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Does Walmart Allow Dogs Inside? Is It Dog-Friendly? (2020 Store Pet Policy)

Shopping in the company of a four-legged friend is undoubtedly more fun. Hence, pet parents around the country have a keen interest in the dog policy of retailers in their area.

Like other stores, Walmart has a policy that guides access rights of animals in their outlets. The policy focuses on the health and safety protocols applicable to all retail establishments.

Since pet policies vary from one store to the next, it is vital to familiarize yourself with the rules applicable to specific centers and stores.

We did the research to let you know if dogs are allowed inside Walmart stores.

So, are dogs allowed? Yes, under certain circumstances.

Is Walmart dog friendly?

The retailer is welcoming to service animals that come into its stores to aid persons with disabilities. Store managers may apply the dog policy differently, but signs on the entrance restrict access to service animals.

Thus, Walmart is dog-friendly to service dogs only. Many shoppers entering Walmart outlets with an animal attach a service dog tag to ensure easy access.

Placing a harness on the animal enhances control while shopping. In most cases, service dog owners take advantage of wide aisles to move freely with the animal.

A well-trained dog ensures an incident-free experience. However, it is best to avoid busy hours as they may not be ideal for all animals.

Official Walmart dog policy

The official policy does not allow access to stores for non-service dogs.

Shoppers can view the policy on the retailer’s website and store entrances—Walmart singles out food safety considerations as the reason for disallowing non-service animals into its outlets.

According to the company, its definition of service dogs aligns with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) rules.

Dogs falling under this category provide critical assistance to individuals with disabilities, including persons with hearing or visual issues, anxiety, mental disorders, PTSD, and mobility complications.

Service dogs come in varying sizes depending on specific factors. These animals undergo specialized training before receiving relevant certification.

However, dogs that provide comfort and emotional support are not service animals.

Shoppers can report the presence of untrained pets in food stores to local health authorities. Walmart adheres to food safety regulations applicable in various states.

Do service dogs behave differently from pets?

Service animals undergo specialized training to ensure they behave well in public spaces. They are more unlikely to relieve themselves in a store thanks to the training.

Likewise, service dogs focus on the owner and avoid attacking people and other dogs. They can remain calm under various conditions, including stressful situations.

These qualities reduce the risk of undesirable behavior. Service animals often wear a bright vest, and the owners can verify the dog’s service status by providing relevant documentation.

Does the policy vary by location?

The per manager policy may be applicable in some stores at the discretion of the concerned manager. However, other shoppers may complain or report the presence of non-service dogs in an outlet.

Store managers may allow individuals with animals that provide emotional support, which do not fall under the service category defined by ADA rules.

To avoid disappointment, adhere to the company policy or call your local Walmart store manager to confirm. The official Walmart dog policy does not make exceptions for non-service animals regardless of the dog’s age, emotional support role, or whether the pet is in a stroller.

This rule means that you cannot shop accompanied by your puppy.

Although some retailers are welcoming to shoppers who place their four-legged friends in strollers, Walmart’s policy still does not accommodate pets.

Many people view strollers as a viable solution to reduce the risk of food contamination. However, experts believe that contamination may still occur, and some individuals with allergies could experience adverse reactions.

Are pets allowed in Walmart Canada?

No, you cannot bring your dog into Walmart Canada locations.

Like locations in the USA, only service dogs are allowed inside Walmart stores in Canada.

Walmart clarifies its dog policy

In an interview, Walmart officials told Business Insider that they decided to place signs on store entrances to remind shoppers about rules regarding access to outlets.

The retailer posted signs written ‘Service animals welcome. No pets’.

This move comes at a time when many companies grapple with an increased demand to bring comfort and emotional support dogs.

For this reason, Walmart clarified the difference between emotional support and service animals. Many shoppers expand the definition of a service animal to include support dogs.

They claim that comfort and emotional canines play a vital health role.

However, businesses like Walmart have to consider health regulations and the needs of other shoppers. Many people experience allergic reactions when exposed to animals in public spaces, including stores.

Some dogs compromise the safety and peace of shoppers by becoming unruly. The situation can get worse as some animals relieve themselves in a store.

Walmart confirmed that its associates verify that a dog is a service animal by asking the owner.

In some cases, associates can identify service dogs with distinctive harnesses and vests or tags. However, the store manager may eject service dogs for unruly conduct and other undesirable actions.

Walmart Dog Policy FAQs

We spoke to some shoppers at a local Walmart and compiled the most commonly asked questions about Walmart’s dog policy. And, we got the answers for you!

Can I take my puppy inside Walmart?

No, you cannot take your puppy in a Walmart store. The only exception is if the puppy is a service dog.

Are small dogs allowed in Walmart?

No, you cannot take your small dog in a Walmart store. The only exception is if the small dog is a service dog.

Can I put my puppy or dog in a stroller and take it into a Walmart store?

No, you cannot take your dog in a stroller into a Walmart store. Only service dogs are allowed in the store, and a service dog should not be in a stroller.

Can I carry my dog in Walmart?

No, you cannot carry your dog in a Walmart store. Walmart policy only allows service dogs in the store, and they are not to be carried.

Can I take my emotional support animal (ESA) into a Walmart store?

No, you cannot take your emotional support animal in a Walmart store. Walmart policy only allows service dogs in the store.

top image credit, CC 2.0

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