pets in cars. So, it is best to avoid this altogether. 

Can You Bring Dogs Into Other Grocery Stores?

According to FDA’s guidelines, dogs are not allowed in grocery stores. Grocery stores are considered food establishments, and dogs are seen as potential carriers of diseases that may contaminate foods. However, you can bring your dog to some Home Depot stores! So it’s always better to call ahead and ask.

The Bottom Line

So, the answer to the question “are dogs allowed in Target?” is no. Service dogs are allowed there but only under certain conditions, while pet dogs are not allowed in the store. If you cannot leave your dog at home, it is best to find a pet-friendly store near you. This way, you can avoid potential troubles and enjoy a shopping experience with your dog. 

So, that’s all you need to know about Target’s pet policy. Thank you for reading!

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