Does Walmart Allow Dogs? (Are They Pet-Friendly?)

We all like to think we have the best-behaved dog in the neighborhood. We probably believe there is no reason why our dog should be left at home while we go grocery shopping. More and more of us find it fun to bring them along as our trustworthy and entertaining companions.

So much that it isn’t uncommon to see people walking their dogs almost anywhere.

However, some establishments and businesses have dog policies that customers should adhere to. Walmart is a store that many of us frequent regularly. Does Walmart allow dogs, you ask? Read along to find out.

Does Walmart Allow Dogs in 2023?

Walmart won’t let them in unless the animal is a service dog. According to its policy, only service dogs who aid individuals with disabilities are allowed in the business. The dog owners may be asked to confirm their dog’s qualifications when entering the establishment.

The statement Walmart has on their website regarding animals in the stores clearly states that:

“Walmart welcomes service animals as defined by the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) in our stores, and we recognize the important role they play in many of our customers’ lives. We do not allow pets in our stores.”

In addition, their stores usually have a sign outside stating the following:

“Non-service animals are not permitted in grocery stores under applicable food safety regulations. Service animals are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for persons with disabilities. Comfort or emotional support animals are not service animals. We apologize for any inconvenience.”

Why Aren’t Normal Dogs Allowed In Walmart?

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While service animals are permitted to enter Walmart stores (for obvious reasons), there are some compelling reasons why all other dogs are not. One of the key reasons is the risks of contamination and health.

There are health regulations in effect for establishments that sell and serve food. These codes made it illegal for any animals to enter the establishment. Animals are unhygienic and, as a result, a health concern inside stores where food is served or sold, according to the FDA’s food service standards.

While health is the most important consideration, there are other reasons why Walmart prohibits dogs. These are some of them:

  • Chances of some pets having fleas or ticks
  • Possibilities of other customers who are afraid of dogs
  • Some people may be allergic to dog hair
  • Chances that dogs could contaminate Walmart food
  • In a confined space, not all dog owners can adequately and safely handle their pets
  • Even when leashed, a dog can constitute a hazard in the crowded aisles of Walmart
  • Even the best-trained dogs have the potential to make a mess on the store’s floor

The dog policy at Walmart errs on the side of caution. To guarantee the safety of its employees and customers, the company has implemented this policy to prevent any accidents or health difficulties.

What Is A Service Dog?

The next question you might have is – what exactly is a service dog and whether or not your dog qualifies as such. A service animal, a dog, in particular, is defined by the ADA as:

“A dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person’s disability.”

A service dog could be trained to assist someone with a sickness such as diabetes. When the owner’s blood sugar becomes too high or too low, the dog may be instructed to alarm them.

Another person with epilepsy may have a service dog trained to identify if they are about to have a seizure. If an attack occurs, the dog will assist their owner in remaining safe.

When a dog enters the store, Walmart staff may inquire if it is a service animal. Although the ADA does not require service dogs to wear a colorful vest or harness, many do.

Why Are Service Dogs Allowed In Walmart?

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Service dogs have been expertly taught to deal with social situations and support their owners with impairments. They should be recognizable at all times. Service dogs usually wear neon or brightly colored clothing, and the owner should be able to establish the dog is a service animal with certification.

A service dog is still a dog. They are susceptible to the same germs as other dogs. Even though they share some habits, there are significant variations between these trained dogs and other dogs.

Service dogs, for example, have been adequately trained not to defecate or urinate indoors. Although we recognize that most dogs are trained in this manner, many store regulations do not consider this.

One significant distinction is that service dogs are taught to remain calm under duress and not attack people.

Because of this training, service dogs are less likely to attack or cause inconvenience when entering retailers like Walmart. Then, there’s the reality that they exist solely to assist a disabled person in shopping.

While many of us believe we rely on our pets for happiness and comfort, service dogs are used for daily responsibilities.

Are Emotional Support Dogs Allowed In Walmart?

