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Does Whole Foods Allow Dogs Inside? Is It Dog-Friendly? (2021 Store Pet Policy)

If you do a lot of shopping at Whole Foods, then you might be wondering if you can take your dog into the store with you while you shop.

Are dogs allowed in Whole Foods grocery stores? No, dogs aren’t allowed in Whole Foods stores, unless it’s a service dog.

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.

Below is some insight on the Whole Foods stores’ position regarding dogs inside their grocery stores.

Is Whole Foods Dog Friendly?

Whole Foods grocery stores welcome service animals to the store, but since 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 Safeway stores.

Official Policy Animal Policy At Whole Foods Grocery Stores

Dogs are not allowed in Whole Foods stores. The general rule is that shoppers are not permitted to take dogs inside Whole Foods stores.

However, visitors with disabilities can be accompanied with service dogs. This allowance is defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.

Here’s the wording of the official pet policy at Whole Foods, as listed on their website:

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Whole Foods Market welcomes all Service Animals. Our “No Pets” policy does not apply to Service Animals.

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 Whole Foods to carry their dogs along when they don’t really need to.

The staff of Whole Foods 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, Whole Foods 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 Safeway.

However, the Act covers service dogs that aid with psychiatric disorders.

Does The Policy Vary By Location?

Whole Foods has hundreds of grocery store locations through out the United States. But the official policy for all stores is that only service dogs are allowed inside Whole Foods stores.

However, there may be some locations where the store managers are more lenient and allow in dogs that are not service dogs.

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 Whole Foods 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 Whole Foods stores.

Are dogs allowed in Whole Foods NYC?

If, like me, you’ve visited a Whole Foods location in NYC and seen people with dogs in the store, you might be wondering if they have a different policy.

They don’t.

Dogs are not allowed in Whole Foods NYC locations, unless it is a service dog.

whole foods nyc dog policy

Are dogs allowed in Whole Foods UK?

If, like me, you’ve visited a Whole Foods location in the United Kingdom and seen people with dogs in the store, you might be wondering if they have a different policy.

They don’t.

Dogs are not allowed in Whole Foods UK locations, unless it is a service dog.

The Final Word

The best advice we can give consumers is to avoid bringing non-service animals to Whole Foods locations as they are considered a public health issue with it being a grocery store with food.

Such individuals should bring verification or certification if they do have a service animal, and they would like to bring the service animal into a Whole Foods location.

Of course, some store managers are more accommodating to pet owners, so your doggo may be allowed at your local Whole Foods — but don’t count on it!

We hope you’ve gained a full understanding of Whole Foods’ rules and practices regarding dogs.

If you have any additional questions, please reach out to the company, or your local Whole Foods grocery store, for more specific and detailed information.

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