Are Dogs Allowed In Walmart – Policies, Requirements, & Rules Explained

Everywhere you go has different rules when it comes to pets. However, I feel like every time I’m at Walmart; I at least see one or two folks with a small service dog. However, this got me wondering about the limitations when it comes to dogs being allowed in Walmart. So, I decided to dig in a bit and see what I could find!

Walmart’s policy allows dogs as long as they are service animals, as defined by the ADA. Unfortunately, this means non-service pets, emotional support animals, and therapy dogs are generally prohibited in the store.

Although the rule is pretty set, in some cases, store managers may choose to make an exception based on factors like local laws, store size, and customer traffic. It’s always good to check with your local Walmart before planning a shopping trip with your canine companion.

Breaking Down Walmart’s Pet Policy

Sometimes there can be some confusion about what qualifies your dog to be eligible to shop around with in Walmart. So, here’s a breakdown of the differnet types so you can see where your dog rests in the equation.

Service Animals Vs Non-Service

Walmart adheres to the guidelines set by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) concerning service animals. As such, they warmly welcome service animals into their stores as they play a crucial role in the lives of customers with disabilities.

Dogs that fit the ADA have the following qualities:

  1. The dog must be individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability.
  2. The dog must be housebroken.
  3. The dog must be under the control of its handler.
  4. There are no breed restrictions for service animals.

Walmart does not generally allow non-service animals in their stores. This is primarily due to food safety concerns and to maintain a comfortable environment for all customers.

If you’ve got a dog thats not trained and you just want to hang out with it in the store, then thats a big no-no in stores like Walmart. It has to perform an essential duty; aiding you on your shopping trip. Nothing more, and nothing less!

Emotional Support Dogs And Therapy Dogs

Unfortunately, Walmart does not permit their presence in stores when it comes to emotional support dogs. This is because the ADA does not recognize emotional support dogs as service animals.

Likewise, Walmart does not allow therapy dogs into their stores either.

Dog Rules in the Store

So, if your dog does qualify as a service animal or you’ve got special permission to bring them in, then you’re in great shape. However, with all dogs, there are certain rules you must follow, which I’ll get into next.

Control and Leash Requirements

A leash is an absolute must, and I wouldn’t say that just for Walmart. Leashes allow you to control your pup and ensure it doesn’t end up getting into any funny business or spats with other pets that are around.

I rarely see a dog inside a retail store like Walmart without a leash. Even if it’s not being walked, there’s always a hand on the leash if it’s being carried too.

And please, be mindful of nearby shoppers and keep your dog close to you to avoid accidents or unexpected encounters with people who may be allergic or afraid of dogs.

Safety and Cleanliness

One of the main reasons some stores, including Walmart, enforce a strict dog policy is due to health and safety concerns. It’s essential to be aware of cleanliness precautions while shopping with your dog, especially in areas where food is present.

If your dog happens to have an accident or makes a mess, promptly clean up after them to ensure the store stays hygienic and safe for all customers.

A Few More Rules To Consider

No one likes problems with their pets while shopping.

Below are a few more rules to consider when it comes to bringing your dog into Walmart:

  • Keep your dog on a leash at Walmart.
  • Ensure your dog is well-behaved and under control.
  • Clean up after your dog if it has an accident.
  • Do not leave your dog unattended or tied up outside the store.
  • Do not bring sick or aggressive dogs to Walmart.

Is There Any Certification Needed for Service Animals at Walmart?

Great news! When you take your service animal to Walmart, no official certification is needed per the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines. This is because service animals are working animals trained to perform specific tasks or work for individuals with disabilities.

You should know something important: while some service dogs might wear vests, it’s not a requirement. That means a dog wearing a vest isn’t necessarily a service animal. Id suggest getting one anyway so you don’t get questioned by store staff. It’ll just make your life that much easier.

In case you’re asked about your service animal, employees at Walmart are only 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?

Sadly, there are some who may simply lie to store staff and honestly, there’s not much they can do about it without violating your rights.

Are There Any Exceptions to Walmart’s Dog Policy?

Walmart’s official policy maintains that only service animals are permitted within their stores, and dog owners might be asked to provide credentials for their service dogs when entering, but that’s usually not the case.

In a few cases, certain Walmart locations might have outdoor seating areas. If your local store falls into this category, you could ask the store manager for permission to have lunch or spend time outside with your furry friend.

Remember that this decision is up to the store manager’s discretion, and their answer might vary depending on factors such as health and safety rules or store policy.

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