Whether or not emotional support dogs are permitted is one of the more perplexing aspects of Walmart’s dog policy. Some Walmart supervisors are more lenient than others, allowing consumers to walk their dogs along different aisles.

Technically, emotional support dogs are not permitted in Walmart, according to the company’s national pet policy. Therefore, these aren’t supposed to be confused with assistance dogs.

According to a Walmart spokesman,

“We welcome service animals in our stores and serve customers that rely on them as part of their daily lives.”

This arose when a sign outside a Walmart shop in 2019 stated that only assistance dogs and no other animals were permitted inside.

However, other people believe that emotional support dogs should be permitted in. According to one Facebook user,

“PTSD dogs are emotional support and are service dogs as well! The ADA does not require service animals to wear a vest, ID tag, or specific harness. Also, service animals are not required to be certified, nor are they required to have proof of training or a license. The Americans with Disabilities Act was written this way to protect the privacy of people with disabilities.”

As a result, many people agree that emotional support animals should be allowed within Walmart. Many people rely on these creatures to get through each day, and being separated from them in social circumstances can cause anxiety attacks.

Some people, on the other hand, are fine with Walmart’s dog policy, saying,

“I think the Walmart dog policy is great. All service animals should have a vest, all others that do not have one should be asked to leave. Real service animals wear vests, indicating their main focus is to the owner, and bothering the animal makes it lose focus on the owner resulting in harm to the owner.”

Whether you like or oppose Walmart’s dog policy, the reality is that all dogs are not permitted in its stores, with the exception of service dogs.

Can Walmart Ask If Your Dog Is A Service Dog?

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Walmart employees and managers are within their rights under the ADA to inquire whether a customer’s dog brought into the store is a service dog.

They can also inquire about the dog’s specific functions and tasks, albeit these are the only two permitted lines of inquiry. Employees and managers will not be allowed to request documents as proof of impairment.

On the other hand, many service dogs wear brightly colored dog tags, jackets, or leashes, making it easy for employees and supervisors to tell if a dog is a support animal or not.

These types of identification are also required by law in some states, such as California.

Are There Rules In Bringing Services Dogs Into Walmart?

You can bring your assistance dog into Walmart, but they must be appropriately behaved. This simply means there are rules to adhere to in getting your service dogs into a Walmart store.

For starters, the dog must always be under the owner’s control; the dog cannot be left alone or permitted to bark excessively. Your boy Max cannot be carried around the store in a cart or a stroller, so don’t treat him like a baby.

According to the FDA, service dogs are also not allowed in parts of the store where food is prepared. And, if a Walmart store or manager wishes, they can designate additional areas of the shop as dog-free zones.

Do Other Stores Have The Same Dog Policy?

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Just because Walmart prohibits dogs from visiting its stores doesn’t imply other well-known national retailers follow suit. Here are some of the most famous and high-profile stores in the United States’ animal policies;

Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe’s does not allow dogs since management observes the “No Pet Policy” for everyone’s safety. Only service dogs can come inside the store, as these animals serve people with disabilities and are mandated by the ADA.


This store’s policy is similar to Walmart’s in that only assistance dogs are allowed inside.

Lowes & Home Depot

Lowes and Home Depot are exempt from strict food regulations since they do not prepare or sell food. As a result, they do not prohibit dogs from accessing their establishments.


This one is pretty obvious. Yes, you are permitted to bring your four-legged companion into PetSmart. A trip to PetSmart could be the best day of the week for your dog in terms of socialization.

Barnes & Noble

The policy appears to differ from one retailer to the next. To be sure, call the business ahead of time to make sure it’s okay to bring your dog along.


To put it simply, unless your dog is a service animal, you will not be allowed to enter your local Walmart store. If you are going grocery shopping, it is best to leave your dog at home.

In any case, most dogs would prefer a run in the park to a stroll to a walk around the supermarket. PetSmart is one store that does allow dogs and that your dog would certainly enjoy visiting – while you’re there, you might want to pick out a new toy or treat.

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