Most dog owners are not allowed to bring their dogs into stores, especially the stores that sell food.
As a sanitation issue, stores that deal with edibles and foods for consumption do not allow animals in the store, unless under exceptional circumstances.
Grocery stores are basically not dog friendly because of the guidelines of Federal and local regulations such as the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) involving food safety.
This means that no, you cannot take your dog into Natural Grocers, unless it is a service dog.
Keep reading to learn more about the pet friendly policy at Natural Grocers grocery stores.
Is Natural Grocers Dog Friendly?
Natural Grocers welcomes service animals to the store, but as the store is a grocery store, some state rules regarding what is allowed into the store’s space apply.
There have been complaints regarding the customers who bring on their dogs to the grocery store hidden in reusable grocery bags and others straight up walk in with dogs on leashes.
Despite the store welcoming service dogs to the store, people take advantage and bring in what they claim to be a service dog then play ball with the dogs till they get all frisky and jump on shoppers.
This does not appeal to especially people with disabilities, who need these service dogs in Natural Grocers stores.
When these people genuinely need to come in with a service dog, the store owner becomes leery of welcoming them in and of being helpful.
Official Policy Animal Policy At Natural Grocers
Unlike support dogs who are considered pets, service dogs are let in places that have no-pet policies.
This is because the store or business is limited by ADA laws and prohibited from separating the dog handlers from their dogs.
A lot of people are taking advantage of “support animals” being allowed into stores such as Natural Grocers to carry their dogs along when they don’t really need to.
Natural Grocers has a no pet policy, but the store allows service dogs to ensure compliance with the ADA law.
Here’s a look at the official corporate policy –
Natural Grocers permits service animals in the areas of its premises that are open to the public.
A service animal is a dog or miniature horse that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks to assist an individual with a disability.
Dogs, miniature horses, or other animals that provide only emotional support, comfort, or companionship are not considered service animals.
A service animal must be under the control of its handler.
A service animal must have a harness, leash, or other tether, unless the handler is either unable to use the same because of a disability, or the use of the same would interfere with the service animal’s safe, effective performance of work or tasks.
In such case, the service animal must otherwise be under the handler’s control, such as through voice commands, signals, or other effective means.
We ask that non-service animals be removed from the premises. We also ask that service animals that are out of control, pose a threat to health or safety, or are not housebroken be removed from the premises.
The individual may continue to shop at the store without the animal.
Natural Grocers will gladly provide personal shopping assistance to such an individual upon request.
All service animals are prohibited from being carried in a Natural Grocers shopping cart (even on a mat) or in Natural Grocers wheelchair basket attachments.
At Natural Grocers, if a service dog disrupts the other shoppers’ peace by barking and growling, the store manager is allowed to ask questions to ensure eligibility of the service dog.
The staff of Natural Grocers are not permitted to ask for the dog’s certification or to question the dog owner regarding his disability that prompts the need for a service dog.
If the legitimacy of the service dog is verified by successfully answering questions regarding the dog’s certification, then no further questioning is done.
There is no mechanism provided by the law to help determine the legitimacy of a service dog, and as interfering with the rights of a disabled person is considered a misdemeanor punishable by fine, Natural Grocers is less likely to question people with dogs in the premises.
When it comes to the state laws’ official dog policy in stores, emotional support dogs are not covered under the Americans With Disabilities Act, so they might not be allowed in all locations of Natural Grocers.
However, the Act covers service dogs that aid with psychiatric disorders.
Does It Vary By Location?
No, the policy does not vary by Natural Grocers location.
All Natural Grocers locations are open to service dogs in the stores, although some disparities exist regarding a service dog’s definition and understanding.
Most people are not okay with the idea of having a dog around as you shop for foodstuff.
Animals in grocery stores are considered to be one of the biggest retail peeves, mostly when the so-called “service dogs” don’t behave as service dogs do.
There are other trained service dogs that guide people with disabilities, such as the blind.
These dogs are allowed in Natural Grocers stores in all locations because they are considered a legal and humane necessity.
Some people claim to need their dogs to help with things like anxiety.
These dogs are referred to as emotional support animals, and they are not allowed inside Natural Grocers stores.
Why Service Dogs Are Allowed In Natural Grocers
Many stores consider it a sanitation issue to have pets, especially dogs in food stores.
Natural Grocers, being a food store, has a strict policy that allows only service dogs into the premises.
Service dogs are specially trained to relieve themselves even in public without disrupting or being a nuisance to other people.
These animals are also trained to help their handlers manage their disability and psychiatric issues.
Service dogs are meant to help people who need them, so if allowed to go in Natural Grocers with a dog, ensure that your dog will not bark and jump on others.