Are Dogs Allowed in Walmart? (Here Is What To Do)

Are Dogs Allowed in Walmart

Does Walmart allow animals in its stores? Do you know if dogs are allowed in Walmart? Well, you are at the perfect place to find the answer to such a question.

It’s natural to want to bring your canine friend with you when you go out, but it’s also a fact that not all stores are animal friendly. Knowing if your dog can come with you into an establishment like Walmart is important when planning outings with your furry companion.

As a rule, dogs are NOT allowed in Walmart stores, due to the strict no pets policy. However, there is one exception: Service Dogs are welcome within the store as working animals.

This article looks at Walmart‘s policy regarding canine companions, and the reasons behind it.

Are Dogs Allowed In Walmart?

According to corporate policy, no pets of any kind are permitted in Walmart. This includes dogs, with one exception.

Walmart does allow Service Dogs, in accordance with the guidelines of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act).

How Does Walmart Define A Service Dog?

A service dog is defined as a dog which has been individually and specifically trained to perform certain tasks or functions for individuals with disabilities.

Examples include:

  • A Seeing-Eye Dog or Guide Dog for someone with Visual Impairment
  • A Warning or Alert Dog for epilepsy or diabetes

Read also >> Are Cats Allowed in Walmart (Pet Policies To Know)

Can I Bring In My Dog If It’s a Service Dog In-Training?

Service dogs in-training are not technically covered by the ADA guidelines, however, there is the potential for some leeway, as a service dog must be trained to handle potentially crowded situations.

If you wish to bring in a Service Dog or a Service Dog In-Training, it is advised – though not mandatory – that the dog wear a vest indicating its status, so that employees and other shoppers know it is a working dog.

Can I Bring in an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) Dog?

The permissibility of ESA dogs is one that is highly debated. However, at this time, ESA dogs are not permitted inside Walmart Stores.

ESA dogs do serve an important function for some people. However, they are not required to have the strict training that Service Dogs go through.

In recent years, ESA dogs have been declared to be less like service dogs and more like companions, meaning they are not allowed the same privileges and exemptions of trained Service Dogs.

Is Walmart Allowed To Ask For Proof That My Dog is a Service Dog?

Under store policy, the greeter at the door is required to ask if your dog is a Service Dog, and may ask for some form of confirming ID.

Greeters are not permitted, under privacy laws, to ask for the specifics of the condition your dog is trained to assist you with.

If you cannot or do not wish to produce identification to prove your dog is a Service Dog, then permitting entry is up to the discretion of the store management.

Read also >> Who Makes Costco Brand Dog Food? (Finally Explained!)

Why Does Walmart Not Allow Dogs?

Individual store policies aside, FDA regulations prohibit animals from being inside establishments where food is prepared, served, or sold.

The main reason for this prohibition is safety, as animals may result in unsanitary conditions or contaminated food.

In addition, there is a risk that animals within the building may pose a risk to other customers, in the following ways:

  • A person with an extreme animal allergy who accidentally comes into close contact with said animal or shed hair
  • An overexcited or overstimulated animal may nip at or bite someone
  • Barking or running in the store may startle or trip someone
  • Animal may relieve itself inside store, leaving a hazardous mess in a public area

Service animals are trained not to do these things, which is part of the reason they are allowed as exceptions, in addition to the role they play in assisting their owners.

Can I Bring My Dog In If They’re Confined to a Carrier or a Bag?

Keeping your dog confined to a carrier, or in a large bag such as a purse or tote bag does not make the animal exempt from the rules laid down by Walmart and the FDA.

Even if your dog poses less danger of tripping someone or causing a public mess, there is still the risk of contamination due to shedding.

Likewise, carrying your dog throughout the store falls under the same principle, and is not permitted.

Why Do I See People Carrying Dogs in Walmart if They Aren’t Allowed?

Customer Hosts, or Door Greeters, are required to ask if animals being brought into the store are Service Animals. However, if they are busy or otherwise engaged, it is possible for people to sneak animals inside.

It is also possible for some Service Animals to be smaller animals which are kept close, as in the case of some dogs trained to detect diabetes.

What Happens if I Sneak My Dog Inside?

If you sneak your animal inside, be advised that any disruption or issues involving you or your animal will result in a polite request for you to take your animal back outside.

Refusal to do so may result in being asked to leave the premises, particularly if your dog makes a mess or injures another individual.

What Should I Do If I Have My Dog With Me and Need to Stop?

Leaving the dog at home is advised. If this is not possible for some reason, the best course of action is the following:

  • Make sure the vehicle is adequately set up for weather (windows open in heat, closed up in cold)
  • Make sure your dog has water and a place to do business if needed
  • Take the minimum amount of time necessary to complete your errand

Is Walmart Policy Going to Change Anytime Soon?

It’s unlikely that Walmart will open its doors to pets any time soon, given that the policy is based on the Federal FDA guidelines, which would have to be changed first.



Lindsey graduated with an MBA in 2009. Since then, Lindsey has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Lindsey is also the head writer and Co-founder of Lindsey is based in Morgantown, West Virginia.

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